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Public Domain Pictures / Circe Denyer

Compostable straws arrive at Tui’s hotels

More than 35 of the tour operator’s RIU resorts in Spain and Portugal will initially implement the scheme.

Starting this month, more than 35 of the tour operator Tui’s RIU hotels and resorts in Spain and Portugal will be using straws that decompose, along with organic waste.

Next month this will include Cape Verde, with hotels in the Americas to follow in 2019.

The complete replacement of all of the previous materials by these more sustainable products has the goal of reducing CO2, eliminating waste and protecting the environment.

In Spain each year, an estimated five billion straws are used, while across the world this figure rises to one billion every day. Despite seeming harmless and even decorative in cocktails and drinks, they are considered to be a major source of marine litter, accounting for 4% of the eight million tonnes of plastic waste worldwide.

100% biodegradable
The new compostable straws, which can already be found at hotels in the Canary Islands, Andalusia, the Algarve, Madeira, Sal Island and Boavista in Cape Verde, are 100% biodegradable. They break down in contact with other organic waste, turning into compost or fertiliser.

Decomposition time varies depending on the humidity and temperature, but under normal conditions it takes place in 40 days and without leaving visible or toxic waste behind. An ordinary straw, by contrast, takes 300 years to decompose.

Additionally, Tui says that the use of recycling containers is being promoted, and the bar and restaurant staff have been told that the straws should be put in the organic waste container for later composting.

The European Commission recently announced an aim to ban by 2021 a range of plastic items, including straws and single-use cutlery and plates. The government of the Balearic Islands has also presented a draft law on waste prevention to eliminate single-use plastic articles, which could come into force on 1 January 2020.

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