Hotels eco-friendly plan to replace plastic toiletry bottles

by | Jul 22, 2019

Environmental concerns continue to increase pressure on the hospitality industry. Customer demands are driving businesses to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. According to a global online study from Nielsen, 66% of respondents said they’re willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact, up from 55% in 2014 and 50% in 2013. Younger generations share this sentiment at an even higher rate, as almost 75% of Millennials and Gen Z said they would be willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings, up from around 50% in 2014.

To help meet this growing demand, many hotels are looking for opportunities to reduce the use of plastics and other disposables. This isn’t surprising when you consider that single-use products end up being one of the top sources of pollution in our oceans. Did you know the average time for a plastic bottle to completely degrade is at least 450 years? Currently, the hospitality industry generates about 440 billion pounds of solid waste every year, with “a great amount” of it soap and bottled amenities.

In recent months, our clients have approached us about new and alternative solutions for single-use plastic toiletry bottles. The good news is that there are many choices to choose from depending on your operations and financial objectives.

There are a plethora of all-natural skin and hair care products made right here in the UK to choose from. These products are hand-crafted by local business, however, they generally cost more and the lead time may be long. We will work with suppliers who offer upscale resorts all-natural products that are packaged in recyclable containers. But these toiletries may be cost prohibitive. Our procurement experts will work with you to understand your criteria and identify the suppliers that meet your requirements and budget.

Increasingly, mid-range to luxury properties around the globe are turning to pump dispensers to appeal to environmentally aware guests. In fact, last year IHG and Marriott International announced plans to replace mini bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash with pump style dispensers. Marriott’s initial plan included 450 hotels in North America, with plans to expand to 1,500 properties by 2019. The company hailed the move as “a win-win from a sustainability perspective, operational perspective, and financial perspective.” By implementing the pump dispensers, Marriott estimates that 10.3 million bottles or 113,000 pounds of plastic will be eliminated on an annual basis.

Replacing plastic toiletry bottles is just one approach to further reduce single-use plastic waste. Other practical ways include:

  • Procure toilet paper made from 100% recycled materials with plastic-free packaging
  • Upturn bathroom glasses – they do not need plastic wrapping
  • Offer biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes
  • Provide paper straws only when requested by hotel guests
  • Replace plastic bottles of mineral water with glass ones for guests
  • Display fruit in reusable baskets or bowls
  • Return guest laundry in baskets, rather than plastic bags
  • Avoid use of single portions of food such as butter or jam
  • Encourage suppliers to provide their goods in returnable containers

A recent YouGov survey reveals that only half of senior decision makers (52%) say their hospitality business is doing all it can to reduce its single-use plastic waste. Clearly, the potential to reduce plastic waste for hotels is huge.

If you’d like to be a leader in the industry and appeal to new customers, Enhance can help. We are currently working with clients to reduce their single-use plastic footprint and our procurement experts have established relationships with eco-friendly suppliers across the country.

Let’s have a chat and see what options will help you with your sustainability initiatives. Contact our team today.