More big brands join the war on plastic
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
The effort against single-use plastic straws has officially become more than a skirmish and is now an all-out war, as several more major brands have decided to do away with them in their businesses.
SeaWorld Entertainment, in an effort to protect the environment, has removed all single-use straws and plastic bags from the company’s 12 theme parks. The Orlando-headquartered company made the announcement June 8.
At SeaWorld parks, visitors will now receive paper straws or can buy reusable plastic straws for their drinks at the concession stands.
"We see the harmful effects of plastic pollution in the animals we rescue and rehabilitate, and therefore, recognize the importance of doing our part to curb plastic pollution," interim CEO John T. Reilly said in a statement.
"The process has been ongoing for a few years," SeaWorld spokesman Travis Claytor told the Orlando Sentinel about reducing plastic waste. "This has been something we’ve been working toward."
The Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, says about 8 million metric tons of plastics end up in the ocean every year.
The company, while leading in this effort, is not alone.
Recently, Bon Appétit, a large food-service company that serves major U.S. college campuses, museums and other specialty venues, said it would be phasing out plastic straws and stirrers at all of its more than 1,000 locations.
Alaska Airlines is also getting rid of plastic straws on its flights. In the place of plastic straws will be those made of white birch, and citrus picks will be made of bamboo.
In January, Pernod Ricard — the world’s second largest wine and spirit company with brands like Absolut Vodka, Chivas Regal, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Beefeater gin and Jacob’s Creek wine — announced it is stopping the use of nonbiogradeable plastic straws and stirrers in any part of its business.
"As straw that is only used on average for 20 minutes can take more than 200 years to break down into to smaller pieces and often does not fully disintegrate," the company said in a statement. "This type of non-biodegradable plastic is having a detrimental impact on the environment and oceans, and for us it’s crucial that we play our role in helping to prevent any further damage."
NBC News reports that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.
“Straws are an easy thing for everybody to get started on when approaching the enormous issue of plastic pollution,” said Diana Lofflin, founder of StrawFree.org, an environmental group based in Southern California. "We’re seeing more plastic in our waterways and one of the most common items we find is straws. In fact, it's one of the top 10 items that are picked up at beach cleanups."
According to the group The Last Plastic Straw, 500 million straws are used and discarded every day in the U.S. — enough to wrap around the Earth 2.5 times per day.
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