Singapore

Over 270 food outlets to stop giving out plastic straws from July 1

More than 270 food and beverage (F&B) outlets will stop providing plastic straws from July 1, in a major step to reduce plastic waste in the local F&B sector.

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 in a statement yesterday.

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, eight Nando's restaurants and 15 F&B outlets of Spa Esprit Group, including Tiong Bahru Bakery, are among the businesses that will stop giving out straws.

The move is part of a voluntary WWF initiative called Plastic Action (Pact), where businesses commit to reduce the amount of unnecessary plastics used. Pact is supported by the National Environment Agency and Zero Waste SG.

Mr Kim Stengert, WWF Singapore's chief of strategic communication and external relations, said the move sends "a strong signal that businesses are starting to take responsibility for the plastics that they use... We encourage more brands to join the effort".

Mr Kevin Bossino, vice-president of operations for AccorHotels Singapore, said people today are much more environmentally aware and quite appreciative of companies making a genuine effort to limit their environmental footprint.

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.

By 2050, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight, and this could have potential implications on human health, the WWF said.

It added that micro plastics have been found in the gut of one out of four fish and in tap water samples.

The move to reduce plastic straw usage here is part of a broader drive worldwide to cut down on plastics and reduce wastage.

In Singapore, fast-food chain KFC has stopped providing plastic straws and lids for drinks across its 84 outlets.

Dining establishments at Resorts World Sentosa also stopped giving out plastic straws from last October.

Environment