Disney parks have always strived to be uniquely friendly to the environment, with an increasing commitment to solar energy and a strong recycling program. However, several days ago Disney made some big strides towards increasing their environmental protection programs even more by announcing some big initiatives coming next year that will change a lot of things at the park. Unfortunately, there is a bit of a catch here, but we'll talk about that later...

Disney is planning to drastically reduce the use of disposable plastics at its parksBloody Mary

Image: Disney

The Walt Disney Company announced an ambitious plan just a few days ago that aims to eliminate several sources of waste in the parks, with a focus on plastics. The biggest part of this initiative will be the complete removal of single-use plastic straws and plastic stirrers at all Disney owned and operated parks across the globe by mid-2019. According to Disney, this effort will lead to a reduction of more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually, which will make a huge difference in the amount of waste produced by the parks. 

In addition to the straw ban, Disney also announced that they plan to start using refillable in-room amenities in hotels, which means things like plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles will be replaced by large tubs mounted to bathroom walls that can be refilled by housekeeping services. Though some disposable items will remain, Disney has said that their goal is to reduce disposable plastics in guest rooms by 80 percent.

Epcot souvenirs

Finally, Disney has announced that they will be trying to curb plastic shopping bag usage at the theme parks. However, this will require some cooperation from guests, as they will now have the option to purchase reusable bags at a nominal price. If plenty of guests opt for this choice, Disney will be able to reduce waste in this way too, but it may be difficult to convince guests to abandon the "free" option (which happens to also be waterproof), for something that not only costs more, but also might get soggy in the Florida rain. 

Though the bag reduction may not be as successful as the other initiatives, it really looks like Disney is serious about getting rid of plastics in their parks, which is certainly an admirable goal. However, there's one thing that we just can't help noticing....


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