An Italian ski resort hopes to become the first in Europe to go plastic-free. Pejo 3000, a small resort in Val di Sole, Trentino, cut back on plastic after the discovery of a significant amount of microplastics in a nearby glacier.
Pejo 3000 brought in 137,000 guests last winter, but now, its three mountain huts no longer carry plastic. The Italian resort banned plastic bottles, bags, cutlery, plates, straws, cups, and condiment sachets last December. The resort has 12 miles of ski runs, plus seven ski lifts.
“This is the first part of a project intended to make the ski area of Pejo 3000 the most sustainable in the Alps,” Fabio Sacco, the general director of the Val di Sole tourist board said to the Guardian.
Additionally, Pejo 3000 intends to improve upon waste collection, recycling, and energy use.
Sacco added: “Sustainability is an asset that we must develop, and we must be serious about what we do, rather than make proclamations without taking firm action.”
Limiting the Use of Plastic ‘Urgently Needed’
A recent study conducted by the University of Milan and the University of Milan-Bicocca prompted the move. Research revealed that the surface of Forni Glacier contained between 131 million and 162 million plastic particles. The glacier is one of the largest in the Italian Alps. Microplastics, which include fibers and polyurethane, likely came from tourists’ clothing and equipment.
“If plastic products reach the mountains, they will remain there for a long period of time, even decades, and they will then transform into environmental and health damage, and enter into the food chain,” Christian Casarotto, a glaciologist at the Muse Natural Sciences Museum in Trento, told the Guardian.
Casarotto added, “Projects that aim to limit the use of plastic products are urgently needed. They should be applied throughout the Alps.”
Microplastics aren’t a problem exclusive to Forni Glacier. A study from EcoLab in the School of Agricultural and Life Sciences in Toulouse, France, found 365 microplastic particles per square meter falling from the sky daily in the Pyrenees Mountains. Deonie Allen, a researcher on the project, called microplastics “the new atmospheric pollutant.”
Pejo 3000 will continue to carry out other measures throughout the year. For example, this month, it will get rid of the plastic covers for day passes.