Plastic Hotel Toiletries

Major Hotel Chains Are Getting Rid Of Single-Use Plastic Toiletries

It’s difficult to comprehend how large of an issue climate change actually is. It can be even more difficult to figure out ways in which we can combat it. Especially now, when so much extensive damage has already been done to our planet, its wildlife, and the many ecosystems within it, it’s hard to tell how we can fix something that’s practically shattered. Systematic change is the main goal but until then, on an individual level, we all can reduce our plastic use and carbon footprint, and most of us do. Now we need the larger corporations, who are actually contributing the most to global warming, to step up to the plate. 

The hotel industry is not typically the first thing that comes to mind when we think of systems that can make a change to reverse the damage that’s been done to our planet. However, Accor Hotels, a global chain that owns 40 different hotel brands such as Fairmont and Ibis, has made a commitment to eliminate all travel-size toiletries from its rooms. 

Embed from Getty Images

The initiative is a part of Accor’s much larger environmental campaign in which they’re aiming to get rid of all single-use plastic items in their properties. Think about it, unless completely unused, those mini bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body-wash, soap, shaving cream, etc. needs to be replaced every time a new guest checks into a particular room. In Accor’s official statement they claimed they’d be removing all of these products from their 5,000 properties; of which there are over 340,000 guest rooms which equates to over 1 million bottles of toiletries being used on a given day.  

Accor is replacing the plastic toiletries with either wall dispensers or glass, bulk-sized toiletries by the end of the year. The chain is also replacing a number of common hotel items usually made from plastic, including key-cards, laundry bags and cups, with materials made from relevant alternatives,” according to Accor’s statement.

Accor claimed that before this, their company would use more than 200 million single-use plastic products annually, a staggering number that even they were surprised by. They also predict all of their hotel properties will be fully transitioned by 2022, but they’ve already begun implementing the newer and more sustainable options. 

Embed from Getty Images

Ibis Hotels have locations all across the globe, and they made their own statement claiming that thanks to Accor’s new policy they’ve already switched from single-use plastic toiletries to reusable soap dispenser mechanisms in over 2,000 of their locations, and that’s just one of Accor’s 40 different branches. 

Additionally, Accor claims that most of their hotels have already eliminated plastic straws and drink stirrers; the only remaining locations who have yet to do so are in China but they’re on track to do so by the end of March 2020. China itself recently announced that the entire country is planning to ban all single-use plastic by 2025, hence the delay in Accor’s hotels as they need to wait for the government policies to go into effect more than anything.

Accor is not the only hotel conglomerate that understands the impending doom climate change has created. Holiday Inn, Marriott, Hyatt, and Hilton Hotels are some of the biggest hotel chains on the planet, and they all announced similar initiatives to Accor within the past year.

Marriott announced their plan to get rid of all of their plastic toiletries by December 2020, and are expecting to reduce their overall plastic use by 30%. Hilton and Hyatt Hotel locations will also be seeing a similar change, as both chains made announcements that they’d be replacing single-use toiletries with bulk-sized items. Hyatt also announced that bottled water would only ever be available upon special request, as a means of encouraging guests to bring their own reusable water bottle. 

These initiatives are a major systematic step in the right direction. We just need our world leaders to follow Accor and China’s lead in helping our planet recover what’s been lost. Banning single-use plastic won’t fix it all, it most likely won’t even come close, but it’s definitely a start.


China Wants To Ban All Single-Use Plastic By 2025

China has announced their plan to help combat the damaging effects of climate change by reducing their plastic waste as a country. One of the most harmful man-made products that’s currently killing our planet is single-use plastic. These products not only are impossible to decompose, but are the most wasteful in terms of use. Things such as the Great Pacific garbage patch and the microplastic epidemic currently taking over could’ve all been avoided had policies such as the one China is about to implement been around. 

By 2025, China is planning on reducing their single-use plastic product distribution and use greatly, starting with a ban on single-use plastic straws and bags throughout the country. Obviously, this is a major shift for such a large country, hence why the government is giving itself a 2025 goal. China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) made a statement this past Sunday (1/19) in which they claimed that certain plastics will be banned in different territories at specific times throughout the next five years to gradually phase out all single-use plastic. 

