Single-use plastics are so ubiquitous in our world that it is often hard to realize how much plastic we use each day. For example, the small single-use soaps and shampoos used at hotels are a huge source of plastic waste that is rarely considered. Luckily, some hotels are taking it upon themselves to phase out this wasteful use of plastic.
In recent years, some smaller specialty hotels have started using larger pump-topped bottles instead of the single-use miniatures, and now the world’s largest hotel chain is following suit.
This week, Marriott International announced that they will be getting rid of the miniature toiletry bottles in their hotels, and replacing them with larger, reusable containers. The change will be made to the hotel chain’s 7,000 properties by December of next year.
When fully implemented, Marriott International’s expanded toiletry program is expected to prevent about 500 million tiny bottles annually from going to landfills; that’s about 1.7 million pounds of plastic, a 30% annual reduction from current amenity plastic usage. #Serve360 pic.twitter.com/PQAUdV6Rx8
— Marriott International (@MarriottIntl) August 28, 2019
In a statement announcing the move, Marriott’s chief executive, Arne Sorenson, estimated that the company will reduce its plastic waste by roughly 1.7 million pounds of plastic each year.
“This is our second global initiative aimed at reducing single-use plastics in just over a year, which underscores how important we believe it is to continuously find ways to reduce our hotels’ environmental impact. It’s a huge priority for us. 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,” the statement read, according to the Washington Post.
The company has been testing out the larger, reusable bottles at some of their luxury branded hotels since 2018, such as the Sheraton, Westin, and Ritz-Carlton. Thus far, it is estimated that at least 1,000 of Marriott’s hotels are now using the more eco-friendly bottles, and there have been no complaints from customers.
Marriott also announced a variety of other product changes that they hope will reduce waste, which includes switching away from plastic straws and stirrers. According to the statement released this week, the company hopes to reduce its waste by 45% in the next 5 years.
Marriott is replacing travel-sized tubes of shampoo, conditioner and bath gel with larger bottles in an attempt to reduce plastic waste. The change will affect roughly 500,000 guest rooms at most of its 7,000 hotels around the world by December 2020. https://t.co/KjM3F54OfC pic.twitter.com/RJokzvnK3a
— CNN (@CNN) August 30, 2019
Other large international hotel corporations are experimenting with similar changes, including InterContinental Hotels Group, Hyatt, and Walt Disney resorts.
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According to an Ellen MacArthur Foundation report that we have referenced numerous times in the past, there will be more plastics in the ocean than there are fish by the year 2050 if the current rate of plastic pollution continues. Scientists estimate that plastic takes over 400 years to decompose, and that about 8.8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the world’s oceans every year.
Earlier this year, Truth Theory reported on a disturbing study which found that we are absorbing tens of thousands of plastic particles each year, just in the food we eat and the air that we breathe. It was also noted in the study, that drinking a lot of bottled water can nearly double the presence of toxins in our bodies.