Delaware North this week announced a commitment to reduce plastic waste by scaling back its use of straws at the company’s 200-plus dining locations at 23 airports and travel hubs across the United States. Dubbed “The Last Straw” campaign, the initiative will seek to curb excess plastic waste by offering drinking straws on a request-only basis.

Buffalo-area news outlets took notice of the effort, with coverage including The Buffalo News, Buffalo Business First, WKBW (ABC) and popular blog

Informational material regarding The Last Straw campaign has been placed in eateries throughout Delaware North’s travel business.

“Plastic waste is a well-known problem when it comes to environmental pollution, with more than 80 percent of the harmful debris found in our oceans coming from plastic products,” said Deb Friedel, Delaware North’s director of sustainability. “It’s estimated that more than 500 million straws are used and discarded every day in the United States, many of which end up in landfills and waterways.

“Skipping a straw is a small and easy step that can have a ripple effect — we hope this campaign continues to catch on and change the way we think about waste and its impact on the environment.”

Using Earth Day (April 22) as a launch date, Delaware North hopes to sustain The Last Straw campaign and cut down on the estimated 8.1 million plastic drinking straws the company served in drinks to guests at airport dining locations in 2017.

While the initiative is being adopted first by Delaware North’s travel business, it is expected to spread to the company’s other operating subsidiaries as part of its proprietary environmental stewardship program, GreenPath®. In fact, several Delaware North Sportservice locations are joining the campaign this weekend, including Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, SunTrust Park in Atlanta, Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago and KeyBank Center in Buffalo. Delaware North Sportservice teams at Target Field in Minneapolis, Globe Life Park in Arlington (Texas) and AutoZone Park in Memphis already employ the request-only policy for straws; and similar efforts are taking place within Delaware North’s parks and resorts business.

“As a company with a global footprint, it’s important that we take steps to minimize our impact on the environment,” said Kevin Kelly, president of Delaware North’s travel business. “Plastic waste is being addressed at many levels, including with legislation in several states and municipalities, so we want to be part of that movement and find solutions in our operations to help cut back on waste and improve our environment.”