Jenny Kane / AP
Miniature toiletries in hotel rooms can be cute and convenient to throw in your bag when packing, but they are also the source of a whole lot of plastic waste, and a large hotel group says it is phasing them out.
InterContinental Hotels Group has more than 5600 hotels worldwide, with brands including Holiday Inn, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and Kimpton Hotels & Restaurant. Overall, the company says the hotels use about 200 million small toiletries every year.
The hotels, which comprise 843,000 rooms, will all switch to large bathroom facilities by the end of 2021. According to IHG, it is "the first global hotel company to make all bathroom removals. thumbnails in favor of bulk facilities. "
IHG CEO Keith Barr told the Financial Times that the move is partly in response to government inaction. "We as an industry must lead where governments do not necessarily give leadership to make a difference," he told the newspaper.
The company said that a third of the hotels have already moved to bulk toiletries. For example, it says Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas already offers these products in "refillable ceramic dispensers."
This announcement comes as many large companies have stopped offering disposable single-use space streams. Last year, IHG said the hotels would no longer use them by the end of 2019, and rival Marriott International issued a similar announcement. Starbucks and McDonald's, in addition to many other companies and some full cities, said they switched from these straws to alternatives that are better for the environment.
In addition to trying to protect the environment, the hotel company seems to be responding to consumer demand. For example, as FT reported, "A survey conducted by Hilton last year found that one-third of customers actively researched a hotel company's environmental efforts before staying with them." Last year, the company promised to "cut the environmental footprint by half and double its investment in social impact by 2030."
In recent years, the great impact of plastic on the ocean has come into clearer focus. Whales around the world die with skinny full of plastic bags. And scientists have also researched how plastic is broken down into tiny pieces, and the tiny pieces are found in many places – such as in fish or in drinking water.
IHG is headquartered in the United Kingdom, where the BBC documentary series Blue Planet II was hugely popular and focused on the impact of plastics on the Earth's ocean. According to the broadcaster, more than 14 million people entered the first episode of the series.