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EcoLuxe Products, Sustainable, bamboo personal care, hotels, toiletries, plastic pollution, Sustainability, Chanelle Dupre

From food wastes to packaging, the hospitality and more specifically, the hotel industry churns out non-biodegradable wastes made of plastics at an alarming rate. The amount of waste coming from this industry have become a matter of considerable concern as governments all over the world are beginning to pay attention in a bid to control the waste output from their hospitality and tourism industry. 

In the United Kingdom, the sector produce an estimated two million tons of waste yearly. Restaurants contribute about 915,400 tons of waste, pubs produce 873,800 tons while hotels produce 289,700 tons of waste with a large majority composing of single-use plastic toiletries. The same heavy waste output is found amongst other countries beyond the UK. Making the total number of wastes emerging from the hospitality industry a scary number to contemplate. 

Hotels as a Key Contributor to Plastic Waste

Of all segments of this industry, hotels are a key culprit in producing non-biodegradable waste. According to research, an average hotel releases about 160kg and 200kg of CO2 per square meter of the room floor per year primarily from the consumption of non biodegradable materials while water consumed in a five star hotel by each guest in a single night is between 170 and 440 liters. Additionally, hotels are estimated to produce an average of 1kg of waste from each guest every night and the energy consumption level remains off the charts.

Of all segments of this industry, hotels are a key culprit in producing non-biodegradable waste.

In most hotels, certain non-biodegradable single use products made of  plastics are widely used because these disposable products are convenient, hassle-free and cheap. Most higher end hotels offer toiletries to enhance the guest experience but unfortunately, these value added conveniences come with an environmental price tag. From small packaged plastic containers of shampoos, conditioners, shower gels and one-time use soaps, plastic razors and cotton swabs to plastic cups, stir sticks and water bottles. Many of these products end up in our landfills to decompose for the next 500 – 1,000 years. 

For in-room dining or take-out, restaurants in hotels use plastic cups, straws, utensils and even styro foam packaging. So many products that have yet to be substituted with eco-friendly products that leave a smaller footprint on earth and biodegrade within  months versus decades. Though some hotels are now incorporating more eco-conscious practices by substituting plastic products with paper based or recycled materials, many hotels still have yet to make this switch to sustainability and incorporate this approach in their operational processes throughout. 

Plastic containers of hotel amenities

Plastic containers from hotels contribute to plastic pollution

Hotels Efforts to be Eco-friendly

Some mid-tier hotel chains trumpet their mandate to “go green” posting signs throughout the hotel – in elevators, in guest rooms and in the amenities areas. They urge their guests to reuse towels to reduce water and energy consumption. But reducing energy consumption is not enough to reverse the effects that harmful materials have on our environment. If anything, the most immediate benefit of this practice is simply self-serving – it helps hotels reduce their energy expense and the labor costs involved in laundering sheets and towels in high volume.

The intention to do good for the earth is commendable but it doesn’t go far enough and in fact, the messaging is lip service. Despite their efforts in reducing energy consumption, most are still using plastic single-use containers and materials. Plastics are disposed of with every guest stay turned over and room cleaned. 

To embrace this green initiative to the fullest, hotels must look for ways to substitute these cheap single use harmful plastics with compostable ecofriendly alternatives like bamboo based products. Starting with wooden stir sticks, paper cups and paper laundry bag then replacing single-use plastic toiletries with reusable glass or bamboo containers. Other options include offering bulk liquid hygienic products like shampoos and shower gels in a larger pump glass bottle or offering a large water dispenser at each floor to refill travel mugs instead of selling bottled water.

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Creating Eco-Conscious Awareness 

We need to be focused on preserving our planet if we want to maintain the beauty of our surroundings and this means working together like one big community to reduce non-biodegradable waste. The hospitality and  tourism industry is just one example where there is a strong awareness around sustainable practices but there is still room for improvement. With the most recent economic impact of the pandemic, the industry may be reluctant to invest in sustainable alternatives right now because of the combination of higher costs they must now bear as a result of the need to implement new mandated COVID prevention protocols and the economic impact the travel shutdown has had on their business.

It may be a long way back to recovery and profitability and perhaps they see sustainable practices as a “nice to have” versus a “need to have” and this is understandable at the moment. But as we ramp up again to being fully recovered from the impact of the pandemic, this multi-billion dollar tourism industry can make a positive impact first by creating awareness about their responsibility to the planet and secondly by putting this mission into action to replace non-biodegradable products with earth friendly ones.

Learn more about earth friendly biodegradable products for your hotel or resort. 


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2 thoughts on “5 Definitive Ways Hotels Contribute to Plastic Pollution

  • Aubrey WarrickMay 2, 2021 at 4:47 am

    It was a good time investment to read your article!
    This is true that the hotel industry is responsible for a whole lot of non-biodegradable wastes. Unfortunately, proper attention to protecting the environment is still missing. In my opinion, the policymakers need to take serious steps, so the hotels follow the sustainability protocols, leading to sustainability of our environment.
    Thumbs up!

  • Lawrence BeamonMay 11, 2021 at 5:11 am

    Fantastic work! Since it is a collective responsibility, the public should also perform its duty to sustain the environment. Whenever I stay at a hotel, I make sure that I do not waste resources like water and food. I also prefer using paper utensils against non-biodegradable plastic ones.

    Thanks for the post!

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