Gradually phasing out single-use plastics in Ibiza and Formentera
Ibiza generates the most waste per capita of all the Balearic Islands, at just under 600 kg per inhabitant in 2022. These values are far in excess of the Spanish national average. A large part of this waste is plastic, much of it generated during the peak summer season. Plastic is not just rubbish clogging up our beaches and shores, but it also affects the marine environment, endangering the species that live there. It’s even become part of our food chain, so much so that recent studies have detected microplastics in human organs and our bloodstream.
Research has revealed significant concentrations of plastic in the waters off Ibiza. Samples taken from the surface of San Antonio Bay recorded 4,576,111 plastic particles per km2 (compared to an average of 147,500 per km2), the maximum concentration detected in the Mediterranean.
Plastic Free Ibiza and Formentera, an alliance of a dozen local entities founded by IbizaPreservation in 2018 and led by the Foundation, works to raise awareness and promote more sustainable and circular habits.
Since 2019, we have issued more than 180 plastic-free certifications to companies in Ibiza and Formentera. In 2021, we built on our existing scheme by launching Plastic Free Balearics (PFB), a new and more scientifically robust certification developed jointly with Save the Med in Mallorca and co-financed by the Monaco-based association Beyond Plastic Med. PFB targets the hospitality sector – one of the biggest generators of plastic waste – and unites the four islands in the common goal of eliminating plastic pollution from the archipelago. Thanks to support from the British band, Depeche Mode, who are donating funds via Conservation Collective through their Memento Mori charity partnership with the watchmaker Hublot, we are able to assess up to local 50 businesses for the certification free-of-charge in 2023/24, with around 20 evaluations currently in process.
Global Tourism Plastics Initiative
Thanks also to the funding from Depeche Mode, as well as from the Consell of Ibiza, since 2022 we have been promoting the Global Tourism and Plastics Initiative, a joint project of the UNWTO and the UN Environment Programme that seeks to encourage the global tourism sector to lead the change towards a circular economy. We have held more than 12 workshops to publicise the initiative and the free tools and resources it offers, as well as a number of one-to-one meetings with businesses and institutions in Ibiza and Formentera.