ENVIRONMENT

Disney Plans To Eliminate Plastic Straws From Properties By 2019

The company hopes to eliminate more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers from its parks and other locations annually.
The Walt Disney company plans to eliminate more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually.
The Walt Disney company plans to eliminate more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually.

The Walt Disney Company has announced its plan to eliminate single-use plastic straws and plastic stirrers at all its owned and operated locations around the world by 2019.

All parks except Disney Tokyo are included in this plan that will eliminate 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, Disney Parks, Experiences, and Consumer Products in a statement. “These new global efforts help reduce our environmental footprint, and advance our long-term sustainability goals.” 

In addition removing straws and stirrers, other shakeups for Disney hotel and cruise ship fans include a shift to refillable in-room amenities. The company also plans to cut down on single-use plastic shopping bags.

Disney’s announcement comes shortly after Starbucks’ pledge earlier this month that it would be eliminating plastic straws from its stores worldwide over the next two years. The coffee chain has already introduced the strawless lid, which features a raised lip. It’s available in more than 8,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada for select beverages. 

McDonald’s also revealed in June that it would be replacing plastic straws with paper ones in restaurant locations in the U.K. and Ireland.

As evidenced by a report in Time, the alternatives for plastic straws are problematic for people with certain disabilities. Paper straws can get soggy and disintegrate, which will be an issue for those who take a longer time to drink. Metal straws aren’t usually flexible, making them a far more difficult tool to use for people who have a mobility-related impairment.

Renewed attention to reducing single-use plastics has drawn criticism from some disabled rights advocates. By eliminating plastic straws, companies are no longer providing the disabled community with an accessible way to consume food and drinks

“Meeting the needs of guests with disabilities is extremely important to us,” Walt Disney Company spokeswoman Stephanie Christine Corzett told HuffPost.

“As we move forward with this initiative, we are actively involved in discussions to identify and develop accessible, alternative options for those who need them.”

This story has been updated with comment from Stephanie Christine Corzett.

HuffPost

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