The End Is Coming: Hotel Mini Shampoo Bottles

by Zoe

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California is often a leader within the US when it comes to environmental initiatives. So it should come as no surprise that California lawmakers are now targeting hotels for their excess waste. Specifically, the target is on hotels that provide little plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and lotion known as single use toiletries.

What Does That Mean For Hotel Guests

In an attempt to stem plastic consumption and limit plastic trash, this week, the California State Assembly passed a bill to restrict these amenities. Don’t panic (or go into hoarding mode)—we would still receive free shampoo via bulk dispensers.

If enacted, “lodging establishments,” including hotels and vacation rentals, would be restricted from offering plastic bottles that hold 12 ounces of fluid or less. Fines would be levied on the properties if not followed.

Hotel Sant Francesc Palma of Majorca

Mini bottles of lotion may soon be gone from the hotel bathroom…

Another question is whether or not we want our legislatures regulating and targeting industries. I’d rather see hotels step up to the sustainability plate on their own, as Marriott has already begun doing. Marriott has already announced plans to install bulk dispensers in 450 of its locations. Besides being a cost savings measure, the company estimates the change will cut its plastic consumption by 250 pounds per hotel, amounting to 113,000 pounds globally every year.

Many non-premium hotel brands already do this — offering dispenser-style body products in lieu of more costly individual bottles.

Sukhothai Shanghai

Luxury hotels will have to switch over to dispenser-style products

The Upshot

Fond farewell to the little bottles. For years, you’ve served those of us who never liked traveling with our own toiletries. I’m not looking forward to the bulk dispensers, though who can argue with programs that produce less waste. It’s likely this will be enacted elsewhere beyond just California in the coming months and years.

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derek April 14, 2019 - 11:17 am

This is terrible. California is wrong.

Flori Lamm April 14, 2019 - 11:31 am

You can have any style of soap, shampoo, conditioner as a solid bar fully vegan organic
I personally don‘t like the dispensers since you have no control on what is in it or what people have put in it.

Shelli April 14, 2019 - 11:59 am

I agree, Flori. Well said!

Blue April 14, 2019 - 11:42 am

Virtue signalling to get rid of a trivial amount of waste. And give hotels a reason to provide lower service.

Shelli April 14, 2019 - 12:00 pm

You make a good point, Blue.

Lucas April 14, 2019 - 2:34 pm

I think most commenters would agree that if this were truly a pro-environment measure and not just a pretext for the hotels to cut service and put whatever in those dispensers, alternatives could be found:
– solid bars, likeFlori said;
– biodegradable single use bottles;
– bigger individual units, sealed, maybe one per guest every 2 days of stay (I hope this is what luxury hotels will go for).
Otherwise it is just an instance of cutting back on service, airline-style, under the pretense of caring for the environment.

Shelli April 14, 2019 - 2:50 pm

As the other commenters did, Lucas, you make good points and offer excellent alternatives. I’m baffled by how some of this legislature gets through.

Emily April 15, 2019 - 5:25 am

Glad to see it. California will force these chains to do so nationally, as it’s done on so many things because doing one thing for such a big market and another for the rest is f the country becomes impractical. The idea that you don’t know what’s in the dispensers is silly. Do you wash your hands with soap from dispensers in pubic restrooms? I hope so. If you go to a nice gym or pool or spa you’ve probably used dispensers of shampoo and body wash there too. People like the free little bottles. Too bad. Plastic is everywhere. We need to reduce or eliminate single use plastics. These aren’t plastics being used in hospitals. This is a hotel. I like the little bottles too. I can manage.

derek April 15, 2019 - 11:08 am

This is terrible.

There will be theft of shampoo as freeloaders fill their containers.
There will be unhappy travelers (like me) who depend on this shampoo for home use and for traveling and staying at AirBnB’s.
There will be URINE placed in the shampee or shampoo as has been done.

California should ban air travel to save the environment. Just stay at home.


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