Disney joins major brands in efforts to reduce plastic waste

Disney has made moves to reduce plastic waste by 2019. The ban on single-use plastic straws and stirrers is part of a move by an increasing number of F&B outlets and attractions as companies become aware of the need to improve their environmental footprint.

The Walt Disney Company has announced it will eliminate single-use plastic straws and plastic stirrers at all its owned and operated locations by the middle of 2019. It also plans to reduce plastic waste further by shifting to refillable in-room amenities, reducing the amount of plastic shopping bags and by eliminating polystyrene cups.

“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.”

“Today’s announcement is more than about reducing single-use plastic waste, said Dr M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International.  “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.”

In 2017, Disney reduced its net greenhouse gas emissions by 41 percent. It diverted nearly 50 percent of waste from landfills and incineration and made progress in its goal of attaining a zero state of net greenhouse gas emissions and waste, at the same time as conserving water resources.

Worldwide campaign to reduce plastics continues

Activists have been campaigning for the reduction of plastic straws for many years. Public opinion is now shifting, bolstered by David Attenborough’s landmark natural history television series, The Blue Planet.

Companies are starting to listen and Disney is one of many businesses trying to reduce plastic waste. McDonald’s has announced plans to move to paper straws as has Starbucks.

In June this year SeaWorld Entertainment announced the removal of all single-use straws and bags from its twelve theme parks. “We see the harmful effects of plastic pollution in the animals we rescue and rehabilitate, and therefore, recognize the importance of doing our part to curb plastic pollution,” said John Reilly, interim CEO for SeaWorld.

This summer Merlin Entertainments teamed up with Coca-Cola Great Britain in an initiative to encourage people to recycle plastic bottles at Merlin theme parks. The scheme involves ‘reverse vending’ machines and people who deposit bottles will be rewarded with 50 percent off vouchers to 30 Merlin attractions. “We’re constantly looking for ways to raise awareness and help contribute to a better environment,” said Sandra Hazel, head of Force for Good at Merlin. “As a responsible business and an advocate for marine conservation, we’re pleased to be joining forces with Coca-Cola to encourage people to recycle more this summer, by rewarding them with family fun.”

Image: NOAA-CREP