RIU Hotels & Resorts wanted to join the program of the Organization of the United Nations on World Environment Day 2018, #BeatPlasticPollution, by organizing clean-ups of coastal areas and beaches in the majority of the destinations where the company operates. This initiative created by the UN, which RIU participated in with more than 20 waste collection drives, united the efforts of all sectors to carry out the world’s largest clean-up.
Fifty RIU hotels participated in this worldwide clean-up with the collaboration of the staff, guests and the local community. In Gran Canaria, there was a clean-up with 47 members of the staff of the RIU hotels in the southern part of the island, who spend an entire morning covering the areas adjacent to the establishments next to the Charca de Maspalomas and all the way to the Meloneras beach.
In Costa Adeje, Tenerife, the staff of the Riu Palace Tenerife and the Riu Arecas covered the area from Barranco del Agua to the coast and organized awareness-raising talks on plastic pollution for both guests and RIU staff.
The Riu Palace Cabo Verde and the Riu Funana on the island of Sal, Cabo Verde, took on the clean-up of the area from Ponta Petra to Punta Sinó, and the Riu Touareg in Boavista collected waste on the Praia Lacacao beach.
In the Portuguese Algarve, the staff of the RIU Guarana collected plastic and other waste on the Praia Falesia beach.
And on the American continent, in Panama, they took care of the Playa Blanca zone in Río Hato, while in the area of Guanacaste in Costa Rica, waste was collected along the 4-km stretch of highway from Nuevo Colón to Playa de Matapalo.
In Punta Cana there was a clean-up in the vicinity of Playa Macao and Arena Gorda; on the island of Aruba, they covered the area between Signature Park and Depalm Pier in Palm Beach.
In Jamaica, they covered three different coastal zones: Seven Mile Beach in Negril, Mahee Bay in Montego Bay and the coast near Mammee Beach in Ocho Ríos.
Mexico was another destination where waste collections were organized. At the new Riu Dunamar in Costa Mujeres, they took care of the most neglected coastline in the area of Isla Blanca, and at the Riu Palace Las Américas in Cancún they covered Playa Mocambo. The Riu Palace Pacifico and the Riu Vallarta covered the green areas around the resorts, while the hotels in Los Cabos held a clean-up on El Médano beach. In Jalisco, the staff and guests at the Riu Emerald Bay took care of the area of Playa Brujas, while the Riu Plaza Guadalajara urban hotel joined this UN project by collecting waste along the train tracks in the city of Guadalajara.
On the other side of the globe, at the Riu Sri Lanka, besides cleaning up Ahungalla beach, they planted 50 coconut palms at an event attended not only by RIU staff and guests but also members of the local community.
On the island of Mauritius, the company’s two resorts, the Riu Le Morne and Riu Creole, participated in the waste collection along the entire coastline between the two hotels.
In addition to waste collection, many hotels decided to organize other activities related to the environment. At the Riu Don Miguel, in Gran Canaria, a Solidarity and Environmental Market focused on the creation of all types of utensils out of plastic was organized. The proceeds of this market will be donated to the Plant-for-the-Planet foundation, with which RIU is working in the Canary Island on reforestation of the island.
In Playa del Carmen, Mexico, the six Riu resorts in Riviera Maya joined forces to organize the RIU Environment Fair, which was held in the gardens of the Riu Palace Mexico hotel. In the tents set up for the occasion, guests and RIU staff members took part in a recycling workshop together where they learned to create art using recycled materials.
In addition to coming together for this action to fight plastic, RIU Hotels now offers its customers compostable straws at its hotels in Spain and Portugal; in July this will be extended to Cape Verde, and it is expected to be applied to its hotels in America in 2019. These straws can already be found in over 35 RIU hotels; they are 100% biodegradable and decompose in 40 days without leaving behind visible or toxic waste.
According to the UN, nearly a third of the plastic containers we use cannot be recycled, meaning that they end up polluting the environment. The figures are alarming. Worldwide, one million plastic bottles are purchased and five billion disposable plastic bags are used each year. In total, 50% of plastics are used just once. Likewise, every year 13 million tons of plastic are dumped in our oceans, where they destroy coral reefs and threaten marine fauna. All the plastic that ends up in the oceans in just one year could encircle the Earth four times and remain in this state for a thousand years before completely decomposing.