Published on Friday, April 20, 2018

Holidaymakers urged to ditch plastic straws in drinks

Holidaymakers, tourist boards and hotels are being urged to ditch plastic straws in drinks as part of the 2018 Make Holidays Greener campaign.

Plastic is the focus of this year's initiative, run by ABTA in partnership with Travelife for Hotels & Accommodations.

The announcement of the 2018 Make Holidays Greener campaign comes in the week the UK Government said it is considering a ban on plastic straws and other items, such plastic drink stirrers and cotton buds.

Prime Minister Theresa May made the announcement at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London and called on Commonwealth leaders to follow suit.

Statistics show that, as of 2015, 6.3bn tones of plastic waste had been generated worldwide. Of this, 9% has been recycled, 12% incinerated and the remaining 79% accumulated in landfills or the natural environment.

An estimated 8.5 billion plastic straws are thrown away each year.

Last year's BBC series Blue Planet II heralded a change in attitude among the public on the impact of plastic on marine life, with footage showing animals injured or killed by plastic in the ocean.

Presenter David Attenborough ended the series with the message: "The future of all life now depends on us."

An ABTA spokeswoman said: "Consumers are driving change and have a part to play.

"Holidaymakers who are conscious about the effect of what they are using could affect the environment can make a choice not to use something.

"It has a knock-on effect as travel companies and hoteliers are very focused on the consumer."

The annual Make Holidays Greener campaign will run for three months, from the first week of June until the end of August.

ABTA has produced a campaign support pack, which is available for travel companies.

The pack looks at alternatives to plastics, such as encouraging holidaymakers to use reusable bags, minimising the use of straws in drinks, organising a clean-up operation such as a beach clean or committing to 'reduce, reuse and recycle' plastics where possible.

ABTA director of destinations and sustainability Nikki White said: "This past year has seen a tipping point in public awareness on the damage plastics can have on the environment and businesses can use this to drive forward a change in their approach internally, as well as with suppliers and destinations.

"How destinations manage their waste varies significantly, so what can be recycled in one resort can't in another.

"Make Holidays Greener is a great opportunity for travel companies to share best practice of what has worked, try out new approaches and get customers involved in their sustainability agenda."

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  • Odd choice of 'ditch' word.

    Are you sure you mean us to 'ditch' straws? 'Stop using' might have been better - the last thing we want is more ditched/discarded straws in ditches or anywhere else! Paper straws are one solution, but straws are not needed at all. Why not just drink directly from the glass?

    By Sylvia Cook, Monday, April 23, 2018

  • When I were a lad...

    ...some establishments were still using straws made from - straw (why do you think they're called "straws?). Such natural straws were commonly made from rye grass stems and did have a tendency to go mushy when left too long in a drink, hence the invention of the paper straw. However, I am sure that it would be possible to find an alternative in these days of multiple strains of grass-type plants (all grains such as wheat and barley are forms of grass) and that would completely eliminate the pollution problem since plant debris simply gets absorbed into the environment whence it came.

    By Richard English, Friday, April 20, 2018

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