MGM Resorts Phasing Out Plastic Straws

As we all know, plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose and is not always recycled. Some of our plastics end up in the ocean, where they cannot decompose and only break down into microplastics. Animals mistake it for food and ingest it, and many of those animals die. Single-use plastics are currently the target to reduce the world’s plastic pollution, and plastic straws are under attack. Many hotels and resorts are no longer offering plastic straws and offer eco-friendly alternatives instead.

MGM Resorts Cutting Back Plastic

MGM Resorts International consists of a string of hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada (including Aria, Mandalay Bay, and Bellagio) and other locations worldwide. The company uses about 250,000 plastic straws per day at their locations, which adds up to around 100 million straws annually. The world consumes about 500 million straws a day and about 175 billion a year. Though these resorts only make up a small percentage of plastic straw usage, they are taking the initiative to reduce their numbers.

Calling it the Straw Reduction Initiative, MGM Resorts are phasing out plastic straws. It is not an overnight purging of the single-use product, but a gradual cutting back. Plastic straws will no longer be given out with drinks and will only be available upon request. This includes the hotels as well as the nightclubs, entertainment venues, and restaurants operated by MGM Resorts. Plastic straws will still be available for to-go cups and frozen drinks. Both Aria and Mandalay Bay started this initiative last Tuesday.

Is It for the Money?

Initial comments to the Las Vegas Review Journal claimed that the move was only for monetary purposes, even though the company stated their intent to help the environment. It is not a bad motivator though. What a great incentive to know that they can save money as well as reduce their contribution to plastic pollution! An elimination of any amount of waste is a positive change.

Other Companies Introduce Alternatives to Plastic Straws 

Going with no straw completely eliminates any sort of waste, but there are so many alternatives to plastic straws. National Geographic published an article about the countless companies striving to reduce plastic pollution through banning plastic straws. For their guests who still prefer straws or need them (due to sensitive teeth or gums), they provide many alternatives. These range from paper, to uncooked pasta, to bamboo, and to actual straw.

They specifically pointed out the product FinalStraw, which is currently gathering funds and supporters on Kickstarter. This product is made from stainless steel and food-grade silicone and is collapsible. It even comes with a specially made squeegee for cleaning. It comes in a case to attach to your keychain, which means you will always have a straw on you so you do not have to use a plastic straw again. The creators of the FinalStraw estimate that just one of their products will save 584 plastic straws from polluting the environment.

Conclusion

Even though many companies are starting to phase out plastic straws, you can phase them out of your life much sooner. Investing in alternatives will instantly save hundreds of straws from going to landfills and oceans.

Image Source: Pixabay

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Lacey Jolley
 

I love exploring, experiencing new places, and eating good food! I'm amazed every day at how well the Earth provides for us, and I want to return the favor. I hope to help others learn how we can make our world a better, cleaner place.

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