Wimbledon announces ban on plastic straws for 2018 championship

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) has announced it will use recyclable paper straws for the 2018 Wimbledon tournament, in a bid to prevent more than 400,000 plastic straws going to landfill.

The Wimbledon chief executive, Richard Lewis, said at a press conference on Tuesday that recycling point signage at the event would also be improved in a bid to further reduce the amount of waste generated going to landfill, which stood at just 1.4% in 2017.

An average of 320,000 glasses of Pimm’s are served up with straws annually at the two-week event, in addition to 330,000 cups of tea and coffee and 230,000 bottles of water.

The announcement from AELTC comes as part of a wider sustainability plan for Wimbledon, which also details the provision of a recyclable paper bag option for merchandise bought at shops during the two-week event. These bags will eventually replace existing multi-use, oxo-degradable plastic bags which are being phased out.

In a bid to cut the number of plastic bottles used by spectators, 87 water re-fill points and 21 water fountains will be available for use at the event. This represents a 93% increase in water points from 2014.

Additionally, the event will be adding electric cars to its courtesy car fleet for the first time with the addition of ten Jaguar vehicles.

Wimbledon’s pledge builds on last week’s news that the Premier League will strive to eliminate all single-use plastics from its operations and supply chains in the next two years as part of its partnership with Sky.

Sky will work with the Premier League to help educate young fans on the harm that single-use plastics can cause to environmental ecosystems, with the Premier League Primary Stars programme set to discuss the issue in 15,000 schools.

New straws please

Outside of the sporting sector, AccorHotels has today (2 May) announced plans to eliminate plastic straws from restaurants, bars and cafes in its 125 hotels by June 2018. The company joins hoteliers such as Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, in banning the products.

AccorHotels’ vice president for food and beverage, Shane Munro, commented: “The recent public attention on the impact of single-use plastic on the environment has clearly demonstrated the importance of this issue and our shared responsibility to minimise its usage.”

Several big-name hospitality and food service industry chains including JD Wetherspoon, McDonald’s, Costa Coffee, Pizza Express, Waitrose and All Bar One have started phasing out plastic straws in the past year, in addition to Heathrow Airport and London City Airport.

Sarah George 

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