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At IHG, it’s the last straw for, well, straws.

Late last week, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced a new eco-friendly plan to remove plastic straws from all properties worldwide by 2019. The company has already started the initiative and has removed the straws from nearly 1,000 IHG hotels in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

A ban on the single-use plastic straws across the 5,400 IHG-branded hotels will eliminate approximately 50 million plastic straws each year. The straws removed annually, laid end-to-end, would stretch for some 6,500 miles (approximately the distance from New York City to Tokyo). As an alternative, the hotel group plans to offer biodegradable straws.

“IHG is in almost 100 countries … This gives us a responsibility to protect the environment and an opportunity to make a real difference,” IHG CEO Keith Barr said in a statement. “There is always more we can do to minimize waste, but the work we’re doing to reduce single-use plastic is a powerful example of how we can come together with guests, owners and colleagues to drive positive change.”

Plastic straws are not the only single-use plastic amenity the company intends on tackling. IHG will move away from miniature, personal bathroom amenities that utilize single-use plastic bottles. Instead, bulk-size and refillable bathroom amenities will appear across several brands throughout the US.

Though EVEN Hotels and Avid Hotels have featured ensuite, bulk-size amenities since they were launched, Kimpton Hotels started to roll them out last year and Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites will increase their use of the large dispensers.

IHG is hardly the first major travel brand to ban single-use plastic straws. Marriott announced a similar strategy back in July with the same focus on banning straws and eliminating single-use toiletry bottles by the end of 2019. American Airlines and Alaska Airlines are the most recent airlines to join a number of other travel companies that have implemented various plastic reducing initiatives.

Featured photo by Getty Images

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