If the opportunity to collect mini bottled shampoos and lotions from your hotel room is your favorite thing about checking in, you're going to have to find a new travel hobby — perhaps one that's a bit more eco-friendly. If you haven't received the memo, single use plastics are out. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), the hotel group behind brands like Holiday Inn, Kimpton Hotels, and Crowne Plaza, amongst others, is the first hotel company to ban mini plastic toiletry bottles. This rule will apply to all 5,600 hotel locations and brands under the IHG umbrella around the world: All properties will be officially getting rid of their single use plastic toiletries, and replacing them with more sustainable bulk dispensers.
The change is already underway, and, according to a press release IHG pledged to have officially switched over 843,000 guests rooms to bulk toiletries by 2021. This move, they reported, will do away with the 200 million bathroom miniatures that hotel group was supplying annually. In addition to eradicating single use plastics in the bathrooms, IHG has already banished plastic straws from their hotels (officially as of 2019), switched to textile providers that have duvets made with 100 percent recycled materials, and connected with sustainability programs that help them to reduce their food waste and undergo renovations with the environment in mind. (FYI, they've lowered their food waste by 30 percent, a testament to how well these programs can work when the company is committed to real change.)
With an increase in hotels guests who are sustainably motivated and an increase in global awareness regarding climate change and the profound dangers of sending waste to landfills, I personally hope we see more and more of these big businesses and major conglomerates stepping up and pledging to reduce their carbon footprint and make big changes.
As a single person, it can sometimes seem futile to carry around a metal straw and bring a canvas tote to the grocery store — and while you know it's the right thing to do, it can feel like it's not enough to make a difference. This can be discouraging. But, when you have global companies stepping up and making changes that will affect millions, it makes that individual effort feel more profound.
The more we support and praise companies that make these changes, the more we inspire and encourage other companies to do the same. Can you imagine how much less plastic we'd be sending to landfills if every hotel stopped relying on single use plastics? If every restaurant banned plastic straws? And, equally as important, if every hotel guest was made aware of the dangers of single-use plastic, and was inspired to make greener, more sustainable choices in their every day life because the companies they love and trust set that as a standard?
While there are still so many global adjustments to be made and solutions to be found, this is definitely a step in the right direction — and hopefully, we can look forward to seeing more hotels present sustainable solutions.
And let's be real, you don't end up using those mini toiletries as much as you think you will — check out your bathroom sink cabinet for proof if you don't believe me.