The statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse welcomes guests to Disneyland. Picture: 123RF/ IDEALPHOTOGRAPHER
The statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse welcomes guests to Disneyland. Picture: 123RF/ IDEALPHOTOGRAPHER

Paris — Disneyland Paris has announced measures to make Europe’s biggest private tourist attraction more environmentally friendly, including banning plastic straws.

The theme park, east of the French capital, which draws 15 million visitors a year, is like a small town in its own right, produced 19 tonnes of waste in 2018.

It recycles paper, glass and 18 other types of materials accounting for about half of all its waste, a level it aims to increase to 60% in 2020, Nicole Ouimet-Herter, the park’s environment manager, said on Monday.

Starting on Thursday it will ban plastic straws, to be replaced with fully biodegradable paper versions given to patrons on request only.

The announcement comes after a European Parliament vote in March to ban single-use plastic products such as straws, cutlery and cotton buds from 2021.

There is mounting pressure on companies and citizens to wean themselves off the plastics blamed for clogging oceans.

Disneyland Paris, owned by The Walt Disney Company, also announced several other initiatives to clean up its act.

Next week, shops in the park will stop handing out free plastic bags, offering instead the option of buying bags made of 80% recycled plastic for €1 or €2. 

And starting in June several of the park’s hotels will no longer stock bathrooms with small bottles of shower gel or shampoo, replacing them with bigger ones that can be refilled.

Euro Disney, the park’s operator, said it was also planning to install solar panels on the sprawling 22-square-kilometre site to get more power from renewables.

Renewable energy sources account for only 10% of the electricity used.

“We are undertaking concrete actions to reduce our impact on the environment. But we also have the power to dazzle children and want to have a positive influence on them to encourage them to take care of nature,” said Mireille Smeets, Euro Disney’s director of corporate social responsibility.

AFP