As global warming continues to be a hot-button issue socially and politically, the hotel industry has been looking for ways to reduce its carbon footprint. Over the years, travelers might have noticed changes like those little signs to incentivize less frequent sheet and towel changes, while others have added room sensors to turn the power off when you leave. But one luxury chain announced it has a new way to be more eco-friendly: ditching mini toiletries.
Last week, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced that it would stop the distribution “bathroom miniatures” in all of its hotels in 2021. Given the parent company owns brands like Holiday Inn, Kimpton and more, the result would be 843,000 mini toiletry-free guest rooms and a reduction of about 200 million mini-bathroom products annually. The decision is an effort to reduce the use of plastics.
“It’s more important than ever that companies challenge themselves to operate responsibly – we know it’s what our guests, owners, colleagues, investors, and suppliers rightly expect,” Barr said in a statement. “Switching to larger-size amenities across more than 5,600 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.”
The company also promised to remove plastic straws from all hotels by the end of 2019 and started using recycled duvets and pillows. Using such products equals another reduction of 150 plastic bottles per guest room, according to the company.
While IHG is the latest major hotel chain to make such a change, they’re not the first. In 2018, Marriott started using toiletries dispensers at 1,500 North American hotels, and Hilton Hotels started using recycled soap. It could also become law soon in California. There’s a proposed bill that bans plastic bottles in all hotels located there, and it would be enacted in 2023.
So, what will you get instead of those travel-sized bottles? IHG will use refillable dispensers that are either mounted to the wall or freestanding, like what you’d see in a gym or public bathroom. Bonus: you won’t run out of product after a couple of uses.