From Starbucks to IKEA, major corporations and businesses are opting to ditch plastic straws from their day-to-day operations. The hospitality industry is no different. Marriott, the largest hotel chain in the world with over 6,500 properties, fully committed to completely remove disposable single-use plastic straws from their properties and replace them effectively with paper straws in all of the hotels starting July 2019. This will amount to a reduction of over one billion plastic straws – a huge number that certainly will make a significant impact on the eco-consciousness of the hospitality industry.
Plastic straws are destroying the ocean and marine life. It’s estimated that Americans use over 500 million plastic straws every day, and most of them end up in the oceans, polluting the water, and killing marine creatures.
In 2015 a video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nostril went viral on YouTube. It is not only sea turtles that are affected–seals, sea lions, seabirds, fish, whales, and dolphins are all at risk as a result of plastic pollution in oceans.
As plastic straws are designed to be extremely durable, they don’t biodegrade. While they may only be used for five minutes or so, it takes nearly 500 years to decompose the plastic and make them disappear. Scientists in a recent World Economic Forum report predicted that if people continue to use single-use plastics at this rate, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.
Photo credit: @pressandchill
At Kohler, we also actively reduce plastic, specifically plastic straws, in accordance with our thoughtful decisions for the environment. Acting responsibly is in our DNA when it comes to sustainability and environmental preservation. The team at the newly opened Press + Chill juicer and food bar at Destination Kohler in Wisconsin, U.S.A., is committed to serving customers only paper straws instead of plastic straws to directly contribute to eco-friendly trends and help save sea life.
We don’t stop at straws, though. It is our objective to heavily contribute to reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals specifically Goals 6, 7 and 12 set out to save and better the world we live in. Every day, our associates work on innovative solutions that help alleviate some of these pressing global issues. Just three years ago we developed the KOHLER® Clarity® water filtration system, a simple water purification solution which can provide up to 40 liters of drinkable water per day, to help build better lives and reduce the struggle to access clean water in rural areas around the world.
In addition, in early 2019 our first tile collection produced from industrial waste was presented at KBIS. We reuse, rethink and repurpose materials from waste streams to create beautiful and thoughtful products. The KOHLER WasteLAB™ tiles are made from pottery dry culls, spent foundry sands, waste glaze enamel powders and foundry dust.
Just as Marriott does, we care for the world we live in and strive to contribute to sustainable solutions. Sometimes this means to look at product developments and ideas outside of the traditional development process. The results are astounding and the smiles that they bring to peoples’ faces even more so.