Coast KZN

24 Jul 2018

LastStraw 100% compostable straws coming to a Marriott-Protea hotel near you

Ethan Van Diemen ( Picture: The new straws that will be used (Photo: Supplied, Protea Hotels by Marriott)

As awareness continues to grow of the environmental toll of single-use plastics, key stakeholders are increasingly limiting the impact of their business on the environment. 

The latest to join the green force in this regard is Protea Hotels by Marriott  – who have just announced that it will replace plastic straws with biodegradable straws in all of its hotels across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The new eco-conscious shift will go on to become a brand standard across all Protea Hotels by Marriott with the brand already having introduced Vivreau Water at all Protea Hotels to limit the use of plastic water bottles.

Following the standard set by Marriott International’s recent announcement of their intent to remove disposable plastic straws and plastic stirrers from its more than 6 500 properties across 30 brands around the world. Once fully implemented, the company could eliminate the use of more than 1 billion plastic straws per year and about a quarter billion stirrers.

According to Volker Heiden, Vice President, Protea Hotels by Marriott, Marriott International, the Middle East and Africa, “Responsible management of natural resources in our hotel operations is an integral part of our business. Globally, Marriott International has a robust sustainability strategy, with a strong commitment to preserve and protect the planet and its resources. We remain focused on making our supply chain more environmentally friendly, addressing environmental challenges through innovative conservation initiatives and educating and inspiring our associates and guests to conserve and preserve.”

Plastic straws are notorious pollutants due in no small part due to their relative small size which makes controlling where they end up a substantial challenge. Plastic waste is filling the planet’s oceans with destructive consequences for marine life, ecological habitats and the environment writ large. A single plastic straw – which might be used for about 15 minutes – will never fully decompose.  

Biodegradable straws, like the ones to be used by the Protea Hotels by Marriott, are 100% compostable taking 9-12 weeks to compost. Moreover, the organic composition of the straws makes them a viable feed for plant life.

The bio-straw to be used by Protea Hotels by Marriott are 8mm in thickness, making them larger than the straws currently in use. This increased thickness allows for the straw to serve multiple purposes. Made of polylactic acid (PLA), the straw is made of what is essentially starch from mealie cobs and other plant sources though other variants of the bi-straw may be employed in future.

Despite the biodegradable straws being a more expensive alternative, Protea Hotels by Marriott has chosen to go this route as it believes this is the right thing to do. “The use of biodegradable and compostable straws will go a long way towards saving the environment and protecting ocean life. We are really pleased to introduce this change and we trust our guests will continue to support us in our commitment towards putting our environment first,” said Heiden.