Following the trend of environmental conversation that many restaurants and food-chains have pioneered, Disney is joining the cause along with SeaWorld Entertainment, in banning plastic straws and plastic stirrers.
SeaWorld Entertainment, which is comprised of 12 theme parks including Busch Gardens and Sea World, announced in June it would be making the move to remove all single-use straws and plastic bags. So far the initiative has been successful and all harmful plastics have been removed. At SeaWorld parks, visitors will now receive paper straws or can buy reusable plastic straws for their drinks at various food stands. In June, CEO John T. Reilly said in a statement, "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."
Today, in a Disney Parks Blog post penned by Dr. Mark Penning, the Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, wrote that Disney by mid-2019 would be "eliminating single-use plastic straws and plastic stirrers at all owned and operated locations across the globe, amounting to a reduction of more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually." Disney, however, isn't stopping at theme park changes. Penning also wrote that Disney plans to move to refillable plastic amenities in their hotels and cruise ships to eliminate waste. Plus, Disney is also working to reduce the number of plastic shopping bags in parks and on cruise lines, hoping to have guests purchase reusable bags at a nominal price.
Disney and SeaWorld Entertainment join other major companies like Starbucks, Hyatt and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in their plastic straw bans. The Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, estimates that 8 million metric tons of plastics end up in the ocean every year.