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#LASTSTRAW: Protea Hotels by Marriott does away with plastic straws.

Initiative geared to limit impact of hotels on the environment

Cape Town, 14 June 2018: Plastic waste is turning our oceans into death pools. If the world continues using plastic in the way we are currently, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050 – not a long way off. Plastic straws are a massive contributor to this dire situation.

That is why Africa’s leading hotel group, Protea Hotels by Marriott, has taken the initiative to introduce biodegradable straws in its hotels across the Sub-Saharan Africa region.  This eco-conscious shift will become a brand standard across Marriott International brands such as Protea Hotels by Marriott, Protea Hotels Fire & Ice! by Marriott, African Pride Hotels Autograph Collection and the Westin Cape Town. The initiative follows the introduction of Vivreau Water in Protea Hotels, an initiative undertaken to limit the use of plastic water bottles.

According to Volker Heiden, Vice President, Protea Hotels by Marriott, Marriott International, Middle East and Africa, “Marriott International, the global arm of Protea Hotels by Marriott, is well-known for its sustainability strategy, which reaches beyond the doors of our hotels to preserve and protect the planet and its resources. We focus on reducing our footprint, constructing more sustainable buildings, making our supply chain more environmentally conscious, supporting innovative conservation initiatives and inspiring our associates and guests to support these efforts.”

Because they are small items, the control of where plastic straws ends up is difficult.  While it can take up to 500 years for a plastic straw to decompose, biodegradable straws are 100% compostable, taking 9-12 weeks to compost. And they are not just waste: they can be reused to feed plants as they’re naturally organic.

“The use of biodegradable and compostable straws will go a long way towards saving the environment and protecting ocean life. Protea Hotels by Marriott is the first in Africa to move away from plastic straws. We are really pleased to introduce this change and we trust our guests will continue to walk with us in this journey of putting our environment first,” says Heiden.  While the new straws are more costly than the plastic ones, Protea Hotels by Marriott has chosen to go this route so that it can make a significant impact on the reduction of plastic waste.

“The bio straw we have selected is 8mm in thickness, which is larger than our current straws.  As such, it allows for a range of uses, including being both a straw and a swizzle stick.  We have decided on green straws to give a natural feel and look. The straw is made of polylactic acid (PLA), which is essentially starch from mealie cobs and other plant sources. We may introduce other variants in the future”, adds Heiden.

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Businesses by their very nature do impact society and the environment.  How they choose to do so can be crucially important, as the example of Protea Hotels by Marriott demonstrates.