More companies say they're ditching straws

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 7 February 2018

Increasing numbers of businesses say they’ll be removing plastic drinking straws from their operation as efforts to #STOPtheplastictide are stepped up.


It’s a great start to reducing our plastic output on the marine environment and as more and more venues stop handing out straws this movement really has the ability to create a huge difference.

Laura Parry,
MCS Clean Seas Team

Marriott International, London City Airport and Eurostar are among the latest companies to say they’ll no longer offer plastic straws to customers.

They join chains including All Bar One, JD Wetherspoon, Costa Coffee, Pizza Express and Wagamama in phasing out the throwaway items from their venues, with many offering papers alternatives.

Iceland has ended sales of own-brand plastic straws while organisations as varied as the Scotch Whisky Association and the Natural History Museum have also rejected their use.

The latest MCS Great British Beach Clean revealed rising levels of throwaway food and drink utensils including cutlery, trays and straws - up almost a quarter (23%) in a year.

Dr Laura Foster, MCS Head of Clean Seas, said: “We’ve found thousands of straws at our beach cleans, and millions of people have seen film footage of the harm they do to wildlife such as marine turtles.”

“For an item we often use for just a few minutes – that’s even less time than a single-use carrier bag – plastic straws really do suck, so it’s really exciting to see businesses switching away from plastic straws,” added Laura Parry from the MCS Clean Seas team.

“It’s a great start to reducing our plastic output on the marine environment and as more and more venues stop handing out straws this movement really has the ability to create a huge difference. Wagamama for instance will now be stopping up to 2.5 million plastic straws reaching landfill each year (and that’s just from their London venues) through their decision to no longer serve plastic straws to customers. The only question now is….who’s next?”

London City Airport becomes the first UK airport to place an outright ban on handing out straws across the outlets on its premises. It says biodegradable version will be available on request. Last year, City Airport outlets handed out approximately 100,000 plastic straws.

The airport’s environmental compliance executive, Lewis Chenery, said: “We are pleased to see plastic straws depart from London City Airport, joining a range of waste management initiatives that we already implement as a zero-landfill company.”

Announcing the plans to remove plastic straws from its operations, Marriott International’s Michel Miserez said: “Our UK hotels used 300,000 straws last year. By removing plastic straws from our hotels in the UK we are making a small but significant step in playing our part in reducing the volume of plastic that damages our environment and wildlife.”

MCS Senior Pollution Campaign Officer, Emma Cunningham, says the charity is urging businesses to ditch the straw, and to join the MCS call to #STOPtheplastictide.

“We can help businesses make the switch in the right direction We’ve made it really easy to get involved with a handy pack containing everything businesses, big or small, need to make the switch to being plastic free. FAQs for staff and fantastic graphics to help you get the word out to customers. This is an easy change to make.”

To find out more about our straw free business pack, email Laura Parry.

MCS is currently calling on UK governments to put a charge on single-use plastic throwaway items and demanding that big fast food chains stop giving out millions of plastic cups, stirrers, straws and cutlery but instead replace them with reusable or fully compostable alternatives.

Actions you can take

  1. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2019
  2. Help us stop the plastic tide
  3. Refuse straws at your local restaurant/bar
  4. Share #stopsucking
  5. Download straw graphic for cafe/bar counter
  6. Download our straw poster

Did you know?…

Over time, one plastic bottle bobbing along in the ocean can break down in to hundreds of tiny plastic pieces

UK Seas provide us with resources from fish to renewable marine energy

Every day millions of microplastics enter the sea from personal care products such as scrubs and toothpastes