Embed from Getty Images

It’s expected that the government will start with larger metropolitan areas first and then move to banning plastics in more suburban/rural areas as time progresses. It’s much easier to regulate plastic product distribution in larger cities, as most receive their shipments of single-use plastic products from the same companies, so they can collectively switch to more sustainable options. Rural areas are given more time so residential businesses can transition at their own pace. 

For example, “thin, single-use plastic bags will be banned in most stores in large cities by the end of 2020, but smaller cities and villages have until 2022 or even 2025 to begin phasing them out. By the end of 2025, hotels will no longer be allowed to provide single-use plastic items and no postal service nationwide will be allowed to use any plastic packaging,” according to the NDRC.

Embed from Getty Images

China has mapped out other plastic ban specifics in their official new policy for the next five years, including a ban on all single-use plastic cutlery within China’s catering industry by the end of 2020. The plan is to have all plastic tableware phased out of China’s restaurants by 2025, however, with the takeout industry being as huge as it is, single-use containers will only be partially phased out by the end of the five years. Plastic straws will also be banned entirely throughout the whole country by the end of the year. 

A policy as major as this one happening in a country as impactful as China is extremely important, and will hopefully set a precedent for other major countries. China alone produces up to 30% of the plastic products distributed throughout the world every year, making it the number one plastic manufacturer on the planet.

The significance of that statistic is major, for example, the Yangtze River in China carries more plastic pollution into our oceans than any other water way in the world, according to the World Economic Forum. Plastic levels in our oceans are at an all time high, with an estimated 8 million tons of it being dumped into them every year, a majority of which is coming from China. While it can be argued that the damage has already been done, at least China is leading the way on making major systematic changes to at least try and combat the harmful repercussions of humanity’s actions. 

Along with the new policy, Chinese lawmakers announced that they would be creating a new comprehensive recycling program for the entire country to abide by. This way, it’ll be easier to organize and regulate the recycling process in a country as massive as this one. China is hoping it can return its country’s health to what it once was, and hopes the rest of the world catches up with them soon. Our oceans are hoping for the same.

Plastic Cup

3,000-Year-Old Cup Proves Humans Haven’t Been Green For A Long Time

The Minoans are historically known as one of the original European civilizations; beyond that, they’re also known as one of the most innovative and advanced for their time. The Minoans were around between 1700 and 1600 BC on the island of Crete in Greece. Archaeologists have always credited the Minoans for their advancements in technology, and now, they discovered a 3,600 year old cup that they believe to have been the first evidence of disposable utensil technology. The cup was discovered to be fully intact, and through further inspection, archaeologists believe it was meant to be thrown out after one use. Throughout the past few years, thousands of these disposable cups have been discovered throughout the island. Experts believe they were most likely used to hold wine, based on the aging and shape. Now, the most recent discovery will be on display at the British Museum in London as the first evidence of disposable dishware. 

“People may be very surprised to know that disposable, single-use cups are not the invention of our modern consumerist society, but in fact can be traced back thousands of years. Three and a half thousand years ago, the Minoans were using them for a very similar reason to us today: to serve drinks at parties. The only difference is the material. People were getting together in large groups and much like today, nobody wants to do the washing-up,” Julia Farley, a curator at the British Museum.

Embed from Getty Images

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attends “Cooking Like Minoans”

Farley went on to explain that the specific museum display that the cup will be a part of is titled “Rubbish And Us.” The exhibit plans to show multiple examples of single-use products from the past into today. The items from the past are meant to show the unexpected strength and endurance the original materials that disposable products were made with have. One of the other most notable items that is set to be on display is a waxed paper cup, that originally was made for serving hot beverages on flights, from the 1990’s.

A major aspect of this display is also to raise awareness over how, even in 1700 BC, these materials were so tough to break down, that they just sit in the Earth and further contribute to pollution. Single-use products in general, but plastic especially, are one of the leading causes of litter and pollution on land and in our oceans today. With this new evidence, it’s clear that this has also been an issue since the dawn of modern civilization.

