No more plastic straws at this Tokyo hotel!

If you’ve ever been to Japan, you know that they have an obsession with plastic. Walk into a convenience store or a grocery store, and we’ll bet that you’ll see individually plastic-wrapped fruit and sandwiches put into a plastic bag for you upon purchase– don’t forget, you’ll most likely also get a plastic oshibori (wet tissue) too. At this point, we think it’s less an obsession and more an addiction– addicted to the highest sanitary standards that most other countries don’t have or addicted to the sleek design of their products wrapped in plastic. Either way, we understand their use, but toning it down isn’t so bad either, you know, for the environment.

(Image from scmp)

Finally listening to the cries of the public for no plastic bags for a pen at the convenience stores, The Capitol Hotel has decided to unveil their plans to ditch plastic straws and trial new wooden straws at their hotel’s restaurant. Starting in January, the plastic straw will be banned in all dining facilities and bar, eventually being cleared from the devilish plastic tube by next April. In efforts to reduce plastic pollution, The Capitol Hotel (owned by the Tokyu Company) will partner with the wooden house-builder Aqurahome to create these wooden straws that will also be disposable after single-use. Made by curling thinly sliced domestic plantation timbers from forest thinning operations, these straws hope to improve people’s understanding of sustainable forestry, the positives of thinning forestation operations, and marine pollution.

(Image from Tokyu Hotels Japan)

Of course, plastic straws are much cheaper than wooden straws, but the hotel hopes that the cost will balance out as more places adopt the environmentally friendly wood-straw. This might not sound like it will make much difference, but this small step might eventually domino into a giant leap for Japan, giving us hope that many institutions will follow The Capitol Hotel’s lead. We have seen already that Starbucks and Walt Disney are stepping up their game to ditch plastic for the same cause, so convenient stores– the next step is yours!

(Image from Wired)

(Sources: SCMP, Japan Today)

Elise Meng