Sustainability

EU research project aims to reduce waste on vacation

Every European vacationer leaves behind up to 2 kilograms of waste per overnight stay at their vacation destination. 27 European Tourism hotspots from Florence to Vienna join forces in creating waste prevention and management strategies.

Sustainabilty

Plastic Bottle in the Sea:  On Tenerife tourists produce around 1.6 to 2.1 kg of waste per overnight stay during their vacation.

"Tourists cause around 14 percent of the global volume of municipal waste," emphasizes Iris Gruber from the Institute of Waste Management at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, and goes on to explain: "Cities with a high volume of tourism therefore need tailored strategies in order to be able to meet these waste management challenges in the best possible way." With this in mind, the URBANWASTE project ("Urban Strategies for Waste Management in Tourist Cities") was launched in June 2016. The URBANWASTE project consortium consists of 27 partners from 12 European countries, including the Institute of Waste Management at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna.

Reducing waste on vacation.

"Over the past 6 months, we have surveyed the total amount of waste generated in 11 selected tourism destinations and assessed the impact of tourism on waste generation," says Iris Gruber. Statistical analysis was used to determine the amount of waste generated per overnight stay - on Tenerife, for example, tourists produce around 1.6 to 2.1 kg of waste per overnight stay during their vacation. Another result according to Gruber: "In terms of negative environmental impact, particular attention should be paid to food waste. They are the main reason for the negative impact of landfilling in terms of greenhouse gas potential. Since a relevant share of this waste comes from tourism activities, it is important that especially pilot cities with a high share of direct landfilling of residual waste focus on separate collection and post-treatment of food waste." Based on these findings, customized waste prevention and management strategies are currently being developed with the pilot case partners and other local stakeholders. Implementation of the measures is planned within the next year.