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Your days of sipping a cocktail on the beach with a straw may be numbered. As environmental consciousness continues to spread around the globe, a variety of hotels around Mexico have upped their efforts to better protect the environment. And eliminating plastic straws — which can take hundreds of years to biodegrade — is one of the most noticeable ways they’re doing it.
Among the hotel companies with a Mexico presence that are involved in the effort to eliminate the use of plastic straws are Royalton Luxury Resorts, which aims to remove the item from all properties as of October; and Marriott International, which strives to banish straws at its properties worldwide by next July. Velas Resorts eliminated all plastic straws this past summer.
Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya has come up with a creative substitute for the old drinking device. The property recently launched a partnership with Mexico-based bioplastics company Biofase so that it could replace all plastic straws with avocado-seed straws, which degrade in less than 240 days.
Plastic straws are just one eco-unfriendly item slated to disappear from some of Mexico’s resort hotels, however. Iberostar Playa Mita, which has received the Green Globe certification, aims to eliminate all single-use plastics by the end of 2019, and it will also start replacing plastic bags — which are sometimes used for slippers, clothing and minibar items — with bags made from less impactful materials.
Various properties follow guidelines from organizations that specialize in corporate practices that protect the environment. Las Brisas Ixtapa, for example, works with the EarthCheck environmental sustainability program for a variety of efforts, including discouraging the use of plastic straws.
Velas Resorts, meanwhile, has received Gold Status with EarthCheck, for its wide-ranging approach to sustainability and green practices, with a policy of using biodegradable products for cleaning and maintenance. Solar panels on Velas roofs provide energy for guestrooms, and the company donates raw food waste daily to farmers. Additionally, as the company was building its newest property, Grand Velas Los Cabos, it moved several hundred trees and cacti to a new location rather than destroying them.
Fairmont Mayakoba is another hotel that made a concerted effort to conserve local flora and fauna during its construction; it relocated some 1,500 trees and 40 species of animals to safer spots. Today, the property sources many products from local Maya communities, and it receives fruit and vegetable deliveries in reusable plastic containers.
El Cid Resorts, which recently received the GreenLeaders certification from TripAdvisor for its green practices, also maintains an ongoing “tree and plant” program, through which the company replants any trees that need to be removed from its properties. At the company’s newest property, Ventus at Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort, only 26 percent of the property is used for resort structures and amenities; the remaining 74 percent is reserved for nature, wildlife conservation and composting.
In addition, Tesla recently chose El Cid to host the first location in Mazatlan for its destination charging stations.
Water — and how it’s consumed — is also a focal point for some hoteliers. Andaz Mayakoba recently installed six water stations around the beach to encourage the use of refillable containers and plans to eliminate plastic water bottles from guestrooms. The property has also replaced paper napkins with cloth napkins in all restaurants.
Royalton Luxury Resorts, meanwhile, is introducing new water filtration systems and also leads monthly beach cleanups and other eco-friendly guest experiences.
Guests can receive tips on how to travel greener when they visit Grand Residences Riviera Cancun. Together with tour operator Tulaka Diving, the property offers recommendations such as using biodegradable sunscreen to reduce the negative impact on local reefs.