(RTTNews.com) - InterContinental Hotels Group plc (IHG, IHG.L) said it will remove plastic straws from its global estate by the end of 2019, representing more than 5,400 hotels in nearly 100 countries.
According to the UK-based company, it has already removed plastic straws from nearly 1,000 hotels in its Europe, Middle East, Asia & Africa or EMEAA region.
It will also introduce bulk-size bathroom amenities to several hotel brands in the Americas, as part of its broader efforts to reduce waste.
The company's decision to remove plastic straws from its global estate will eliminate an average of 50 million single-use plastic straws from more than 5,400 IHG-branded hotels annually.
"Laid end-to-end, the straws we remove would span some 10,500 kilometres - stretching from New York to Tokyo," IHG noted.
The company will implement the removal of plastic drinking straws through a global brand standard and will make biodegradable alternatives available.
Keith Barr, CEO of IHG said, "IHG is in almost 100 countries and we touch the lives of millions of people each day. This gives us a responsibility to protect the environment and an opportunity to make a real difference."
In addition, IHG will introduce bulk-size bathroom amenities across several brands in its Americas region. The company's Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites will increase their adoption of larger-size dispensers.
IHG's Even Hotels and Avid hotels brands have included bulk-size amenities since they were launched, while Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants started to roll them out last year.
Plastic straws have ended up creating environmental problems as they are too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycling sorters.
Most of the plastic straws end up in the oceans, polluting the water and killing marine life, according to the Strawless Ocean campaign. An estimated 71 percent of seabirds and 30 percent turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs.
Several other major companies, including Walt Disney, Marriott International, Starbucks, McDonald's and Royal Caribbean Cruises have said they plan to eliminate plastic straws at their locations by next year and 2020.
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