At Vancouver’s GLOBE Forum (March 11 to 17), Ocean Wise launched the #BePlasticWise pledge and a monthly challenge for individuals and businesses to reduce plastic waste. But Ocean Wise wasn’t alone in embarking on this new initiative. A collection of Vancouver hotels and one restaurant joined as founding signatories, kicking off a week of waste-reducing efforts. During GLOBE week, Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver, Days Inn Vancouver, Executive Hotel Le Soleil Vancouver, Chambar Restaurant and Pinnacle Hotel all committed to eliminating straws and single-use plastic water bottles from hotel rooms, bars and dining rooms. Untold amounts of single-use plastic avoided landfill that week.
Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver was one of the first to sign the pledge and commit to reducing plastic waste. During GLOBE, they saved up to 4,000 straws and 2,000 bottles from becoming single-use plastic waste.
“Our oceans are simply too important to take for granted. Fairmont Waterfront has long been known for its commitment to sustainability and the #BePlasticWise pledge is a natural step on our path to becoming a certified zero-waste hotel. We have always worked on the philosophy that tiny changes today will lead to a dramatically different tomorrow.”
Some have gone even further. Days Inn Vancouver Downtown removed bottled water from its hotel rooms several years ago and they provide reusable containers instead. No straws or bottled water are served in its restaurant either. Chambar Restaurant recently went straw free, saving $2,100 annually on the compostable straws they used before. So far, they’ve prevented 35,000 straws from entering the landfill.
Much appreciation is due to Tourism Vancouver, which spearheaded this effort and brought together members to reduce plastic waste during GLOBE.
“Tourism Vancouver is so proud of the leadership and action taken by these members,” says Nicole Havers, marketing manager for Tourism Vancouver Meetings and Conventions. “The tourism industry is in a unique position to really turn the tide on eliminating single-use plastics, and we encourage all our members to take the pledge.”
Tourism Vancouver had dedicated itself to the sustainability mission by promoting green events and conference experiences in Vancouver. At the Vancouver Convention Centre, where the GLOBE Forum was held, there is a six-acre living roof complete with bee hives, seawater heating and cooling, recycling programs and local seasonal menus.
At Ocean Wise, we’re embarking on our own journey to reduce single-use plastic. At the Vancouver Aquarium, we eliminated single-use water bottles. We are moving towards using only aluminum cans in our vending and retail operations, which are much easier to recycle. We’ve taken steps to reduce plastic disposables throughout our premises, replacing plastic bags, cups, cutlery, take-out containers, and other disposables with ocean-friendly alternatives. And our café only serves food and drinks in reusable or compostable products.
The GLOBE Forum is all about finding common ground and working together on solutions. The plastic waste reduced by the founding signatories of the #BePlasticWise pledge is a great example of that. We understand that reducing single-use plastic is a journey, not something accomplished in one day, but it’s more than worth the effort. We’re looking forward to more good-news stories from individuals and businesses during the yearlong challenge to #BePlasticWise.