On the 7th of July 2022, AIS Environment hosted the first Maltese “Reducing the Consumption and Disposal of Single-use Plastics in the Tourism Industry in Cyprus, Greece, Malta” also known as SUPMed project conference. The conference took place at Salini Resort, St Paul’s Bay, Malta, with participants also being able to join online. This event was the first to be held in person since the COVID pandemic.
Attending and addressing the conference on behalf of the country partners were the founder of AIS Environment (Malta) Ing. Mario Schembri, Ms. Diamanto Giannara, Consultant at Aspon Consulting (Cyprus), and Mrs. Vasiliki Kalogerakou consultant at Anelixis (Greece).
Ing. Schembri opened the conference with an introduction to AIS Environment as one of the SUPMed project partners. He began his speech by highlighting the importance of this project in the transition to a circular economy. He also explained the function of the ‘Decision Support Tool’ (DST) which the partners developed as part of this project. The tool allows hotel operators to enter information on their current single-use plastic consumption and recommends viable sustainable alternatives). The tool also provides projections of the alternatives’ environment effects (such as littering, climate change, and the marine environment), as well as financial costs. Ing. Schembri also outlined AIS’s role in this project. Aside from providing feedback to help develop the DST, AIS selected the Maltese pilot hotels, drafted and implemented action plans, and led various training sessions with the pilot hotels.
Speaking on behalf of AIS Environment were also Ms. Sian Pledger (local project leader) and Mr. Sacha Dunlop (senior manager).
Ms. Sian Pledger discussed the main goals for the SUPMed project, namely reducing the consumption, disposal, and environmental impact of SUP from the tourism industry. To achieve this, the project analyses the existing SUP situation, develops a tool to improve practices and trains personnel in order to reduce the negative effects of SUP on the environment.
Ms. Pledger also provided a status update of the project, as well as highlighting ongoing future project activities and milestones:
Mr. Sacha Dunlop presented further insight into the work being carried out for the SUPMed project. The work includes collecting data, carrying out interviews, establishing current waste management practices, and recommending further improvements. The results were presented in the form of tailor-made strategies for each pilot hotel establishment. The project also involves raising awareness with travel agents and suppliers, as well as organising training workshops for hotel personnel.
Mr. Dunlop concluded his speech by addressing the pilot hotels’ wish to cooperate with other establishments of the private sector and environmental & tourism entities. Such cooperation is crucial as it allows for the hotel operators to exchange good practice ideas, motivate and train their staff, distribute educational material to guests, and others.
The conference ended with a discussion among attendees about the responsibility to implement and monitor the situation and the issue of SUP alternative product supply.
AIS looks forward to hosting the next press event, scheduled for October 2022.
About the project:
The SUPMed project runs until June 2023 with a total budget of €1,279,405.00. The six project partners participating in the project are Aspon Consulting Ltd as the Lead Partner (CY), Heraklion Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GR), Anelixis Development Consultants S.A. (GR), Cellock Ltd (CY), AIS Environment (MT) and the Cyprus Hotel Association (CY).
The 10 tourist establishments of the pilot sample of the project per country are:
Atlantica Mare Village Ayia Napa
Radisson Blue Hotel
The Royal Apollonia
- Greece – Crete:
Elounda Palm Hotel & Suites
Infinity Blue Boutique Hotel & Spa
Paralos Lifestyle Beach
1926 Hotel & Spa
Mellieha Holiday Centre
The project “Reducing the Consumption and Disposal of Single-use Plastics in the Tourism Industry in Cyprus, Greece and Malta” is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation.