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Zero Waste in Ibiza

Abstract des Projekts

Das rasante Wachstum des Tourismus zerstört die ökologische Umwelt, wobei die Meeresverschmutzung durch Touristeninseln ein drängendes Problem darstellt. Ibiza ist eine der angesagtesten Touristeninseln der Welt, und aufgrund der besonderen Zusammensetzung der Tourismusindustrie ist das Umweltmanagement auf der Insel eine besondere Herausforderung.

Zero Waste ist ein nachhaltiges Abfallmanagementkonzept, das in den frühen 1970er Jahren eingeführt wurde und darauf abzielt, Abfall zu reduzieren, indem seine Entstehung verhindert wird. Die Implementierung von Zero Waste Strategien auf Ibiza ist eine Möglichkeit, den Zustand der Umwelt radikal zu verändern. Diese Arbeit beginnt mit der Zero Waste Konzept und evaluiert das Potential, zero waste bei der Touristengruppe auf Ibiza zu erreichen, basierend auf den zero waste development guidelines und dem Bewertungsindex.

Nachdem wir analysiert haben, wie die Aktivitäten der Besucher auf Ibiza mit dem Abfallaufkommen interagieren, kamen wir zu dem Schluss, dass es schwierig ist, innerhalb der Touristengruppe auf Ibiza kurzfristig Zero Waste zu erreichen. Die bisher erzielten Fortschritte im MSW-Management und die Priorisierung der Abfallvermeidung in der zukünftigen Planung lassen jedoch vermuten, dass es langfristig möglich ist, dies zu erreichen. Der durch die COVID-19-Pandemie herbeigeführte Wandel wird das Entstehen eines Zero Waste Szenarios wahrscheinlich beschleunigen.

Der Inhalt und die Ergebnisse der Studie können uns helfen, eine Grundlage für die Gestaltung von spezifischen Zero Waste Übergangsprogrammen zu schaffen. In dieser Arbeit wird im letzten Kapitel ein vorläufiger Zero Waste Vorschlag vorgestellt, nämlich die Reduzierung des Abfalls von verpacktem Trinkwasser in Ibiza durch ein "Pfand-, Rückgabe- und Erstattungssystem".

Abstract 

The rapid growth of tourism is destroying the ecological environment, of which marine pollution from tourist islands is a pressing issue. Ibiza is one of the world’s hottest tourist islands, and because of its distinctive tourism industry composition, environmental management on the island is more challenging.

Zero waste is a sustainable waste management concept introduced in the early 1970s, aiming to reduce waste by preventing its generation. Implementing zero waste strategies in Ibiza is a way to change the state of the environment radically. This thesis starts with the zero waste philosophy, and evaluates the potential of achieving zero waste among the tourist group of Ibiza based on the zero waste development guidelines and the assessment index.

After analyzing how the activities that visitors engage in Ibiza interact with the waste generation we concluded that it is difficult to achieve zero waste within Ibiza’s tourist group in the short term. However, the progress made so far in MSW management and the prioritization of waste prevention in future planning suggest that it is possible to achieve it in the long term. The shift brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to accelerate the emergence of a zero waste scenario.

The content and results of the study can help us to provide a basis for the design of specific zero waste transition programs. This thesis presents a preliminary zero waste proposal in the final chapter, which is the reduction of waste from packaged drinking water in Ibiza through a “deposit, return, and refund” system.

Research Question & Objective

Ibiza, located in Spain, is one of the hottest tourist islands in the world, known for its nightlife, electronic music, and clubs. Tourism is the most significant contributor to the economy of Ibiza, with about four million tourists per year bringing 3.110,3 million to the island. The developed tourism industry has brought about rapid economic development, but a large number of visitors has also increased the pressure on waste management in Ibiza. Ibiza received almost three million visitors between May and September 2019, generating a total of 83.100 tons of waste, with twice as much waste generated in August as in January.

Waste treatment and management in Ibiza is more challenging than on other tourist islands. In addition to facing the same difficulties as other tourist islands with limited land area, inadequate waste treatment facilities, and seasonal tourist influx, the frequent outdoor music parties on the island make waste collection and management more challenging. Reducing tourist-generated waste is the key to solving the waste pollution problem on tourist destinations. However, traditional waste management models are inadequate to deal with the complex situation in Ibiza.

Zero waste was introduced in the 1970s as a sustainable waste management concept, aiming to reduce or eliminate waste by preventing waste at the source. Achieving zero waste in Ibiza is a radical solution to the environmental crisis. This study intends to focus on the question “Is it possible to achieve zero waste among the tourist community in Ibiza?”. Studying the potential of zero waste among tourists is also a process of thinking about how to minimize the waste generated by tourists in the context of zero waste philosophy, which may help us find an environmental management solution that can balance the environment and tourism development.

The results obtained from this study will, first of all, inform the specific solutions needed to transition Ibiza towards a zero waste city. Ensuring the ecological level is a prerequisite for the sustainable development of tourism in Ibiza. The second purpose is that the content of this paper will hopefully inspire other similar tourist destinations to integrate the zero waste idea to solve environmental problems.

Results

Zero waste is effective in dealing with waste pollution. According to the Guidelines of the zero waste transition , achieving zero waste among the tourist community should involve their behavior and awareness, the operators related to tourist activities during their vacation, and the overall control of government agencies. How the various stakeholders belonging to these three sectors interact with each other is also illustrated several times in the previous chapter. The significant increase of waste during the tourist season in Ibiza can prove that the consumption behavior of tourists for products or activities is a direct cause of the excessive MSW.

When we consider how to reduce visitor-generated waste in conjunction with the zero-waste philosophy, we find that in addition to tourists’ behavior and awareness, the type and amount of waste generated depends on the operator associated with the visitor’s leisure activity. The key to the zero waste concept is to think about whether waste generation can be avoided at the source. From this point of view, the role of these operators as service providers determines whether it is possible that tourists to consume sustainably. If operators can eliminate the use or provision of products that may “become” waste, they avoid waste generation at the source to a certain extent. The policies and regulations proposed by governments also play an important role in managing and supervising the implementation of zero waste strategies. These three groups are closely interrelated and will need to work together to achieve a zero-waste transition.

The Potential for Zero Waste Among Tourists

Zero waste management is a system-wide approach that aims to eliminate waste. Achieving zero waste in an area will involve multiple groups and institutions in society. The potential for tourists to achieve zero waste will be viewed in the context of the zero waste development guidelines and in relation to the critical indicators for evaluating zero waste performance. In terms of awareness and behavior, the sense of environmental responsibility of tourists in Ibiza is weak compared to other places. The lack of attention to waste leads to a higher chance of littering or carelessly leaving waste on the ground. Valuing waste through changes in personal perceptions and sustainable consumption behaviors is a crucial driver for a zero waste management system. If there is a need to intervene in the tourists’ behavior, it will involve tough controlling them. However, this may reduce their freedom experience and affect tourism development. Raising environmental awareness through educational means is also not applicable to tourists with short stays.

The flowing phase of the zero waste development is to expand the responsibilities of operators and waste managers. On the operator side, the zero waste requirement initiative is not yet widespread at sites where tourists gather. Tourism-related operators do not have complete control over the waste generation and collection in their areas. They have eliminated single-use plastic products but not all disposable products, and there are no improvement measures for the food waste problem. However, all these wastes should be avoided. Reducing packaging waste, which comes mainly from food and beverages, requires a shift in visitor consumption patterns and a shift in the city’s service system. In general, it is unlikely that this type of waste can be completely eliminated, but it must be reduced as much as possible. Increasing the drinking rate of tap water is the first task to be achieved, at least in hotels, restaurants, bars, and clubs where packaged drinking water should no longer be available. There are currently packaged options for more sustainable drinking water on the island. In contrast, there is no other access to tap water suitable for drinking, which makes it challenging to promote reusable water bottles among tourists.

In terms of MSW management in Ibiza, industrial composting facilities and containers for collecting organic waste have been placed on the island. That means that for biodegradable waste, including food waste and disposable products, the resource closed-loop required for zero waste is theoretically achieved in Ibiza. The disposal of plastic, glass, and cardboard from packaging waste is not on the island. A new waste diversion plant has been established to carefully sort mixed waste, thereby increasing the percentage of waste from these three materials that can be recycled.

The Ibiza government’s oversight and management of waste management play an essential role in the final phase of the zero waste transition. Complementary programs for local environmental sustainability by several non-profit environmental organizations can also be of assistance. Waste prevention is considered to be the highest priority guiding principle in the plan referred to by the MSW management in Ibiza. In addition to the specific waste reduction targets that need to be achieved by 2030, the planning also contains recommendations for specific actions or measures to prevent waste in the future. Many of these actions involve a shift in tourism patterns that tourists take for granted, which is needed in a zero waste transition. If the new model can be designed properly, it can balance the tourist experience with environmental protection. Because the level of tourist consumption in Ibiza looks like the price increase of goods or services brought about by environmental development is acceptable.

From the current situation of these three phases, we find that it will not be easy to achieve zero waste among visitors to Ibiza in the short term. The tourists and tourism-related operators are not yet able to assume the corresponding responsibility for waste. Waste avoidance strategies and actions are not widespread on the island, only in the disposal of organic and disposable waste, which Ibiza currently does by composting them and converting them to other energy uses. Still, the opportunity to achieve the transition exists in the long term, and the COVID-19 pandemic may help accelerate it. Under the pandemic’s impact, the number of tourists has to be limited, and crowd gathering events need to be reduced on the island. One could use this time to promote zero waste practices on the island. For example, extending the club season, eliminating buffet service in hotels, implementing a “deposit, return and refund” system.

Mind Map of Solution

Various objective conditions determine that Ibiza will remain a tourism-based island for a long time to come, and the majority of the local people will continue to rely on the tourism industry for income. Maintaining an excellent ecological environment is a prerequisite for developing tourism. Therefore it is inevitable that Ibiza will transform into a zero-waste city. Taking the lead in achieving zero waste among the tourist community is an essential step towards this goal.

Based on the previous article, we summarize four primary sources of waste generated by tourists during their vacation: food waste, beverage packaging, disposable products (straws, cups, shopping bags), and tiny solid waste. To Achieve zero waste among tourists means that these wastes will not be found in the future. For this purpose, tourists, tourism operators, and the government on the island should cooperate with each other. Figure 1 presents a mind map of Ibiza’s zero waste transformation program, which shows that we should design a program that takes into account not only the waste but also the sustainability of the tourism industry and the economy, including the tourist vacation experience, the income generated by tourism, the fixed tourist season and the consumption of the island’s natural resources. Especially under the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of visitors to Ibiza will be limited for a long time. We need to think about increasing the expenditure per tourist on the island and securing the number of tourism employment. The orange squares in the diagram show possible solutions to eliminate waste (food waste, beverage packaging, disposables, small solid waste).

Tourism-related operators and the government play a crucial role in implementing these programs, and the relationship between them is illustrated in figure 2. We can envision a future scenario for Ibiza: Hotels will offer guests meal reservations instead of buffet service to minimize kitchen waste. The most consumed beverages by tourists, such as individual small packaged drinking water, carbonated drinks, beer, and iced tea, will no longer be sold on the island. Such drinks will all be served in drinking dispensers, and consumers need to prepare their own reusable containers. This transformation of the business model could result in a significant reduction in beverage packaging waste. To increase the use of reusable drinking containers and to meet the convenience of visitors, we could add a “deposit, return and refund” system in Ibiza. Disposable cups, straws, hotel supplies, and shopping bags will also be banned in Ibiza, including those made of environmentally friendly materials. Retail stores and hippie markets can additionally sell handmade bags instead of giving free shopping bags. To ensure that tiny solid wastes such as cigarette butts and chewing gum are not left in the natural environment, people can use mini trash containers for free at beaches and natural areas in the future. Besides, the government of Ibiza will also add supervision and penalty mechanisms at these locations for littering. At the same time, all these solutions have the potential to increase the expenses of tourists on the island.

“Deposit, Return and Refund” System

Design orientation

Designing a “Deposit, Return and Refund” system to increase the usage of reusable drinking containers requires many elements, as shown in figure 3. We can summarize the design points as follows:

  • The reusable drinking containers provided in the system should be suitable for various beverages and easy to carry. If it can also have value as a souvenir, visitors might want to pay for it directly.
  • The system should provide people with different container size options and deposit amounts.
  • The construction of the city network will largely determine how effective the system will be in practice. In the places where most visitors will be, such as airports, hotels, popular leisure activities locations, there should be access to pick-up/return containers. We can place automated container storage machines at some critical locations, and tourism-related operators can complement the system by providing manual services.
  • The establishment of additional public drinking water fountains in the city could allow people to get free drinking water.
  • It is essential to have a mobile APP for the system, with the functions of paying deposits, receiving refunds, and finding container storage machines and public water fountains.

Details and Sketch

Figure 4 shows the location of the airport, beach areas, club areas, and famous hippie markets in Ibiza. Achieving the most efficient system operation requires us to determine the places where the container get/return service will be provided based on the tourists’ route of activity on the island. The airport, which is the first stop for the majority of tourists in Ibiza, should take on a more significant role—for example, introducing people to the system’s processes and helping them download and use the mobile app.

Figure 5 and figure 6 are the preliminary design of the drinking containers and the container storage machine. The storage machine should ensure that people can self-service the entire process: pay a deposit - withdraw containers - return containers - receive a refund, and it should have the function of automatically washing and disinfecting containers.

Tiny Waste Collection

Cigarette butts and chewing gum are two types of tiny solid waste frequently generated by the tourist community and are always found at random times and places. The increasing amount of such litter left on the beach and in some fragile environments can be a severe hazard. We have collected many cigarette butts and other tiny pieces of plastic on Ibiza’s beaches, probably because sometimes people forget to put their trash in the garbage cans while sunbathing. Ensuring that people do not throw small trash pieces at these locations is the key to solving the problem, for which providing them more ways to collect such waste might be an effective solution. People can get mini waste containers around the beach area for free and return them after use. Figure 7 illustrates the design points of this solution.

Meal Reservation Service

In order to reduce food waste, the buffet service in Ibiza’s hotels will be replaced by table service, and guests who have reserved a room will need to make reservations to confirm their meals in advance. The preliminary scenario is shown in figure 33: guests receive an updated menu listing the different prices and portions of food combinations from the hotel as early as one month before arrival. If people want to enjoy dining in the hotel, they need to confirm their menus and reply to the hotel at least two days before check-in. In this way, we can minimize food waste and kitchen waste in the hotel and satisfy some guests who want to enjoy premium dishes.

Ein Projekt von

Fachgruppe

Design Master

Art des Projekts

Masterarbeit

Betreuung

Prof. Holger Jahn Prof. Dr. Marian Dörk

Entstehungszeitraum

SoSe 20 – WiSe 20 / 21

Keywords