Ban on waste

No more miniature plastic toiletries for IHG’s hotel guests

Bottle ban: miniatures will disappear from IHG rooms

Miniature toiletries will no longer be offered to guest staying at hotels run by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) in a decisive move to reduce plastic waste.

The UK-based owner of Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza and Kimpton hotels has already removed them from a third of its estate and has pledged to take the small plastic bottles out of its 843,000 rooms by 2021.

It said it would mean the removal of 200 million miniatures per year and a switch to bulk-size bathroom amenities.

IHG chief executive Keith Barr said: “We collectively as an industry have to lead where governments are not necessarily giving the leadership to make a difference.

“Five years ago it was a tick-the-box exercise. Today it’s follow-up meetings going through in detail what we are doing about our carbon footprint.

IHG last year announced it would stop using plastic straws by the end of 2019. Mr Barr added that “the next big thing to tackle” would be the plastic plates and cutlery used for its breakfast service.

The company has teamed up with artificial intelligence firm Winnow on a pilot to monitor waste across breakfast buffets in some of its hotels.

IHG has committed to reducing its carbon footprint per occupied room by 6% by next year. Its high-end resort brand Six Senses has said it will go plastic-free across its whole supply chain by 2022.

The move was welcomed by Greenpeace, with the environmental group’s Fiona Nicholls saying: “Just as shoppers have shown they’re happy to bring their own bags to supermarkets, hotel guests are absolutely able to adapt and start bringing their own toiletries.”

Single-use plastics is also being addressed by the airline industry, with a number of companies making commitments to phasing them out.

Austrian Airlines has partnered with an oil and gas company to send its used plastic cups to be converted into new fuels.

Daily Business comment: Not so long ago removing ‘free’ items would have been viewed as penny-pinching, and clearly there will be a cost-saving for IHG. However, the mood has changed dramatically towards needless use of plastics.

Free toiletries may be popular with guests, but mainly because they take them home. Most are thrown away after being barely used.

This is a long overdue but welcome move and is encouraging that other businesses – including airlines – are pursuing similar policies.

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