Marriott International today announced that it has adopted a plan to remove disposable plastic straws and plastic stirrers from its more than 6,500 properties across 30 brands around the world. Once fully implemented in one year, the company could eliminate the use of more than 1 billion plastic straws per year and about a quarter billion stirrers. A single plastic straw–which might be used for about 15 minutes–will never fully decompose.
Marriott’s plastic straw initiative will take full effect at both managed and franchised properties by July 2019, giving hotel owners and franchisees time to deplete their existing supply of plastic straws, identify sources of alternate straws, and educate staff to modify customer service. As part of the initiative, hotels will offer alternative straws upon request.
“We are proud to be among the first large U.S. companies to announce that we’re eliminating plastic straws in our properties worldwide,” says Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International. “Removing plastic straws is one of the simplest ways our guests can contribute to plastic reduction when staying with us–something they are increasingly concerned about and are already doing in their own homes. We are committed to operating responsibly and–with over one million guests staying with us every night–we think this is a powerful step forward to reducing our reliance on plastics.”
Marriott’s plastic straw initiative is the latest change the hospitality company is making to enhance the sustainability of its operations and reduce plastic consumption. Earlier this year, Marriott began replacing small toiletry bottles in the guest bathrooms of about 450 select-service hotels with larger, in-shower dispensers that distribute more product for guests to use, 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.
These initiatives build on Marriott’s sustainability and social impact goals set last year that call for reducing its hotels’ landfill waste by 45 percent and responsibly sourcing its top 10 product purchase categories by 2025. These goals and other sustainability programs are part of the company’s Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction initiative that addresses social, environmental, and economic issues.
In conjunction with its plastic straw initiative announcement, the company is also eliminating plastic straws from its corporate headquarters.
Properties at the Forefront of Eliminating Plastic Straws
In February, more than 60 Marriott hotels in the United Kingdom eliminated plastic straws and began offering consumers alternate straws upon request. Many individual properties–ranging from urban boutique hotels to oceanfront resorts–have also been on the forefront of this initiative. The Pancras Renaissance Hotel London was among these U.K. hotels that in February removed plastic straws. Since then, the hotel has halved the number of straws used at the property. Other properties that have eliminated plastic straws include the following.
- The Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort in Costa Rica eliminated the use of plastic straws earlier this year.
- The JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort in March became one of the first hotels on Southwest Florida’s Paradise Coast to eliminate plastic straws, eliminating about 65,000 straws per month.
- The Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane in June removed plastic straws and stirrers and adopted alternate products throughout the hotel including at Sazerac, the hotel’s 30th floor bar and the tallest bar in Brisbane.
- The Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa in August became Hawaii’s first resort to remove plastic straws from its restaurants, luaus and other venues, eliminating about 30,000 plastic straws per month.
“Our guests come to stay with us to enjoy Maui’s beautiful environment and incredible marine life, so they’re as eager as we are to reduce harmful pollution,” says Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa General Manager Tetsuji Yamazaki. “By eliminating plastic straws, we have been able to create a substantive dialogue with our guests about the importance of protecting the ocean and endangered animals like the honu (green sea turtle).”
The Industry Scales Back on Single-Use Plastic Straws
Several hospitality companies have made moves to scale back or phase out plastic straws specifically, as well as other single-use plastics at their properties. Hyatt announced earlier this month plans to eliminate single-use plastic straws and drink picks. After Sept. 1, 2018, straws and picks will be available on request only, and eco-friendly alternatives will be provided where available.
MGM Resorts also announced in July plans to adopt a policy to only serve plastic straws upon request at its operated restaurants in the United States. This initiative, which began rolling out in May 2018, aims to eventually remove more than 250,000 straws a day from landfills and waterways—100 million straws each year.
Hilton announced in May plans to halve its environmental footprint by 2030, including removing plastic straws from managed properties.
Two Roads Hospitality has also taken action to reduce or eliminate single-use plastic straws at several of its managed properties by turning to biodegradable alternatives.