Delaware North is setting out to curb the use of plastic straws at its 200+ dining locations (at 23 airports and travel hubs across the US). The enviro-campaign is being dubbed “The Last Straw”. The company will no longer include straws with beverages that it serves. Moving forward, customers will have to ask for straws.
“Plastic waste is a well-known problem when it comes to environmental pollution, with more than 80 percent of the harmful debris found in our oceans coming from plastic products,” said Deb Friedel, Delaware North’s director of sustainability. “It’s estimated that more than 500 million straws are used and discarded every day in the United States, many of which end up in landfills and waterways. Skipping a straw is a small and easy step that can have a ripple effect – we hope this campaign continues to catch on and change the way we think about waste and its impact on the environment.”
The company will be launching the initiative on Earth Day 2018. In 2017, Delaware North doled out 8.1 million plastic drinking straws at its airport locations (390,000 plastic straws at their dining locations at Buffalo Niagara Int’l Airport). The company will begin implementing the changes within its travel subsidiary, but will eventually enact similar policies throughout its operating subsidiaries as part of its proprietary environmental stewardship program, GreenPath®.
“As a company with a global footprint, it’s important that we take steps to minimize our impact on the environment,” said Kevin Kelly, president of Delaware North’s travel business. “Plastic waste is being addressed at many levels, including with legislation in several states and municipalities, so we want to be part of that movement and find solutions in our operations to help cut back on waste and improve our environment.”
Along with curbing plastic waste, GreenPath® also sets environmental standards for the company on other fronts, including energy and water consumption, and waste management. This is great news – to see a company with such a huge economic footprint retool its environmental policies is very refreshing. Hopefully it will help to set a precedent for others to jump on the environmental band wagon.