Walt Disney Company to eliminate plastic straws and more by 2019

The Walt Disney Company is set to eliminate single-use plastic straws and plastic stirrers at all its owned and operated locations across the globe by mid-2019, the company announced Thursday. This includes all parks with the exception of Disney Tokyo.

That elimination amounts to a reduction of more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually, the company said.

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The move comes on the heels of an announcement from Starbucks earlier this month that would phase out single-use plastic straws from its more than 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020.

“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. “These new global efforts help reduce our environmental footprint, and advance our long-term sustainability goals.”

For patrons of Disney hotels and Disney cruise ships, there are additional changes coming.

Over the next several years there will be a transition to refillable in-room amenities, a move that is expected to reduce plastic by 80 percent, the company estimates.

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The company also said they will reduce the number of single-use plastic shopping bags in owned and operated parks and on cruise ships, offering guests the option to purchase reusable bags.

“Disney has always been inspired by nature -- and it is a uniquely powerful brand that inspires, educates, and entertains, all at the same time,” said Dr. M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International, a non-profit with which Disney has collaborated on environmental and sustainability initiatives.

“Today’s announcement is more than about reducing single-use plastic waste, it’s also about showing millions of kids and adults from around the world the many ways we can change our daily habits to care for the oceans and protect nature that sustains us all," Sanjayan said. "It also builds on Disney’s longstanding commitment to conservation and environmental stewardship, a legacy that stretches from the highlands of Peru to the islands of the South Pacific.”

In addition to the Walt Disney Company and Starbucks, McDonald's announced in June that it would scrap plastic straws from restaurant locations in the U.K. and Ireland and replace them with paper straws, starting in September. Vail Resorts, owner of Northstar, Heavenly and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe and sister resorts in Colorado, Utah, British Columbia, Vermont and the Midwest, has also banned plastic straws.

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.

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