Vivid Leaf sustainability report, September 2019
Private clubs, resorts and hotels are becoming increasingly creative to steer clear of plastic straws – and here’s why: In just the U.S. alone, one estimate suggests 500 million straws are used every single day. A study published in Science Advances (19 Jul) Vol. 3, no. 7, estimated as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the world’s beaches. At the beginning of July 2018, Seattle became the largest U.S. city to ban plastic straws.
The plastic recycling rates are troublesome low1:
- Europe at 30 percent
- China is at 25 percent
- United States recycles just 9 percent
So, which viable alternatives are available today to the hospitality industry?
Made with only 100% durum wheat semolina and pure water, these straws hold their strength and shape in cold drinks and do not affect the taste of the drink. They last about 1 hour – not enough for 9 or 18 holes (particularly not the way I play).
Biodegradable Hay Drinking Straws. Hay Straws are Made from Natural Wheat Stems that won’t go soggy and they can handle cold and hot drinks.
Fast-growing and highly sustainable, bamboo is an excellent choice for compostable straws. They even look great!
STAINLESS STEEL STRAWS:
Broadly available (Amazon), stainless steel straws are dishwasher safe, last a long time and can handle hot and cold drinks. Some resorts have installed a dishwasher at the golf cart return and are leveraging this long-lasting plastic alternative.
BIODEGRADABLE PLASTIC STRAWS:
Although marked as biodegradable, these straws will need proper composting (and higher temperatures) to actually biodegrade and most types are not recyclable. There is a high probability that we’ll see them floating in the ocean.
While not my first choice for the [golf-]course, glass straws are popular with bar keepers and customers because it’s easy to see whether they came out clean from the dishwasher. An excellent choice for the clubhouse.
Compostable, biodegradable and made from renewable materials, Aardvark Straws are paper straws, which are durable enough to last up to three hours in
cold drinks (that’ll carry me through the first 9 holes).
SKIP THE STRAW:
With consumer awareness about environmental issues on the rise, offering straw-less cups will become more commonplace.
To learn from other organizations how to reduce, properly recycle or even eliminate plastic from your club, hotel or resort, let us demonstrate our Vivid Leaf sustainability software, which guides you on your journey to an environmentally savvy organization. Saving money, protecting our environment for future generations and cultivating your public image is possible and timely!
- SOURCE: ROLAND GEYER, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA BARBARA ↩︎