(Reuters) - Marriott International Inc, the world’s largest hotel chain, plans to remove disposable plastic straws and stirrers from its 6,500 hotels and resorts worldwide by July 2019, the company said on Wednesday.
The Maryland-based company, which said it could eliminate 1 billion straws and a quarter of a billion stirrers a year, said it would provide alternatives, for example paper straws, to customers upon request.
“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,” Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International, said in a statement.
The U.N. Environment Programme estimated in its global Clean Seas campaign launched last year that some 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into the ocean every year, damaging the marine eco-system. Although plastic straws represent a relatively small portion of all plastic waste, they are difficult to recycle and often end up in landfills where they decompose at a much slower rate than paper alternatives.
Marriott joins a growing number of hospitality companies that have said they will do away with disposable plastic straws.
Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc said in May it plans to remove plastic straws from 650 of its managed properties by the end of this year. Hyatt Hotels Corp said last week it would eliminate plastic straws and picks and starting in September, the items would be available by request only.
Coffee chain Starbucks Corp said earlier this month it plans to phase out plastic straws globally by 2020.
Reporting by Caroline Hroncich; Editing by Frances Kerry