Two Hawaii hotels get rid of plastic straws to try and fight ocean pollution

Biodegradable paper straws have replaced plastic ones at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the island of Hawaii in a move to try and cut back on ocean pollution.
(Hilton Waikoloa Village)

Plastic drinking straws could soon disappear from drinks in the Aloha State. As the Hawaii Legislature considers a ban on such straws, two hotels have voluntarily stopped providing the potential pollutants.

California also has a bill in its Legislature that would outlaw use of plastic straws unless they are requested.

Hilton Waikoloa Village
Dolphins and employees at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the island of Hawaii mark the "last straw" campaign. Hilton Waikoloa Village

At The Modern Honolulu on Oahu and Hilton Waikoloa Village on the island of Hawaii, paper has replaced plastic. Late last month at the Hilton property, employees and dolphins from the resort’s Dolphin Quest teamed up to celebrate “the last straw.”

An Ocean Conservancy report last year noted that plastic straws are one of the top 10 items collected along the world’s shorelines. The authors of Hawaii Senate Bill SB2285 notes that Americans use 500 million straws each day. According to the bill, that is enough “to circle the earth two and a half times.”

Biodegradable paper straws are now available at the Honolulu and Waikoloa hotels, but only when guests specifically request them.

The Modern Honolulu
In an effort to reduce pollution, drinks at The Modern Honolulu no longer are served with plastic straws. The cocktails include Don't Skip a Beat, which features freshly squeezed beets and bourbon. The Modern Honolulu

Officials at The Modern Honolulu said they used more than 612,000 plastic straws last year. In an email, a spokesperson said employees tested the paper replacements and found that they last in drinks for about an hour and a half.

The Modern Honolulu
At The Modern Honolulu, a woman getting a pedicure holds a healthy drink with a paper straw. The Modern Honolulu

A handful of smaller businesses have also joined the paper-not-plastic straw campaign.

In California, Malibu, which had already banned plastic cups and utensils, recently added plastic straws to the list. Other communities in the state, such as Davis and San Luis Obispo, enacted similar measures.

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