As from today, TUI Group’s biggest hotel brand RIU will be offering its customers compostable straw at its hotels in Spain and Portugal as well as in Cape Verde a month later. Likewise, RIU is planning to incorporate them into its hotels in America as of 2019. The initiative includes the total substitution of all of the previous material by more sustainable products with the goal of helping to reduce CO2, eliminate waste and protect the environment. Straws are considered to be the main source of marine litter, accounting for 4% of the eight million tonnes of plastic waste worldwide.
The new straws are 100% biodegradable and also compostable. Therefore, they break down in contact with the rest of the organic waste, turning into compost. The decomposition time varies depending on the humidity and temperature, but under normal conditions it takes place in 40 days and without leaving visible or toxic waste behind. In comparison an ordinary straw takes 300 years to decompose.
Conscious use of straws
To promote good use and reduce straw consumption in the bars and restaurants of its hotels, the compostable straws are only provided when a guest explicitly asks for one, except with some cocktails where they are necessary for drinking. Additionally, the use of recycling containers is being promoted. The bar and restaurant staff has been informed that the straws should be put in the organic waste container for later composting.
With this initiative, RIU is not only supporting TUI Group’s sustainability strategy, but is also moving ahead of the plan presented by the European Commission this week to ban by 2021 a range of plastic items. The proposal includes straws and single-use cutlery as well as plates and must be accepted by the European Parliament and the EU governments. In addition, the government of the Balearic Islands has also presented a draft law on Waste Prevention to eliminate single-use plastic articles and which could come into force on 1 January 2020. That would be when distribution and sale of plastic beverage straws, among other containers made of the same material, would be prohibited.