Conference Aston - The Final Straw pic.jpg

Birmingham’s largest residential conferencing venue, has served its final plastic straw after vowing to remove all single-use plastic food and drink packaging across its hotel and meeting suites.

The venue has swapped plastic straws for sustainable, biodegradable paper alternatives, and only glass bottles and canned drinks are served at the bar. In the restaurant, disposable food packaging for things like butter, jam and other condiments is also being removed while in the hotel, water stations are provided instead of plastic bottled water.

Plant-based disposable cardboard cups and takeaway breakfast boxes are also being introduced into the business for customers while plastic pens have been replaced with pencils in the meeting suites.

“Plastic pollution is  a major issue that is causing significant damage to our environment, wildlife and marine-life,” said Samantha Brown, Head of Conference Aston.

“It takes up to 200 years for a single plastic straw to decompose and, like many hospitality businesses, we were using hundreds of single-use plastic straws every year - the maths speaks for itself.

“As an eco-friendly business with over 50,000 guests through our doors each year, we feel it is important to join the plastic-free movement and do what we can to help reduce the devastating impact that the excessive use of plastic is causing.”

The decision to limit its single-use plastic marks the latest step in Conference Aston’s ongoing drive to reduce its carbon footprint and cut waste, in line with the venue’s ISO 14001 environmental accreditation.

Over the years the business has introduced a number of environmentally-friendly practices - including replacing traditional lighting with LEDs equipped with sensors, reducing electricity consumption through more efficient building management systems and improved business planning, installing water-saving shower heads in all 163 hotel rooms, limiting waste paper and offering electric vehicle charging points outside both conference centres.

The venue also has an in-house ‘green wall’ to communicate its environmental targets and achievements to visitors and staff, and it is also working with its waste management company to weigh the waste it produces so that it can keep track of how much waste it recycles and how much goes to landfill. The venue will then set targets to reduce their waste, where possible, on an ongoing basis.

In 2017 Conference Aston was awarded a TripAdvisor gold GreenLeader award for its commitment to environmentally-friendly practices; the hotel was the first academic venue to be awarded the ISO 14001 accreditation in 2011

“By removing single-use plastic packaging, straws and bottles at Conference Aston we have the opportunity to make a difference and reduce the volume of plastic while raising awareness of the issue at the same time,” added Samantha.

For more information about Conference Aston visit

PR by Reeves PR in Birmingham