It seems like straws are in the news every day now, and for good reason — straw waste is a very real thing. According to the National Park Service, Americans use 500 million drinking straws every day. (Yes, every day.) And since plastic straws are not recyclable, these “disposable” products don’t disappear; instead, they end up in landfills; in rivers, lakes or oceans; and/or blowing down the street.
Luckily, The Walt Disney Company is working to change all that: on Thursday, the company announced they would be eliminating single-use straws and stirrers from all their properties. This includes their cruise ships, their resorts and their theme parks with the exception of Disney Tokyo.
The change, slated to go into effect by mid-2019, will lead to a “reduction of more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually.”
“Eliminating plastic straws and other plastic items are meaningful steps in our long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, experiences and consumer products. “These new global efforts help reduce our environmental footprint, and advance our long-term sustainability goals.”
Disney’s statement comes just weeks after Starbucks announced they would be phasing out plastic straws and less than a month after Seattle announced it would be instituting a citywide ban on straws and other plastic utensils. San Francisco is also in the process of enacting a straw ban, which, if approved, will go into effect next July.
But how will this news affect those traveling to the happiest place on Earth? According to Disney, several changes will be coming over the next few years; however, the most notable is the transition to refillable in-room amenities, a move that is expected to reduce plastic by 80 percent, the company estimates.
Of course, this change may be hard for some to swallow, but Disney is definitely doing the right thing.