I, firstly, need to make a confession…
In the past, I have had a guilty pleasure in using, and even taking, the tiny bottles containing thick lashings of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel during my hotel stays.
I say “had” as I have seen first-hand evidence of the terrible environmental and ecological impacts of single-use plastic, both in the UK and internationally.
None of us can possibly have not been affected by the BBC TV series “The Blue Planet”, where these problems were brought into our Living Rooms. Those images influenced a nation to change its relationship with single-use plastic, such as straws, plastic cup lids and stirrers.
For me, I take time to be better prepared by bringing my own toiletries or using hotels, such a recent stay at a Hampton Inn, who provide toiletries in larger re-useable containers. Indeed, I made a short YouTube video for UN World Environment Day to beat plastic pollution in “A Night in a Hotel” on being plastic-less in a hotel.
But if you feel like me, that you can ditch the “single-use Plastic” addiction with a helpful nudge then new legislation is being developed to reduce the problem, encouraging sustainable behaviours by reducing the temptation.
The State of California could be on its way to the first such state law to aims to scrap the tiny single-use plastic bottles at hotels and other hospitality establishments. Building upon the wider remit of the proposed European Union Directive on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment 2018/0172 (COD), the Californian Bill has these small toiletry items in its sights.
The State Bill, AB-1162 Lodging establishments: personal care products: small plastic bottles is making its way through the California Legislature & has already passed the State Assembly and to the Senate for committee examination.
The overall goal is to start to phase out single-use plastics in California by, taking a different approach from the EU Directive, by targeting the low-hanging fruit of hotel toiletries. The proposed legislation will help to give a further nudge to the hotel industry, which is already moving in this direction due to the cost savings & ability to demonstrate good environmental management though their EMS based on ISO 14001:2015.
I am sure that I have made my own transition from a hotel toiletry fiend to the environmental and sustainability leader that I am. But it doesn’t do any harm for legislation to put the temptation out of our reach.
For other hotel users, it may take some adjustment & the legislation and media attention can be part of a larger conversation on moving to a society where single-use plastics are not an acceptable part of our culture.
Legislation can help, as a key driver, to form the positive behaviours that we need to draw nearer to a shared and sustainable life.
Bring your own toiletries on your hotel stays to avoid the temptation of “single-use plastic” toiletry bottles
Ask for alternatives to “single-use plastic”, such as reusable steel spoon to replace plastic stirrers and a small jug of milk for UHT Milk pouches
Challenge hotels to go “plastic-less” by providing feedback before and after your stay