The Fi­nal Straw

Ho­tels need to move full steam ahead in the bat­tle against plas­tic

Hotelier Middle East - - COMMENT & OPINION -

Straws are light to hold, easy to use, and toss away af­ter fin­ish­ing just one drink within min­utes. But, the small light­weight tubes that are of­ten made out of plas­tic and for a sin­gleuse pur­pose. They are non-biodegrad­able and are find­ing their way to the ocean and wreak­ing havoc to sea crea­tures, plants, and Earth in gen­eral.

To of­fer some nu­mer­i­cal in­sight, in the UK, at least 4.4 bil­lion plas­tic straws are thrown away an­nu­ally af­ter a sin­gle use. Bangkok-based Mi­nor Ho­tel’s Anan­tara and Avani brands es­ti­mate that their ho­tels across Asia used a stag­ger­ing 2.49 mil­lion straws in 2017 ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Na­tional Geo­graphic while Ac­corho­tels es­ti­mated 4.2 mil­lion straws used in the US and Canada last year.

In the ho­tel in­dus­try, the chal­lenges of im­ple­ment­ing sus­tain­abil­ity prac­tices and es­tab­lish­ing an all-around eco-friendly en­vi­ron­ment, poses an enor­mous task, es­pe­cially when it con­cerns the im­pact on the bot­tom line.

But the tide seems to be slowly shift­ing in the last cou­ple of years with ma­jor ho­tel op­er­a­tors jump­ing on the pos­i­tive band­wagon and purg­ing sin­gle-use plas­tic straws across prop­er­ties. It’s def­i­nitely a step in the right di­rec­tion but let’s all ad­mit, the re­source-in­ten­sive ho­tel in­dus­try, es­pe­cially here in the Mid­dle East, has a long road ahead in the fight against plas­tic. And ev­ery plas­tic straw counts.

Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional has re­vealed a plan to re­move the dis­pos­able straws as well as plas­tic stir­rers from its more than 6,500 prop­er­ties across 30 brand world­wide. This mas­sive move, Mar­riott re­veals, will elim­i­nate more than 1 bil­lion straws and a quar­ter bil­lion stir­rers.

Anan­tara Ho­tels & Re­sorts is go­ing a step fur­ther and declar­ing an ab­so­lute ban (see pg 10). Start­ing this month, the op­er­a­tor will abol­ish the straws across all its prop­er­ties across the globe. But be­sides straws, Anan­tara has also made the de­ci­sion to forego plas­tic pack­ag­ing of dry ameni­ties such as tooth­brushes with com­postable paper and biodegrad­able paper straw. This move comes as the op­er­a­tor is at­tempt­ing to em­bed the prin­ci­ples of sus­tain­abil­ity within its ethos and align their ser­vices to bet­ter serve its eco-con­scious guests.

Anan­tara group di­rec­tor of sus­tain­abil­ity & con­ser­va­tion John Roberts said: “Each sin­gle-use plas­tic straw takes hun­dreds of years to break down and sci­en­tists pre­dict there may soon be more straws than fish in the oceans by 2050.

Anan­tara guests are for­ward think­ing and sus­tain­ably minded and want to con­tinue to en­joy the beau­ti­fully lush sur­round­ings for which Anan­tara is fa­mous for gen­er­a­tions to come,” he adds.

While such dras­tic moves from top play­ers is in­spir­ing many other op­er­a­tors and own­ers to join the move­ment, to make any sig­ini­fanct dent and ul­ti­mately cork the grow­ing prob­lem, it will re­quire col­lec­tive ef­fort and ac­tion to guar­entee long-term suc­cess.

Sure, plas­tic is cost-ef­fec­tive, but find­ing and in­vest­ing in al­ter­na­tives such as paper, bam­boo or metal straws will ul­ti­mately ben­e­fit the com­mu­ni­ties ho­tels serve, and most im­po­rat­ntly, Mother Na­ture. Shishira Sreenivas, Fea­tures Writer So­cial: @Shishi­ra_ns Twit­ter/in­sta­gram: @Hote­lierme Face­book: Hote­lier­mid­dleeast

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.