Disney Plastic Straw Ban: Are Straws Really Gone for Good at Disney Parks?

The Happiest Place on Earth is making big strides to become the most eco-friendly place on Earth. Earlier this summer, Disney announced its latest environmentally-conscious plan to ban plastic straws at all of its parks, resorts, and other properties within the next year. But, are straws really gone from Disneyland and Disney World? If Mickey Mouse follows suit with other major companies — some of which Disney partners with — not exactly.

Find out more about the Disney plastic straw ban, plus how they might still use straws in the years to come, ahead.

How green is Disney?

It’s easy to look at Disneyland and Walt Disney World and assume the company’s environmental footprint is detrimental. However, that’s not entirely the case. As it turns out, Disney has had the environment on its mind since before it opened Disneyland’s gates in 1955. And while it hasn’t been the most innovative company in the eco-friendly by today’s standards, it has followed the eco-conscious trends and improved its impact over time.

One of its biggest focuses — which includes the plastic straw ban — is waste reduction. Up until now, Disney focused on fine-tuning its recycling habits in order to reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills. According to the company’s website, Disney has its eye on the long-term goals of zero waste. In addition to recycling, Disney also has compost on its mind. While the parks aren’t exactly there yet, the company makes up for it at other properties — some of which have a gold-level Zero Waste certification by the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council.

It takes a lot of energy to operate Disneyland and Walt Disney World — and the company is fully aware. With that in mind, it has made small strides towards energy-saving. In recent years, Walt Disney World’s Illuminations: Reflections of Earth added eco-friendly lasers to the attraction. According to the company, the switch saves the park around 64,000 watts each show.

Disney takes its efforts abroad

Disney also does a good job overseas at Disneyland Paris and Shanghai Disney Resort. In France, the theme park focuses on food waste and water conservation with specific programs in place to improve both. Leftover food goes through biomethanation before going into an organic soil. The Parisian park also has a special wastewater treatment plan in place and, according to some 2014 reports, was able to save 53 million gallons of water in one year alone. In Shanghai, a resourceful energy technology is used to recycle energy for heating and cooling the resort. Having a setup like that can reduce up to 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

Disney plastic straw ban

Disney is constantly looking for ways to improve itself — especially when the environment is concerned. This year, it joined other big companies in a major push to get rid of plastic straws and stirrers. The plastic straw concern continues to grow and put pressure on companies to get rid of them. Rather than wait for backlash, Disney was proactive in seeing how the movement aligned with its overall mission. The company announced earlier this year that plastic straws and stirrers would be no more starting in 2019.

“Eliminating plastic straws and other plastic items are meaningful steps in our long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship. These new global efforts help reduce our environmental footprint, and advance our long-term sustainability goals,” Bob Chapek, Chairman of Disney Parks said in a statement.

Are straws really gone from Disney parks?

The parks won’t have plastic straws on hand anymore, but straws are probably not gone for good. Similar to Starbucks — which has locations in California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and Walt Disney World — the park might introduce sippy cup-type lids that allow guests to sip drinks without a straw. In addition, Disney might offer paper straws at various concession stands for guests that prefer them.

Another way Disney might capitalize on the plastic straw ban is through merchandise. It is also likely the parks could sell reusable metal straws (with Disney branding, of course) at stores throughout the park. It could also offer free refills or a drink deals for guests that buy a Disney-branded reusable cup — although those are just our predictions.

If guests are concerned about straws at Disneyland or Walt Disney World, they can also purchase metal straws online and carry them into the park for all their hydrating needs.

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