Monday, March 4

The other green flag that puts the most ‘eco’ beach sites on the map

The flag awarded by Ecovidrio after assessing the sustainability strategies of places and establishments.

The distinctions granted by Ecovidrio reward the sustainable management of establishments and other places

Beyond those that indicate bathing conditions, until now, blue flags could be found in beach places as a hallmark of quality places or, at the opposite extreme, the well-known black flags of Ecologists in Action, which denounce places polluted or unfriendly to the environment.

For three years, Ecovidrio has also promoted its own green flags. Some new distinctions that reward the effort of the local hotel industry and the activism of the coastal municipalities for sustainability during the summer, especially in relation to the correct management of their waste.

According to the data handled by this organization, a third of the glass containers put into circulation are consumed in summer and more than half of them (52%) are generated directly in the hospitality sector. That is to say, that, on average, each establishment generates about 23 containers per day. Meanwhile, a household generates a glass container every two days.

Therefore, they consider that the involvement of these establishments is key to generating a “real transition towards a more circular and decarbonised model”.

Although they assure that it has been coordinating intensive impact actions in the Horeca channel (Hotels, restaurants and catering) for almost fifteen years with the main objective of increasing the selective collection of glass containers in the sector and, in a complementary way, promoting awareness regarding the caring for the environment in a broader sense, for three years it has launched a competition with which it seeks to reward those establishments most committed to the collection and recycling of bottles.

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How does it work

All the establishments of the coastal municipalities can participate in this Green Flags Movement. For this, the Ecovidrio field team is in charge of visiting the establishments, offering them environmental information and inviting them to personally participate in the campaign.

According to sources from the organization, Ecovidrio visits “one by one” the establishments in this country. “In the last 5 years alone we have impacted 68% of the establishments in our country, which is equivalent to 141,464 establishments,” they say.

It is precisely through these face-to-face visits that the entity offers its information and advice service. «We collect data on habits of generation and recycling of glass containers, we know difficulties, offer solutions (such as the installation of a closer container) and resolve incidents on the fly. Our team of more than 80 people is in charge of combing the streets and making their own ’round’ of visits throughout the country. Last year we reached 96,000 establishments».

This contest has a scoring system that assesses aspects such as the increase in volume in the selective collection of glass containers in the municipality, the percentage of participating local hotels and their collaboration to achieve the objectives, and the commitment acquired by the local councils to promote the campaign among the hotel industry and publicize it to the public and visitors.

“The size of the municipality is not important but its growth in collection compared to the previous year, the involvement of its sector or the activism of the council itself in promoting the initiative,” defends the organization. “In the end, each of these aspects adds up points and the one with the most at the end of the summer wins the flag,” says Roberto Fuentes, Ecovidrio area manager.

Collective effort of the municipality

Although it is the establishments that participate in the competition, the flag is awarded to the municipality. “Eight flags are awarded to reward the most mature and responsible municipalities with sustainability in summer,” explains Fuentes.

For hoteliers, and this year as a novelty, the award will be given to the most sustainable beach bar of the summer. “We will deliver a total of 9 badges at the end of the campaign and these will be chosen after a field survey among the more than 15,000 beach bars that participate in the initiative,” continues the aforementioned spokesman.

One of the participating establishments is the Don Carlos beach bar in Alicante. Its owner, José, assures that they participate because they are committed to recycling and conserving the natural environment and, therefore, they want to contribute their grain of sand to sustainability. He also assures that they do not inform their clients of their participation in this issue, but trusts that, “with the measures taken”, clients are aware of this commitment.

a good summer

Although the competition is taking place at the moment, Ecovidrio sources assure that “the forecasts are very good” and that the collection is growing, although it is early to give data. Of course, they ensure that each year the involvement of the consistories and the Horeca sector with sustainability grows. It is noted that the citizen demands sustainability measures and it is one of the reasons why he chooses some establishments over others. “In this sense, we perceive that hoteliers and town councils have been on the sustainability bandwagon for some time and are very participatory and collaborative when it comes to getting involved in the initiative. On average, this initiative achieves that each year the collection increases by 15% in the participating areas and we are convinced that this year we will be able to overcome it, “says the organization.

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