In the battle against the single-use plastic war, InterContinental Hotels worldwide, is ditching its miniature toiletries. The move, which will signify a significant waste saving, will affect 843,00 hotel rooms.
The brand will replace the tiny plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body lotion with large, refillable bottles that won’t be removed by guests. InterContinental Hotels Group is the first worldwide hospitality brand to make this commitment.
The move comes as part of a series of changes regarding global sustainability. IHG are implementing the measures to halt the production and dumping of plastic and single-use plastics. By 2021, all InterContinental Hotel rooms globally will no longer offer miniature toiletry options.
Describing the move, IHG CE, Keith Barr, said more global hospitality companies needed to tackle the issue of single-use plastic waste. He explained that the carbon footprints generated by non-compliant entities were significantly damaging.
“Switching to larger 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.”
He added that the brand had already implemented many changes to reduce waste production and increase sustainability, and that they would continue to find ways to reduce their footprint as a global entity.
While it might not seem as though it’s a significant saving, the numbers are certainly impressive. Intercontinental Hotels Group has in excess of 200 million miniature toiletries being used globally, annually.
IHG has also pledged to remove all plastic straws from it’s outlets globally by 2019.
Hospitality and carbon footprints
It is hoped that the move by IHG will encourage other global and national hospitality brands to reduce the amounts of single use plastics. According to a recent survey, the UK’s hospitality industry generates a staggering 200 million tons every year.
But it’s not only plastic that ends up in landfills. A recent study by Reconomy suggested that hotels produce approximately 79,000 tons of food waste every year too.
But JD Wetherspoons, a major UK pub chain, has tackled this issue by teaming up with FareShare, a company that collects food waste and redistributes it to the homeless.
Be green in hospitality
But there are lots of different ways in which hotels globally can reduce the carbon footprint of their businesses. Cost-free options include asking the hotel guest if they want fresh towels daily, or if they are happy to hang their towels to dry, can reduce the laundry process. Reusable glass bottles of water in the rooms is another great way of saving money while reducing single-use plastic waste. Equally, swapping to energy efficient lightbulbs and pledging to use local produce to reduce transit costs reduce overall imprints.
Using solar panels and renewable energy heating systems are other ways of reducing your business carbon footprint. But these take investment, so require long-term planning to implement.
Many hotels – especially boutique properties with extensive grounds, are growing their own produce. They also have food composting policies – and use restaurant linens only once a day to cut down on laundry bills and energy usage.
Another recent study showed that, hearteningly, 70% of businesses are attempting to reduce single-use plastics. And 64% of consumers said that when given the option, they would prefer to use an environmentally sustainable service, than opt for one without waste policies – even if more effort was involved.