Hotels find alternatives to bottles and straws

IHG will remove all plastic straws from its global network of hotels by the end of next year, and sustainability-minded hotels are finding alternatives to single-use plastic bottles, including reusable bottles and water stations. 

Countries are setting examples as well. In January, Taiwan announced the strictest regulation yet: a blanket ban forbidding all single-use plastic bags, straws and cups. In the United States, both Hawaii and California have pending straw ban legislation, while Seattle — the birthplace of the Starbucks disposable, to-go coffee culture — passed a measure banning plastic straws and utensils that goes into effect in July.

IHG To Remove Plastic Straws From Its Hotels

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced that it will eliminate plastic straws at all of its more than 5,400 hotels, in more than 100 countries, by the end of 2019, according to a company news release. The company has already eliminated plastic straws at its nearly 1,000 hotels in the Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa region. IHG estimates the effort will eliminate waste from an average of 50 million plastic straws each year.

In addition to its straw initiative, IHG is introducing bulk-sized bathroom amenities at properties across several of its brands in the Americas region in an effort to reduce waste from small plastic amenity bottles. Its Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites are increasing adoption of larger dispensers, joining Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, which began rolling them out last year, and Even Hotels, which have featured the larger dispensers since the brand launched.

Canopy by Hilton offers glass refillable bottles

The Canopy by Hilton brand launched in 2014, and since then, the brand has been committed to sustainability and the environment.

All Canopy properties offer guests glass refillable water bottles as well as filtered water stations on every floor. The Canopy Reykjavik City Centre in Iceland features water that has been “lava-filtered through a long, natural process,” according to Gary Steffen, global head of Canopy in an interview with HotelNewsNow. He added that guests have had a positive response to the environmentally-friendly water options.

Silver Chef #BringYourOwnMug

In Canada alone, 14
billion cups of coffee are consumed every year, with 35 per cent of coffee
consumed in single-use cups. These represent up to 35,000 tonnes of paper, made from more than 70,000 tonnes of raw wood, harvested from thousands of hectares of forest. Despite this impact, fewer than two per cent of coffee lovers will bring their own mugs, even if charged a fee. Silver Chef, a leading Canadian dedicated hospitality funder, started the #BringYourOwnMug movement to address
this and promote sustainable consumer behaviours. 

On Oct. 1, International
Coffee Day, Silver Chef and
its cafe partners started offering to go coffee in ceramic mugs,
allowing consumers to make a sustainable choice during their morning coffee
run. Consumers can take these free ceramic mugs away and return them later, or
trade them for old mugs they have at home.

Robert Phelps, president
of Silver Chef Canada, said: “This initiative, called Brewing for
Sustainability is inspired by the circular economy, and designed to be
self-sustaining beyond International Coffee Day, with consumers returning or
replacing the ceramic cup they take.

Oasis goes beyond water coolers and bottle fillers

Are
the water coolers, bottle coolers, and bottle fillers your organization uses
green? Really, truly green? Most companies can boast a reduction in the cost
and waste associated with disposable water choices and can also claim recycling
practices where plastic and glass remain essential. These are certainly steps
in the right direction. But they only scratch the surface of what a truly green
integrated water system can be.

OASIS
International goes one step beyond, with thoughtful, eco-conscious design in
their units, filters, and cooling systems to minimize environmental impact. They build their Versacooler II bottle fillers with 42 per cent less steel
than competing units, the company said in a press release. This means less resources used and less energy required
for manufacture of raw materials. Using less steel has the added advantage of
making the units 20 to 30 percent lighter for easier installation.

Calgary and Edmonton's Last Straw Day

Calgary and Edmonton competed to see who could recruit more bars and restaurants to eliminate plastic straws by the Last Straw Day on July 14, 2018. They suggested eateries only offer a straw if the guest requests one; or offer straws made of a substitute material (paper, metal reusable, or other biodegradable material). 

Almost 150 businesses in Alberta’s two major cities, committed to going straw free on July 14, The Calgary Herald reported. “Plastic Free YYC and Waste Free Edmonton went head-to-head in the Last Straw Alberta competition to see which organization could get more businesses to ditch plastic straws for a day. The results of the competition are in and Edmonton sucked less, getting 86 businesses to commit, while Plastic Free YYC got 62 to sign up.”

Briana Loughlin, co-founder of Plastic Free YYC, said, “It really brought Alberta together in this cause even though it was a competition. We had places from Rocky Mountain House and Lethbridge reach out to say they were also straw free. It’s also growing in Red Deer.”

PEI nixes plastic bags at checkout

This summer, Prince
Edward Island became the first province in Canada to ban plastic bags at
check-out, including those used for take-out food.

More
details and regulations will be coming as the provincial government works
through the details, but a private member’s bill passed in June will meant the
end of single-use plastic check-out bags as of July 1, 2019.

In place
of plastic bags, recyclable paper bags may be provided at a cost to customers
of no less than 15 cents, or reusable bags at no less than $1.

Hilton eliminates 35 million plastic bottles per year

Back in May, the hotel chain announced that it'll be removing plastic straws from all 650 of their hotels by the end of this year (eliminating 35 million straws annually). The hotel chain also has an overall goal of cutting their environmental impact in half by 2030.

Marriott
International mandates in-shower dispensers

Marriott, the world’s largest hotel company, is making the most substantial changes across several of their hotel brands, including a straw ban at all 60 British properties, where an estimated 300,000 plastic straws were used last year.

Marriott will also phase out mini-plastic shampoo bottles from 1,500 of its North American hotels, including the brands Courtyard, Fairfield and Residence Inns, to be replaced by wall-mounted dispensers; Marriott’s changes are projected to eliminate 10.4 million plastic bottles, accounting for 113,000 pounds of plastic waste per year.

AccorHotels prohibits plastic straws

AccorHotelsAccorHotels said in May that they would be banning plastic straws in all of their 125 UK locations, effective June 1, which also expanded to their 83 North America and Central locations in October. 

Hyatt
Hotels Corporation's recyclable earbuds

Hyatt
Hotels Corporation offered 65,000 pairs of recyclable earbuds at 80
participating Hyatt hotel fitness centres in 2017.

Hyatt
pledged to eliminate single-use plastic straws and drink picks at all of its
hotels worldwide. After September 1, 2018, “single-use plastic straws and drink
picks will be available by request only, and eco-friendly alternatives will be
provided where available,” the company said in a news release.

Four
Seasons Hotels and Resorts

In
April, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts announced a ban on all
plastic straws at its 110 hotels.

Great Wolf
Resorts

Great
Wolf Resorts pledges to replace plastic straws at all 17 of its indoor water
park resorts with more environmentally friendly paper straws. The resorts will
maintain a small supply of other straw options for guests who are unable to
drink from non-flexible paper straws. Great Wolf Resorts estimates the initiative will
eliminate waste from more than 5 million plastic straws per year.