Merlin Entertainments, the UK operator of top tourist draws such as Legoland, Madame Tussauds, and Sea Life, has pledged to phase out plastic straws at all of its owned attractions worldwide by the end of 2018.
The company, which is one of the world’s largest tourist attraction operators, announced late last week that it would only provide an alternative to plastic straws “where it is either a requirement for the product or upon visitor request at all food and beverage outlets throughout its estate”.
The firm has already eradicated plastic straws at its attractions in Australia, New Zealand, and at Chessington World of Adventures in the UK, which was one of the company’s first to remove plastic straws and plastic bags earlier this year.
In total, Merlin Entertainments operates more than 120 theme parks and tourist attractions worldwide, in addition to 18 hotels and six holiday villages across 25 countries, boasting 65 million visitors each year.
The firm said it is also more broadly reviewing single-use plastic within its operations as part of efforts to reduce unnecessary packaging and environmentally harmful products from its retail stores and beverage outlets.
As a result, single-use plastic water bottles have been removed from the company’s offices, to be replaced with water coolers or other refreshment devices, and the company has been working with its global supply chain and staff to raise awareness of plastic waste.
Coca-Cola is also introducing reverse vending machines, which enable users to deposit used plastic bottles for recycling in return for an incentive, at several Merlin attactions, it said.
Nick Varney, Merlin Entertainments CEO, said the firm was committed to reducing its impact on the planet.
“Like many of our guests, we are concerned about the negative environmental impact associated with the disposal of plastic straws and we have an even deeper reason for taking action across our business given our SEA LIFE teams champion these issues on a daily basis,” he said. “It is something we can act on immediately as we continue to assess how we minimise the use of plastics within our business.”
Source: Bussines Green