SINGAPORE - In a major step to cut plastic waste in the local food and beverage (F&B) sector, some 270 F&B outlets will stop providing plastic straws from July 1.
The outlets, owned by 31 companies, will provide straws to customers only on request or for specific medical reasons, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said on Monday (June 3).
They include all 53 restaurants and bars in hotels under the Accor Group, such as Raffles, Fairmont and Swissotel The Stamford, as well as the 24 F&B outlets in the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari and Jurong Bird Park.
Twenty-four PastaMania outlets and eight Nando's restaurants, as well as 15 F&B outlets of Spa Esprit Group, including Tiong Bahru Bakery, will also stop giving out straws.
The move is part of a WWF initiative called Plastic Action (Pact), supported by the National Environment Agency and Zero Waste SG.
Mr Kim Stengert, WWF Singapore's chief of strategic communication and external relations, said this is "a strong signal that businesses are starting to take responsibility for the plastics that they use... and we encourage more brands to join".
An estimated 2.2 million straws are used every day in Singapore, according to a 2018 report by consultancy AlphaBeta and social enterprises The Final Straw and the Cyan Project.
The WWF said that by 2050, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight. Micro plastics have been found in the gut of one out of four fish and in tap water samples. This could have potential implications on human health.
Mr Michael Issenberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Accor Asia-Pacific, said: "Our planet is literally drowning in plastic, with plastic particles now even being found in the water we drink. The time for action is now."
Last June, fast-food chain KFC stopped providing plastic straws and lids for drinks across its 84 outlets in Singapore.
Dining establishments at Resorts World Sentosa have also stopped giving out plastic straws since last October.
WWF Singapore plans to continue working with companies to find solutions on reducing plastic usage.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.