Hyatt joins Starbucks, other companies in eliminating plastic straws

Hyatt Hotels is joining the growing count of companies and government entities moving to eliminate plastic straws in favor of ocean-friendlier alternatives.

Starting in September, hotel visitors will have to request single-use plastic straw and drink picks, while eco-friendly alternatives will be provided where available, Hyatt said Monday in a news release. 

The move by the Chicago-based company, which operates some 700 hotels in more than 50 countries, comes as Starbucks announced Monday that it would get rid of plastic straws from all its 28,000 global locations by 2020.

Other companies are also taking action. Royal Caribbean said last month that its 50 cruise ships would no longer carry plastic straws starting in 2019, with SeaWorld and Ikea also vowing to eliminate plastic. The moves were made only weeks after a pilot whale that died off the coast of Thailand was found with 17 pounds of plastic bags in its stomach. Another Seattle-based company, Alaska Airlines, in May said it would use compostable stir straws and citrus picks on its flights. 

Cities around the world are joining in the campaign as well. Seattle, where Starbucks in based, last week became the first U.S. metropolis to ban plastic drink straws and utensils, and similar proposals are under consideration in New York and San Francisco. A ban on plastic straws took effect in in February on Florida's Fort Meyers Beach.

Vancouver has said it would ban plastic straws, foam cups and containers by June 2019, and Scotland also plans to get rid of plastic straws as soon next year. Taiwan is banning single-use plastic products, including straws and shopping bags, by 2030. Britain plans to ban plastic straws and cotton swabs as soon as 2019.

McDonald's, on the other hand, is trying out paper straws in the U.K., but shareholders at the fast-food chain's annual meeting in May rejected a proposal to study a ban in the U.S.