On Monday, Hyatt Hotels announced a plan to do away with single-use plastic items like straws and drink picks. Starting in September, straws and picks will only be available upon request, and, in some markets, sustainable options will be introduced, the company said.
“Eliminating plastic straws and drink picks builds on the environmental sustainability programs we have in place and further drives our global efforts to reduce environmental impact,” Frank Lavey, senior vice president of global operations for Hyatt, said in a statement. “This is a meaningful step, and our commitment doesn’t stop with straws and drink picks.”
In 2014, Hyatt introduced its 2020 Environmental Sustainability Vision that included goals to reduce energy consumption, emissions, and water usage, diverting waste away from landfills, and buying sustainable products like fish.
While plastic straws are not a major source of plastic waste oceans, straws have become the plastic boogeyman, and there has been a concerted effort by activists to reduce their use. (Americans use 500 million straws daily, and they are in the top five trash items found in beach cleanups, according to reports.)
Companies including Alaska Airlines and Ikea are phasing out straws, and some cities and municipalities are banning straws and other single-use plastic. In the U.K., McDonald’s is testing reducing the use of plastic straws including handing out straws only on request or offering eco-friendly alternatives. However, earlier this year, McDonald’s shareholders rejected a proposal to more broadly ban straws.