The movement to eliminate plastic straws just got a big boost from a hospitality giant. The Walt Disney Company announced to do away with single use plastic straws and stirrers as well as polystyrene cups by the middle of 2019.
According to the company, the goliath will phase out the environmentally unsound implements at all of their locations worldwide resulting in the elimination of 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually.
“Eliminating plastic straws and other plastic items are meaningful steps in our long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Bob Chapek, Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences, and Consumer Products, in a statement. “These new global efforts help reduce our environmental footprint, and advance our long-term sustainability goals.”
Disney also declared that their hotels and cruise ships will soon switch to refillable shampoos, conditioners, etceteras.
Plastic straws take hundred of years to biodegrade. Environmentalists estimate that over one billion straws are thrown away daily.
The move follows several other high profile straw bans. Starbucks and Marriott have both already announced plans to eliminate straws. Seattle just enacted a municipal prohibition on said single use plastics and both New York City and San Francisco are well on their way to passing similar legislation.
However, not everyone is happy about the trend. Disability advocates argue that straws allow the disabled to eat and drink with ease. In some cases like NYC, the proposed bans are being amended to accommodate this need.