Tanzania Bans Plastic Bags, Thomson Phases Out Plastic Bottles

Written by Thomson Safaris
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Following Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and dozens of other countries across the globe, Tanzania is banning single-use plastic bags.

We’re going one step further. This year, we’re phasing out as many single-use plastic bottles on our safaris as possible.

Over 1 million tourists visit Tanzania each year. Many of them drink dozens of single-use plastic water bottles, and those bottles regularly end up in landfills.

Thomson is switching to fill stations for sustainability and to help protect the environment and ecosystems where our guests travel. Each of our guests will receive a complimentary water bottle, and we encourage bringing personal water bottles if preferred.

This effort alone can save tens of thousands of water bottles from becoming waste, which is good for the land and the wildlife.

What Does Phasing Out Plastic Bottles Mean for Thomson Guests?

thomson nyumba lounge tent

There will be fill stations for water bottles at camp and in safari vehicles. Bring your Thomson water bottle or a personal water bottle and you’re set!

What Does Banning Plastic Bags Mean for Tourists?

The government’s new mandate will likely ban “production, importation, sale and use” of plastic bags. A formal announcement is expected shortly, and enforcement is expected to start on July 1, 2019.

What this looks like in practice is to be determined. We currently recommend guests do not pack single-use plastic bags when visiting Rwanda because of the small chance of plastics being confiscated in the airport.

Whatever Tanzania’s ban mandates, it’s always good to think about alternatives to single-use plastic bags, both to comply with rules like these and to make your travel more sustainable.

Why is Reducing Plastic Usage in Tanzania Important?

Reducing plastic pollution in the ocean is a key issue for the United Nations Environment Program, which is particularly important for coastal nations like Tanzania. Researchers estimate 18 billion pounds of plastic flows into the oceans every year globally.

Only 9% of the 9 billion tons of plastic produced worldwide has been recycled, which is right inline with the United States’ 9% plastic trash recycling rate. Tanzania, which doesn’t have the same recycling infrastructure many regions in the U.S. enjoy, would be expected to recycle even less than this.

That waste becomes litter or enters a landfill, which can be harmful to the animals and the land. In a place so rich in wildlife and beautiful environments, sustainability is all the more important.