Recognising the environmental toll of single-use plastic, Africa’s leading hotel brand, Protea Hotels by Marriott, announced today that it will replace plastic straws with biodegradable straws in all its hotels across Sub-Saharan Africa

This eco-conscious shift will become a brand standard across all Protea Hotels by Marriott and Protea Hotels Fire & Ice! by Marriott. The brand recently introduced Vivreau Water at all Protea Hotels by Marriott to limit the use of plastic water bottles.

The announcement comes close on the heels of Marriott International’s announcement to remove disposable plastic straws and plastic stirrers from its more than 6 500 properties across 30 brands around the world. Once fully implemented, the company could eliminate the use of more than one billion plastic straws per year and about a quarter billion stirrers.

Because they are small items, the control of where plastic straws end up is difficult

Plastic waste is turning earth’s oceans into death pools. A single plastic straw – which might be used for about 15 minutes – will never fully decompose. Biodegradable straws, on the other hand, are 100% compostable, taking nine to 12 weeks to compost. And they are not just waste: they can be reused to feed plants as they are naturally organic.

Despite the biodegradable straws being a more expensive alternative, Protea Hotels by Marriott has chosen to go this route as it believes this is the right thing to do.

The bio straw selected by the brand is eight millimetres thick, which is larger than the current straws in use. This width allows for a range of uses, including being both a straw and a swizzle stick. They are green in colour to give a more natural feel and look. The straw is made of polylactic acid (PLA), which is essentially starch from mealie cobs and other plant sources.

This article was first published by All4women on 23 July 2018.