Don’t get me started on the topic of plastic straws! Yes, I’m talking about that little plastic tube that gets used for an average of 10 minutes, but, because it is not recyclable, takes 100 years to decompose in the environment. In the meantime, it ends up in the stomachs of sea turtles and other marine creatures.
As it does decompose and turn into microplastic, it even gets into our own digestive systems.
Did you know that every day in the U.S. alone, consumers use an estimated 500 million straws – enough to circle the planet 2.5 times?
So I rejoiced, and not quietly, when ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa on Captiva Island made the announcement. It will be discontinuing the use of plastic straws at its Oasis Bar & Grill in the weeks to come. (Plastic straws distributed at outdoor venues increase the likelihood and quickness with which the light straws get blown into waterways.)
“I think it is the right decision given the local ecosystem and our relationship with it,” said ‘Tween Waters General Manager Brett Gooch.
Bravo, Mr. Gooch! Let’s hope other Captiva Island establishments follow suit.
The outdoors plastic straw ban will add to a long list of measures ‘Tween Waters quietly has put into place to save the environment over the years.
Take its cool pools. They get cooled in the summer and heated in the winter using geothermal technology. For more than seven years, the resort has been employing this green system to keep the pools a consistent temperature of 84 to 86 degrees.
Like many resorts these days, ‘Tween Waters encourages guests to reuse bath towels and bed linens to reduce the resort’s carbon footprint. But ‘Tween Waters took it a step more committed via its luxury towel program.
The theory behind it? Buy plusher, bigger, more absorbent towels and you will diminish the need to a) provide guests with fresh towels daily, and b) buy new towels as often.
To further reduce the use and disposal of plastics into the environment, ‘Tween Waters introduced its Tervis Tumbler program. The resort sells a logo version of the definitive Florida brand of insulated drink ware, which recycles broken and damaged products to make new tumblers.
Buy one for $19.95 and get your 16-ounce frozen drink for free. Furthermore, bartenders at any property bar will make your drinks in your new Tervis instead of plastic to-go cups, thereby reducing waste.
Finally, ‘Tween Waters does its part, and then some, to protect the rampant wildlife that Sanibel and Captiva islands are famous for. Beyond requiring lights off for sea turtles this time of year, when they are nesting and hatching, it protects the manatees that love to congregate in the harbor with signage commanding boaters to cut their engines as they enter.
Kayak and canoe eco-tours teach guests about the manatees, birds, and other native creatures, many of them threatened or endangered.
The islands claim nearly 250 species of birds, and flocks of them frequent the marina and beaches of ‘Tween Waters. The resort has provided nesting poles for ospreys, whose shrill whistle, for many returning guests, sounds like a welcome-back call to this place so in sync with nature.