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Small pieces, big consequences
It seems we’re all chewing over microplastics. All too literally, unfortunately. These plastic particles, less than five millimetres in diameter, are already everywhere – from the depths of the seas to the highest mountains, from the air we breathe to the water we drink.
There is a distinction between secondary microplastics, which arise from the weathering of larger plastic waste, and primary microplastics, which are specially manufactured plastics added to products such as cosmetics, cleaning agents and fertilisers in the form of microbeads, granules, fibres or even in liquid consistency. (Source: Greenpeace)
Heading out to sea
For some time now, microplastics have been repeatedly detected in seawater and drinking water. How do the particles get there? Plastic waste that is carelessly tossed into natural settings ends up in rivers and seas, but there is also waste in landfills that decomposes over time through abrasion, UV light, salt, bacteria and temperature fluctuations, before entering natural cycles. (Source: WWF)
Primary microplastics, which are often found in cosmetic products and cleaning agents, find their way into wastewater when we shower and clean. They then make their way into the sea via sewage treatment plants and rivers, where they are ingested by marine organisms and ultimately end up on our plate when we eat fish or seafood. (Source: Nürtinger Zeitung)
These facts are more than worrying. At Motel One, we believe that completely avoiding microplastics is the best solution, in line with the motto:
REDUCE. REUSE. RECYCLE.
We have already come a long way in refusing plastic and its waste. We stopped using plastic bags in the rubbish bins in our rooms, which saved almost five million plastic bags in 2019 alone. The toothbrush cups in the bathrooms have been switched from plastic to biodegradable and compostable cellulose. This also replaces almost five million plastic cups annually (2019).
We switched our hotel cosmetics from small disposable plastic bottles, which had to be replaced after each guest, to refillable pump dispensers that only need to be replaced about three times a year per room. The pump dispensers themselves are made from recycled plastic and even the contents are doing their bit: the hair and body wash and our hand soap are certified natural cosmetics (Cosmebio and Ecocert) and 100% microplastic-free. Moreover, all of the cleaning products used at Motel One are microplastic-free.
Since 2015, Motel One has been offering an organic breakfast buffet, and we are gradually reducing the amount of individually wrapped foods. Around 75% of our food is now unpackaged and we are continuously working to increase this share.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET INVOLVED?
As part of our commitment, we support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 14, ‘Life Below Water’, which aims, among other things, to reduce all types of marine pollution by 2025 and to protect marine life.
Here’s how you can help: => Avoid plastic that can produce secondary microplastics whenever you can. => Use certified natural cosmetics and cleaning agents and avoid the following ingredients: