In Industry First, IHG to Phase Out Plastic Toiletry Bottles From All 17 of Its Hotel Brands
Could mini shampoo bottles be the next target in the war on plastic pollution?
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which owns the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza chains, announced Tuesday it would phase out travel-sized plastic toiletry bottles from its 843,000 rooms, replacing them with bulk gels, shampoos and conditioners by 2021, CNN Business reported.
"It's more important than ever that companies challenge themselves to operate responsibly," IHG CEO Keith Barr said in the announcement. "We know it's what our guests, owners, colleagues, investors and suppliers rightly expect. Switching to larger-size 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 as we make the change."
As part of our ongoing efforts to reduce plastic waste, we’re delighted to announce that every IHG hotel worldwide will switch to bulk-size bathroom amenities – replacing miniatures. Good things come in big packages… #truehospitality https://t.co/7ROtM4YyvA pic.twitter.com/jzUhPG0zFY— IHG (@IHGCorporate) July 30, 2019
"This, to me, was the next logical step," Barr told The New York Times.
The hotel group has already made the switch in nearly one third of its hotels, Barr said in the announcement. And, while it is the first hotel group to institute a ban across all 17 of its brands, other hotels have taken steps in a similar direction. Marriott announced in 2018 it would use bulk soaps and shampoos in 1,500 North American hotels, and Hilton said in March it was recycling used soap into new bars, CNN reported.
Such initiatives may not be optional in the future. California is considering a bill that would make it illegal for hotels to offer small plastic bottles beginning in 2023, according to The New York Times. But replacing personal bottles with bulk dispensers can also have economic benefits for hotels.
"Budget hotels have always been more likely to have bulk shampoo and conditioner dispensers in the shower, and some also have them by the sink. The reason is cost," Atmosphere Research Group President and travel industry expert Henry H. Harteveldt told The New York Times. "It costs them less to install and service these bulk dispensers than providing individual cakes of soap and bottles of shampoo, conditioner and the like."
The news comes amidst growing concern about the impact of plastic waste on marine life. One million birds and more than 100,000 marine mammals die each year because of the approximately eight million metric tons of plastic that enter the world's oceans each year. And a study released this month found that seabirds who don't die from eating plastic are still smaller and less healthy because of their artificial diet.
Despite these concerns, plastic use is projected to increase this decade, CBS reported.
By Jessica Corbett
A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."
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Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
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An extremely rare North Atlantic right whale calf was found dead off the North Carolina coast on Friday.
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