Last year, Marriott International announced that it would eliminate single-use plastic toiletries bottles in a portion of its properties, and now that initiative is going global.
With more than 7000 properties across 30 brands worldwide, Marriott hosts around a million guests per night. Yes, hotels often reuse those tiny bottles, and yes, some guests take them home to recycle, but still, that’s a lot of plastic to be potentially hitting the landfill. Both environmentally and economically, larger pump-topped bottles are a better bet, and the company hopes to have them installed in most of its properties by December 2020.
The wall-mounted bottles hold the equivalent of ten to 12 single-use bottles, and they can be recycled without much trouble. Marriott estimates that the program will prevent some 500 million bottles—that’s about 1.7 million pounds of plastic—from going to the dump each year.
“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,” Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International, said in a press release. “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.”
When it was launched in January 2018, the plan only affected some 450 hotels, but today that number hovers around a thousand—more than 20% of the chain’s 7000-plus properties. Aloft Hotels, Element by Westin, Four Points, and Moxy Hotels have already made the switch, and under the new policy, five additional brands will follow suit: Courtyard by Marriott, SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn, Fairfield by Marriott, and TownePlace Suites.
In April, news broke that California was considering a state-wide ban on mini-toiletries, and in May, the InterContinental Hotel Group also announced a new initiative. (At that point, Kimpton was already using large bottles.) Of course, this is all part of a larger conversation around sustainability, as bans on single-use plastics like bags and straws pop up from coast to coast, and climate-change activists find creative alternatives to transoceanic flights.