Big is better: hotel chains banning miniature toiletries

Big is better: hotel chains banning miniature toiletries

Let’s face it, we’ve all done it – or at least been hugely tempted to: sneaking those handy little toiletries into our suitcase as we check out from a hotel room.

But not only is it wrong from a moral point of view – some using plain English would go as far as saying it’s theft – it’s also a crime against the planet….taking a hard, if not impossible, to recycle plastic bottle, probably sending it to landfill shortly after arriving home and leaving the hotel to replace it at a price not just on their bottom line but also to the environment.

And so it was with great pleasure that we read recently about one of the world’s biggest hotel chains, InterContinental, ditching the small bottles in favour of bulk-size toiletries housed in ceramic refillable containers.

The owner of Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and InterContinental brands announced that around 843,000 of its hotel guest rooms will replace the mini versions of shampoo, conditioner and body-wash by the end of 2021.

Keith Barr, CEO InterContinental Hotels Group, ‘Switching to larger size amenities across more than 5,000 hotels around the world is a big step in the right direction and will allow us to significantly reduce our waste footprint and environmental impact as we make the change.’

Last year IHG said it would eliminate plastic straws by the end of 2019 as it unveiled plans to reduce its carbon footprint by 6-7% per room by 2020 in light of figures revealing an estimated 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year.

IHG are trying to be proactive and set themselves apart from other hotels which we applaud. They admit to using around 200m bathroom miniatures every year, equivalent to about one million kilos of plastic.

Our clients know we pride ourselves on helping hotels and other companies boost their green credentials through sourcing environmentally friendly construction and energy schemes and embedding sustainability at the heart of every business decision. 

We congratulated Marriott when they started phasing out miniature toiletries from rooms in their hotels worldwide. So far they have been scrapped at 1,500 of their hotels. Marriott says the average hotel used more than 23,000 small bottles a year, but the ban has cut out the use of 10.4m plastic bottles, equivalent to more than 51,000kg of plastic annually…hugely impressive figures we would encourage other hotel companies to consider.

The tide is turning on plastic with the international community happy to ride the wave of pollution-busting measures to save our seas and wildlife – with all the associated health and climate benefits that brings.

So we would urge all hotel owners and developers to capitalise on the public mood and act now to buy bulk and remove all temptation from hotel rooms, especially as the discerning traveller is now rating a hotel experience as much on its sustainability efforts as its room service – and standard of free toiletries.

As lawmakers in California consider banning toiletries in bottles 340ml or under at hotels and guest houses from 2023, with a fine of up to $2,000 (£1,650) for those that do not comply, let the hotel industry lead the way – leaving guests with just the problem of how to pack smuggle out the fluffy dressing gowns when they check out.                            “dev���;mm

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