I love when I go to to Springhills Suites or Fairfield Inn and see them using recyclable plates and occasionally utinsils. Most seem to use Styrofoam, sadly. I know there is a difference in cost, but I'd be more than happy to pay several dollars a night if it mean all that Styrofoam wasn't going into the landfills. Not only does it pollute long term, Styrofoam plates and cups also leach chemicals into hot foods--think about your waffles and coffee full of toxic gunk. Whenever I stay at a ShS or FI, I see bags and bags of trash go out in the morning which is just making a big toxic mess out in somebody's backyard. I'd love to see Marriott get greener in this area. It can be done and we'd all benefit.
I tend to agree with you that more could be done in area of their environmental management. As customers we don't see everything, but the only area of environmental management planning that I see is "the hang the towels if you want to re-use." which saves them tons of money. There is a false assumption that environmental management costs more, in some cases it saves and in some cases it is cost neutral.
I did not know that Styrofoam posed a health hazard. Is that really true? I know that within its chemical structure there are toxins that are bonded in like most products we use. But can these really escape into food?
My understanding is that they are especially bad with hot food. Here's a nice 1 page document from Harvard that sums it up better than I did. At the end it talks about toxins leaching into food. A quick google search also suggest that it's not a good idea to eat hot foods off of it. It's always made me uncomfortable to eat out of to-go containers made out of styrofoam. In general, I just find it all a tawdry waste. If we are gong to eat off of a plate once, then toss it, surely they could at least be ones that could be recycled or that will biodegrade.