Hotel chains phase out single-use plastic

Your days of stealing tiny bottles of shampoo from hotel rooms are numbered. Marriott International has become the latest big hotel chain to announce that it is phasing out single-use plastic toiletries in all of its more than 7,000 hotels and replacing them with larger pump-top bottles.

The larger bottles hold as much product as 10 to 12 of the smaller single-use ones, and are recyclable. The smaller bottles were generally not recycled, and tended to end up in the trash. The move is expected to prevent half a billion tiny bottles from going to landfills each year and reduce the company’s use of plastic in its amenities by 30 per cent.

The chain began switching to larger toiletry bottles in several of its hotel brands in early 2018, and it says the feedback from guests in the 1,000 hotels that have already made the transition has been overwhelmingly positive. The rest of the chain is expected to complete the switch by December 2020.

“Our guests are looking to us to make changes that will create a meaningful difference for the environment while not sacrificing the quality service and experience they expect from our hotels,” says Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International.

Marriott is the second major hotel chain to shift away from single-use toiletries. InterContinental Hotels Group, which includes the Holiday Inn brand, also plans to introduce bulk-size toiletries in all of its 5,600 hotels by 2021, diverting 200 million plastic bottles from landfills each year.

“We’re passionate about sustainability and we’ll continue to explore ways to make a positive difference to the environment and our local communities,” says Keith Barr, CEO of IHG.

Miniature shampoo and conditioner bottles are not the only plastic waste that hotels are targeting. Both Marriott and IHG, along with several other chains including Hilton, have phased out plastic straws and stirrers, replacing them with more environmentally friendly options — though plastic ones are usually still available on demand for those who need them. Hilton has also removed plastic water bottles from its conference rooms, saving an estimated 20 million water bottles annually. The luxury Edition Hotels chain has eliminated all single-use plastic, replacing plastic water bottles in its rooms and gyms with cans, and providing drinking fountains and stainless steel bottles for staff. It has also removed plastic products from its mini bars and provides guests with bamboo toothbrushes.

With initiatives to reduce plastic waste spreading across the hospitality industry, your next vacation has the possibility of being the most environmentally friendly one yet.