Which companies have banned single-use plastics in 2018?
As the global movement to reduce consumption of single-use plastics ramps up, and 2018 draws to an end, we take a look at the notable companies and organizations that have taken considerable measures to do their part.
In July, Starbucks1 announced that they would phase out plastic straws from its more than 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020. In particular, they rolled out a newly-designed lid to replace plastic straws in iced drinks. This lid is made of plastic, but its polypropylene content can be widely recycled, whereas a regular plastic straw cannot be easily recycled. The new lids are already used in the 8,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada. According to Starbucks, their 2020 initiative would eliminate the use of 1 billion straws every year.
(photo credit to Adrianna Calvo, as found on pexels.com)
State of Maharashtra, India
On June 23, the state of Maharashtra7 in India started a ban on single-use plastics. This broad action by a state is one of the first in the world, and came as India pushes a plan to end the use of single-use plastics by 2022. It’s worth noting the broad scope of the ban, which applies to bags, food containers, utensils, and packaging wraps. It’s no surprise that this bold and visionary law caused tremendous backlash from businesses operating in the state. We welcome Maharashtra’s boldness to be willing to put themselves in the forefront of this plastic free revolution. Other governments should also be interested in learning from Maharashtra’s experience in working with businesses and the public to successfully implement the ban. Bravo India!
Disney2 announced that they would eliminate single-use plastic straws and stirrers by mid-2019 at all their locations except Tokyo Disney, which is operated by another company. They also plan to transition to refillable in-room amenities in their hotels and on their cruise ships, aiming to reduce plastics in guest rooms by 80 percent. Additionally, they will reduce the number of plastic shopping bags in their parks, offering guests the option to purchase reusable bags. Disney estimates that these efforts will reduce their annual plastic footprint by 175 million plastic straws and 13 million stirrers.
Since September 1, Hyatt3 has started to eliminate single-use straws and drink picks by making them available only on request. This is building on efforts already underway to reduce Hyatt’s environmental footprint, such as minimize and divert food waste, source responsibly, and reduce water and energy consumption.
In July, American Airlines4 announced their plans to eliminate straws from its lounges and instead serve drinks with a biodegradable, eco-friendly straw and wood stir stick. They would also begin transitioning to all eco-friendly flatware within lounges. In November, they replaced the plastic straw/stir stick usually offered during onboard beverage service with a stir stick made of bamboo. These changes overall are expected to eliminate 71,000 pounds of plastic per year.
Town of Stafford
On July 31, Stafford5, New Jersey in the US became one of the first townships in the US to ban single-use plastics. Although the list of plastics exempted from the ban is extensive and includes “large-ticket” items such as produce shopping bags, we see this as a promising start to more towns and cities in the US taking their own actions.
Nuances of the plastic problem
While working to reduce single-use plastic, it’s vital that we make sure the alternatives generate less environmental impact than single-use plastic. This includes water use, CO2 emissions, and a number of other factors. A study6 conducted in Denmark suggests that we may need to reuse a paper bag 43 times for its per-use environmental impacts to be equal or less than that of a typical disposable plastic bag used once.
It’s also vital to engage as much of the public as possible. The movement to ban plastic straws by large companies across industries serves as a powerful illustration of this idea. It’s forcing people to study and introspect and feel some agency over the problem themselves. We hope that once we put our foot in the door, we’d be willing to make more drastic changes to our lifestyle.
Here’s to a more plastic-free 2019. Cheers!
(photo credit to Lukas, as found on pexels.com)
What do you think about these organizations’ move to ban plastic in their business? Share in the comments below.
You may need VPN access for some of the links below.
4: original press release: http://news.aa.com/news/news-details/2018/American-Airlines-Lays-Down-the-Straw/default.aspx)
For further reading, consider the following links:
A list of travel companies and places phasing out single-use plastics: https://www.cntraveler.com/story/travel-companies-and-places-phasing-out-single-use-plastics
A list of businesses banning plastics: https://www.biobasedworldnews.com/which-companies-have-banned-the-use-of-plastic-straws
A list of governments banning plastics: https://www.earthday.org/plasticban/
NatGeo’s running list of action on plastic pollution: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/07/ocean-plastic-pollution-solutions/
Caveats of the plastic ban: https://www.wri.org/blog/2018/08/banning-straws-and-bags-wont-solve-our-plastic-problem