LAS VEGAS - MGM Resorts International announced that single-use plastic straws will only be served upon request at company operated restaurants in the U.S. As one of the world's top five largest non-chain restaurant operators in the world, MGM Resorts and its employees understand their responsibility in protecting our planet and helping reduce their carbon footprint. This initiative, which began rolling out in May 2018, aims to eventually remove more than 250,000 straws a day from landfills and waterways - that's 100 million straws each year.
"MGM is one of the largest multi-concept restaurant operators in the world. As such, it is our responsibility to do our part to help eliminate debris from landfills and waterways," said Cindy Ortega, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, MGM Resorts International. "The elimination of plastic straws is the latest addition to MGM's comprehensive environmental responsibility program and can further enhance our efforts to protect our planet."
Straws are one of the most common littered items in the U.S., and single-use plastic straws contribute to the rubbish floating in our oceans, severely affecting wildlife. Eight million metric tons of plastic winds up in the oceans each year, and in 2017 plastic straws were the 11th most found ocean trash. One plastic drinking straw can take up to 200 years to breakdown in the environment. MGM Resorts International owns 19 resorts across the U.S. including three on major waterways—The Borgata, N.J.; National Harbor, M.D. and Beau Rivage, M.S. MGM Resorts believes by working together and reducing plastic straw use, the company can have a positive impact on the environment and oceans.
Both single use plastic "stir straws" and drinking straws have been removed from casino floors, buffets, cafes, bars and lounges as well as dining outlets. Straws will still be available to customers upon request.
"We began the pilot program here in Las Vegas in the beginning of May at ARIA and Mandalay Bay," said Timothy Ryan, Vice President Food and Beverage Strategy, MGM Resorts International. "The response from customers has been so positive we have decided to quickly train our employees at all our U.S. resorts to stop automatically serving single use straws."