Loews Chicago Hotel does away with plastic straws

Visitors to Loews Chicago Hotel's ETA Restaurant + Bar will be going without plastic straws Aug. 1. Photo credit: Loews Hotels

Plastic straws are on their way out, with Loews Chicago Hotel joining Shedd Aquarium’s “Shedd The Straw” initiative to reduce the use of single-use plastic straws throughout the hotel. Loews Chicago Hotel is the first Loews property to join the initiative aimed at reducing single-use plastic straws in order to reduce waste and improve marine and freshwater ecosystems.

Beginning Aug. 1, beverages served throughout the hotel, including Streeterville Social, ETA Restaurant + Bar, The Lobby Bar, banquets and in-room dining will not automatically be served with plastic straws. Guests will be provided with biodegradable straws upon request.

The initiative is designed to help protect water systems and the animals that live in them by highlighting the dangers single-use plastic straws pose to aquatic life. Each year approximately 11 million pounds of plastic enters Lake Michigan alone—equivalent to 100 Olympic-sized swimming pools—and plastic straws are one of the top 10 plastic items that end up polluting our oceans, lakes and rivers.

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“As part of our Good Neighbor Program, we are proud to partner with Shedd Aquarium on their ‘Shedd The Straw’ initiative to reduce waste and help protect aquatic ecosystems,” Christian Hansen, managing director, Loews Chicago Hotel, said in a statement. “With our hotel located just blocks from Lake Michigan, we are excited to make this change that will help make a difference both near and far. We are honored to be the first hotel to partner with Shedd Aquarium to reduce our single-use plastic straws throughout our hotel, and hope we can help to continue the conversation on this topic to better our environment.”

Loews is one of several hotel companies working to eliminate plastic straw use, with Marriott International announcing a similar companywide initiative earlier this month. Plastic straws do not biodegrade naturally in the environment and are nearly impossible to recycle. That means nearly every plastic straw ever used on the planet still exists, although they may have broken down into smaller pieces of plastic. By eliminating plastic straws, Loews Chicago Hotel expects to keep more than 155,000 plastic straws from being used per year. Because most straw-users trash their plastic straws when done, that means every straw saved will not end up in the trash, where they often escape trash receptacles and are flushed into our waterways. A biodegradable straw will be provided to guests, upon request, including to children and those with disabilities who may require a straw to eat or drink.

“We are excited to work with our partners at Loews Chicago Hotel to find innovative ways to reduce single-use plastics and commend them for helping us highlight how small changes like ‘Shedding the Straw’ can have a positive impact for the health of our lakes, rivers and oceans,” Cheryl Mell, SVP of conservation partnerships at Shedd Aquarium, said in a statement. “Small actions can turn into big solutions, and we look forward to being a resource and working together to inspire action to reduce our plastic footprint.”

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