The world's largest hotel chain is checking out of the tiny toiletries game.
Marriott International announced Wednesday that miniature bottles of shampoo, conditioner and bath gel should be phased out to favor larger bottles The company estimates that by December 2020, 1.7 million pounds of plastic – or about 500 million tiny bottles – will not be released Landfills land.
"This is our second Global Initiative to Reduce Disposable Plastics in just over a year. This underlines the importance of continuously seeking ways to reduce the environmental impact of our hotels. This is a huge priority for us, "said Arne Sorenson, Chief Executive of Marriott, in a statement. "Our guests expect us to make changes that make a significant difference to the environment without compromising the quality service and experience they expect from our hotels." Where the emphasis on comfort and hygiene has long since meant that almost everything a guest needs is disposable and wrapped in plastic wrap. And even if companies do not opt for garbage reduction, some may soon be forced to do so: the California legislature is debating a bill that will prohibit hotels from using small plastic bottles for guests from 2023, and the European Union is likely to ban one The range of disposable plastic items will continue until 2021.
The Bethesda, Maryland-based company's announcement follows the announcement of competing hotel giant InterContinental Hotels Group, which took the same step in July, and other giants like Hyatt. This is the testing of mass-produced articles in certain properties. Last year, Walt Disney Co. relinquished small plastic bottles on its cruise ships and resorts.
Marriott, whose many brands include Sheraton, Westin, and Ritz-Carlton, has been testing larger bottles since January 2018. Some 1,000 Marriott hotels have changed, and guests' response has been very positive, the company said.
The decomposition of plastic takes more than 400 years and pollutes the environment, especially in view of about 8.8 million tons of plastic are thrown into the oceans every year. And while hundreds of millions of pounds of plastic are produced annually, only a small portion of it is recycled.
Marriott's abandonment of tiny toiletries contributes to the company's greater efforts to limit its impact on the environment. The company aims to reduce landfill waste by 45 percent and responsibly procure the 10 most important product categories, including guest supplies, by 2025. Last year, the company threw overboard plastic straws and stirrers – a move that Sorenson sees as a success and is expected by guests to provide support, despite unavoidable kvetching.
"Human nature is what it is, and we oppose change," Sorenson told the Associated Press. "But people understand that this is so much better."
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