The Walt Disney Co. Announces Plan to Stop Using Plastic Straws, Stirrers

Plastic straws are becoming more and more unpopular with major companies. 

The Walt Disney Company announced Thursday that they plan on eliminating single-use plastic straws and stirrers at all of its locations by mid-2019. 

In a news release on Thursday, Disney officials said that the new plan was part of the company's "long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship." More than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers are used every year at Disney properties across the world. 

“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. “These new global efforts help reduce our environmental footprint, and advance our long-term sustainability goals.”

The move by Disney comes as many other companies announce plans to eliminated plastic straws. Starbucks announced earlier this month that they would remove straws and stirrers from their restaurants by 2020. Marriott Hotels has also committed to removing straws and stirrers from their properties worldwide by next year. 

“Disney has always been inspired by nature – and it is a uniquely powerful brand that inspires, educates, and entertains, all at the same time,” said Dr. M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International. 

“Today’s announcement is more than about reducing single-use plastic waste, it’s also about showing millions of kids and adults from around the world the many ways we can change our daily habits to care for the oceans and protect nature that sustains us all. It also builds on Disney’s longstanding commitment to conservation and environmental stewardship, a legacy that stretches from the highlands of Peru to the islands of the South Pacific.”

Disney also announced in its release that guests at their hotels and cruise ships will begin seeing refillable in-room amenities over the next few years. The company said it will also strive to cut down on the amount of plastic shopping bags, and will begin offering guests the option of purchasing reusable bags at a nominal price. 

A plastic straw ban took effect in Seattle earlier this month, and San Francisco says they will enact a ban on the single-use plastic straws as well as other plastic items which would begin by next July. One city in California has gone so far as to authorize an ordinance that would slap hefty fines (up to $1,000), and even jail time for violators who hand out plastic straws at restaurants, bars, and other food establishments in Santa Barbara. 

The backlash against plastic straws and stirrers began after an EcoStory went viral that claimed roughly 500 million disposable straws were used by Americans daily. That figure has been called into question, but many environmental groups say they believe the estimate to be low. Straws were also ranked the seventh most common piece of trash that were collected on global beaches by volunteer cleanup crews. 

Photo: Getty Images

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