Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa is saying no to single-use plastic straws in an effort to enhance environmentally sustainable practices and to protect Hawaii’s tropical marine ecosystem, including the endangered “honu,” which are Hawaiian green sea turtles.
The Maui resort is the first in the Hawaiian Islands to completely eliminate single-use plastic straws in favor of a marine-friendly alternative, according to a statement issued by the hotel.
According to Surfrider Foundation, roughly 500 million plastic drinking straws are used and discarded every day in the United States alone, and 175 billion straws are used in a year.
Surfrider Foundation also notes that marine life, including honu, can be harmed by ingesting plastic straws and other broken-down plastics that pollute the ocean and waterways. Lonely Whale Foundation asserts that an estimated 30 percent of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs, and when they ingest plastic, marine life has a 50 percent mortality rate.
Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa is implementing paper straws as an environmentally-conscious solution at its multiple dining establishments, luau, banquets and events. Paper straws will be provided in keiki (kids) beverages and blended tropical drinks, with other beverages being served without straws unless a paper straw is requested.
The resort’s sustainability efforts are multi-faceted. Beyond core energy efficiency and water conservation initiatives are a handful of important recycling efforts that protect the natural environment and give back to the community.
“We strongly believe that care for one another begins with taking care of our surroundings and our continued sustainability efforts are just one of the many ways we strive to provide the highest standard of care and comfort for visitors and guests at our resort,” said Tetsuji Yamazaki, Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa’s general manager, in a news release.