Because plastic waste is a scourge that’s currently imperiling at least 700 species of marine animals and because first steps are usually baby ones, the Walt Disney Company announced yesterday that by mid-2019, all Disney parks will phase out single-use plastic straws and stirrers. They’ll also reduce in-room plastics by 80 percent, reduce the use of plastic shopping bags, and ditch polystyrene cups altogether.
“Eliminating plastic straws and other plastic items are meaningful steps in our long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship,” Bob Chapek, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Consumer Products said in a post on the Disney Parks blog. “These new global efforts help reduce our environmental footprint, and advance our long-term sustainability goals.”
Although the company blog post (oddly) neglected to mention what would become available in the wake of the plastic straw prohibition, many disability rights advocates predicted that Disney would follow in Starbucks’ footsteps and begin offering paper straws instead. And they were correct. A Disney spokesperson told us via email that paper straws will be available by request. Even prior to that confirmation, people were not pleased…
So @disney just announced that they're banning plastic straws. A park that is all about that accessibility and inclusivity for disabled people in other areas. Alrighty then.
— Rikki Poynter ☕️ (@rikkipoynter) July 26, 2018
Welp, I sure hope Disney has some sort of plan in place for disabled guests who need to use straws.
(And I guess I’ll be bringing straws with me everywhere.)
— Nanci (@nancipants) July 26, 2018
We followed up with the spokesperson to see whether disabled guests had been taken into account, and she replied:
“Meeting the needs of guests with disabilities is extremely important to us. We are involved in discussions to identify and develop accessible, alternative options for those who need them. Alternative straw options will be provided as necessary for our guests unable to utilize paper straws. Additionally, our Services for Guests with Disabilities team is available before and during a visit to accommodate Guests who have any specific needs.”
Presumably, plastic straws will still be available to guests who need them. According to Disney, doing away with giving single-use plastic straws for all guests will result in a reduction of 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually. The sea turtle dudes from Finding Nemo would be stoked.
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