Mar­riott plans to get rid of tiny, plas­tic toiletries

The Morning Call - - BUSINESS CYCLE - By Dee-Ann Durbin

It could be lights out for tiny toiletries.

Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional, the world’s largest ho­tel chain, said Wed­nes­day that it will elim­i­nate small plas­tic bot­tles of sham­poo, con­di­tioner and bath gel from its ho­tel rooms world­wide by De­cem­ber 2020. They’ll be re­placed with larger bot­tles or wall-mounted dis­pensers, de­pend­ing on the ho­tel.

The move fol­lows a sim­i­lar an­nounce­ment last month by IHG, which owns Hol­i­day Inn, Kimp­ton and other brands. IHG said it will elim­i­nate about 200 mil­lion tiny bot­tles each year by 2021.

Last year, Walt Dis­ney Co. said it would re­place small plas­tic sham­poo bot­tles at its re­sorts and on its cruise ships. Many smaller com­pa­nies, like the five Soneva Re­sorts in Thai­land and the Mal­dives, have also ditched plas­tic bot­tles.

Mar­riott has more than 7,000 ho­tels in 131 coun­tries un­der 30 brands, rang­ing from SpringHill Suites and Res­i­dence Inn to Sher­a­ton and Ritz-Carl­ton. It says it will be elim­i­nat­ing about 500 mil­lion small bot­tles each year, or 1.7 mil­lion pounds of plas­tic.

Mar­riott has wanted to get rid of small bot­tles for years, Pres­i­dent and CEO Arne Soren­son said. There are just too many of them, he said, and they’re dif­fi­cult to re­cy­cle be­cause of the time it takes to clean them out.

But it took a lot of work to de­sign tam­per-re­sis­tant large bot­tles and get sup­pli­ers on board.

High-end ho­tels, in par­tic­u­lar, needed to have bot­tles that still felt lux­u­ri­ous, he said.

“There were a lot of tech­ni­cal fea­tures to this that we had to get right,” he said.

Ri­val Hy­att Ho­tels Corp. is go­ing through a sim­i­lar process now. The com­pany says it’s been test­ing amenity dis­pensers in some rooms for the last year.

Bethesda, Mary­land-based Mar­riott started re­plac­ing small bot­tles early last year at some North Amer­i­can brands, in­clud­ing Court­yard and Fair­field ho­tels. About 1,000 of those now fea­ture larger bot­tles or pump dis­pensers that are hooked to the shower wall.

Denise Naguib, Mar­riott’s vice pres­i­dent of sus­tain­abil­ity and sup­plier di­ver­sity, said Mar­riott got a pos­i­tive re­sponse from guest sur­veys. Many were re­lieved be­cause the larger bot­tles let them use as much or as lit­tle sham­poo as they want.

“More and more peo­ple have a gen­eral con­scious­ness of it,” she said. “They don’t want to be leav­ing half-empty bot­tles.”

Naguib said most Mar­riott ho­tels will elim­i­nate small bot­tles by July 1, 2020. Lux­ury brands will get rid of them by the end of 2020. Lower-priced brands will have dis­pensers or bot­tles that are teth­ered to the shower wall. Lux­ury brands will have un­teth­ered bot­tles. The bot­tles hold the equiv­a­lent of 10 to 12 small bot­tles, and all are tam­per re­sis­tant.

The larger bot­tles will still be plas­tic, and Mar­riott still plans to re­place them — not just re­fill them — when they run low. But Naguib said the larger bot­tles are eas­ier to re­cy­cle than smaller ones.

En­vi­ron­men­tal groups ap­plauded the moves.

“Plas­tic pol­lu­tion is an ur­gent global cri­sis and the time is now to thinkre`us­able’ in­stead of d`is­pos­able,“’ said Dianna Co­hen, co-founder and CEO of the Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia-based Plas­tic Pol­lu­tion Coali­tion.

DAN HUFF/AP

Mar­riott will use larger bot­tles or wall-mounted dis­pensers, de­pend­ing on the ho­tel.

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