Two major players in the travel industry are joining the movement to ban plastic straws: Marriott International, which, at more than 6,500 properties across 30 brands worldwide, is the largest hotel company in the world, and the luxury Oetker Collection.
Marriott just announced a plan to remove disposable plastic straws and plastic stirrers from all of its properties by July 2019; once fully implemented, the company said that the plan could eliminate the use of more than 1 billion plastic straws per year and approximately a quarter billion stirrers. These plastics never fully decompose, Marriott noted.
The initiative will apply to both Marriott’s managed and franchise properties. Before next July, Marriott said that its owners and franchisees will move to deplete their existing supply of plastic straws, identify alternate straw sources and educate staff. As part of the plan, hotels will offer alternative straws upon request. Marriott is also eliminating plastic straws from its corporate headquarters.
Also this week the Oetker Collection announced that it is banning a number of plastic items, effective immediately, in all 10 of its hotels. The banned items are:
- Plastic straws
- Plastic spoons
- Plastic cups
- Plastic glass cover in rooms
- Plastic wrappings of individual sugar cubes
- Plastic Q-tips/cotton swabs
Other notable sustainability initiatives undertaken by Marriott recently include a move, started earlier this year, to replace small toiletry bottles in guest bathrooms of about 450 select service hotels with larger, in-shower dispensers, reducing waste. The new toiletry dispensers are expected to be in place at more than 1,500 hotels in North America by the end of this year, which would enable Marriott to eliminate more than 35 million small plastic toiletry bottles annually that typically go to landfills.
Last year, the company set sustainability and social impact goals that call for reducing landfill waste by 45 percent and responsibly sourcing its top 10 product purchase categories by 2025. These goals and other sustainability programs help reduce our environmental footprint and are part of the company’s Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction initiative that addresses social, environmental, and economic issues.
The move to eliminate plastic straws makes Marriott the largest hotel company thus far to do so. Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts, Meliá Hotels International and Iberostar Hotels & Resorts all have similar plans in place, while Hilton has previously said it is moving to eliminate plastics at its Asia-Pacific properties by the end of the year. In the cruise space, Hurtigruten, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises are eliminating plastics as well.