Marriott, World’s Largest Hotel Chain, Will Stop Using Plastic Mini Toiletry Bottles by 2020
The announcement, made Wednesday, builds on the company’s earlier efforts to replace the smaller single-use bottles with larger pump bottles at around 1,000 North American locations.
“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,” Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson said in the announcement. “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 Marriott announcement comes about a month after the InterContinental Hotels Group, which owns the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza chains, became the first in the business to promise a full phase-out of small plastic toiletry bottles. But other major players are moving away from the mini bottles. Walt Disney Co. said it would stop using them at resorts and on cruise ships last year, and Hyatt is testing bulk soaps and shampoos at some locations, The Washington Post reported.
The Marriott first began testing larger pump bottles at select properties in January 2018. Denise Naguib, Marriott’s vice president of sustainability and supplier diversity, told The Associated Press that the change received positive feedback from guests. Many were relieved to be able to take only as much shampoo or soap as they needed.
“More and more people have a general consciousness of it,” Naguib said. “They don’t want to be leaving half-empty bottles.”
A single pump bottle holds the same amount of soap or shampoo as 10 to 12 single-use bottles, the company said. The smaller bottles are difficult to recycle and often end up in the trash. While the pump bottles will be replaced and not refilled when empty, they are much easier to recycle, Naguib told The Associated Press.
The company estimates that, when the transition is complete, it will prevent around 500 million small bottles, or 1.7 million pounds of plastic, from entering landfills every 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
Once disposed of, plastic takes around 400 years to decompose, according to The Washington Post, and around 8.8 million tons of it end up in the world’s oceans every year. There, it threatens marine life. Earlier this month, a dugong that had gained internet fame in Thailand died after eating plastic pollution.
Marriott’s crusade against mini plastic bottles is part of a larger sustainability push. It also addressed plastic by phasing out plastic straws and stirrers starting in July 2018. It met its goal a year later and estimates the new policy will now prevent one billion straws from entering landfills every year.
The company is also aiming to reduce landfill waste by 45 percent and responsibly source its top 10 product purchase categories by 2025.