Embed from Getty Images

“With ceramics being a higher status material to us now, it seems strange to throw them away after just one use. But like plastic today, clay was readily available, cheap to acquire, easy to mold. But also like plastic, clay stays in the ground for many, many years,” Farley stated.

Currently, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is almost two times the size of Texas when combined, more than 400 million pieces of plastic were recently discovered on a remote group of islands off the coast of India, and we ingest thousands of microplastic particles every day when we use these single use products. These issues only scratch the surface when it comes to damage induced by litter that plagues our natural world and remains stagnant and intact for years and years.

The exhibit is meant to be completely educational, as it is intriguing. The fact that scientists have discovered that even 3,000 years ago humans wanted an easy solution to their dinnerware needs is truly an amazing discovery, and it gives us a greater insight into just how advanced humanity was at the time. The “Rubbish And Us” exhibit at the museum will be opening on December 19th, and will be displayed until February 23rd. So if you’re in the London area and want to learn more about the initial use of disposables in modern society, be sure to go check it out!

Ice Cream

Owner Of Ben & Jerry’s and Dove Pledge To Be Plastic Free By 2025

Unilever, the parent brand that’s responsible for making Ben & Jerry’s and Dove products, is taking action to help combat climate change, and make their brand a little greener. The company announced this week that they’re pledging to reduce their annual plastic use by half within the next coming years. 

In 2018, the company used around 772,000 tons of plastic, according to CNN, and by 2025 they plan to use no more than 386,000 tons. The company plans on accomplishing this massive goal by incorporating more reusable and refillable packaging into their products, and taking advantage of recycled materials to use as well. Additionally, they hope to adopt more “naked” packaging, meaning unwrapped without any plastic at all. Incorporating these new methods and transitioning from their current production system to adapt to this more Eco-friendly one will take time, hence the 2025 estimation. 

Embed from Getty Images

“There is a lot of plastic pollution in the environment, and the fact of the matter is too much of it carries our name. This problem demands a fundamental rethink in our company’s approach to packaging and products. It requires us to introduce new and innovative materials, and scale up new business models, like reuse and refill formats, at an unprecedented speed and intensity,” Unilever CEO Alan Jope said in a statement. 

According to CNN, Unilever’s products are used in over 190 countries by 2.5 billion people daily! Think of the environmental impact it would have if all those people began using products made from recycled materials with little to no waste. This move is part of the company’s ongoing effort to make their products more green, they’ve already began selling ice cream bars wrapped in non-plastic packaging, and has transitioned a lot of their cleaning products to be distributed in reusable bottles so customers can buy the cleaning solutions in bulk, and refill their containers. Unilever is also one of the first major companies to become a part of a service known as Loop, that is taking the green product market by storm. 

Embed from Getty Images

“Loop is a new way to shop, offering about 300 items — from Tide detergent to Pantene shampoo, Häagen-Dazs ice cream to Crest mouthwash — all in reusable packaging. After using the products, customers put the empty containers in a Loop tote on their doorstep. The containers are then picked up by a delivery service, cleaned and refilled, and shipped out to consumers again. In other words, it’s the 21st century milk man — here to save the world from single-use plastics,” according to CNN

Consumers and administrators of Unilever alike have all recently begun to notice how much single-use plastic is being used worldwide, and how much it’s contributing to the deterioration of our planet. Plastic is projected to outnumber fish in the world’s oceans by 2050, according to CNN, and the plastic that doesn’t end up in the ocean piles up in landfills, emitting greenhouse gases and further contributing to climate change. So, in an effort to combat that prediction Unilever has committed to making all the plastic it uses for its products completely reusable, refillable, recyclable, and compostable by 2025. It hopes that all products used with recycled plastic will make up about 25% of its inventories. To accomplish that 25%, Unilever plans on collecting and processing more plastic that they can recycle and reuse. The company plans on investing more in waste collection processes and expanding the amount of products it distributes through the Loop program. Hopefully more companies take note of Unilever’s massive contribution to the environment with this set plan, and join them on the journey to save our planet.

Reusable Straws

Reusable Straws Are Just A Baby Step To Actually Resolving Climate Change

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is “calling the whole thing a sideshow meant to distract from the larger issue of overhauling the energy industry and forcing corporations to reduce emissions.”