Reducing single-use plastic bottles on our tours and festivals.
From July 2019 Martin Randall Travel started implementing its pledge to reduce single-use water bottles on its tours. For a long time staff were appalled at the thought of how much plastic is wasted and clients had also commented. We started by asking all clients travelling on tours in the UK to bring a reusable bottle and told them that we would no longer provide water on coaches. The response was so good that we rolled out the policy to all destinations where tap water is potable in October 2019.
The cost-savings of £3,500 will be donated to Action for Conservation (AFC), a UK charity which inspires young people, predominantly from deprived areas, to become the next generation of nature conservationists. We also partnered with Water-to-Go, offering our clients a 15% discount. They donated 15% of the proceeds to the India Solar Water Heating project, which provides renewably fuelled water heaters to households and businesses in India. In total we estimate that we saved 4,000 single-use plastic bottles.
We were worried that the reaction from our clients would be negative, as our pledge has a direct impact on their experience. However, the vast majority responded approvingly and were happy to accept the inconvenience for the sake of the undeniably positive impact on our planet. We are really pleased that they are so keen to mitigate the impact of their travels.
It was exciting to work out the number of bottles saved and to tell AFC how much we would be able to donate. The Chief Executive of AFC said ‘Thank you so much! That is absolutely wonderful news, we are so very grateful to MRT for this support!’
Reducing single-use plastic means that our clients leave less of a trace on their travels, and has generally raised awareness. Our clients engaged so well with this that we feel we can be more ambitious with future pledges. It has also made us aware that we need to be ahead of curve, implementing sustainable policies before our clients criticise the way we do things.