From water bottles to straws to earbuds, single-use plastic is being targeted for elimination at hotel companies and resorts across the globe.
Editor’s note: This list will be updated as others launch similar initiatives. If your hotel company or property has an initiative in place, email email@example.com to be included here.
Update 12 November 2018: This list has been updated to include initiatives announced by InterContinental Hotels Group; The Indian Hotels Company; Rosen Hotels & Resorts; Angama Mara; and Nanuku, Auberge Resorts Collection.
The hotel industry is not only on board, but in many respects is ahead of the game when it comes to initiatives to ban single-use plastics on property.
Hotel News Now first reported on the topic of biodegradable alternatives to single-use plastic straws in January, featuring a project which was started seven years ago at the Cayuga Collection’s eight luxury sustainable hotels in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
The idea for that article came from HNN’s coverage of the Costa Rica Sustainable Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference, where keynote speaker Philippe Cousteau Jr., grandson of the famous ocean explorer, listed straws as his “pet peeve.”
For some time, hoteliers have also had it out for plastic water bottles, of course; and you can add to that hit list plastic drink stirrers, single-use shampoo bottles and even disposable earbuds in the fitness center.
Change like this doesn’t come easy, which is evident in the fact that many companies have set yearslong timelines for eliminating or reducing plastic waste.
“The reduction of straws is just like everything else. You find solutions to the inevitable skepticism or concerns from management and staff, slowly onboard them to the reasons why it’s worth the hassle, make them champions of the reasoning and solution, and then pull the trigger on implementation. The hammerhead approach to change creates a fairly reactionary mindset, and people immediately dig in their heels and resist, solely because they aren’t ready for change. Change takes a little patience, empathy and time,” Michael Hraba, partner and project manager at Waterford Hotels & Inns, said in an email interview about his company’s commitment to finding alternatives to single-use plastic straws.
It’s been challenging to keep up with all the shots being fired in this particular sustainability battle. Below are hotel companies and resorts that have announced initiatives aimed at reducing waste from single-use plastic.
InterContinental Hotels Group
InterContinental Hotels Group 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.
The Indian Hotels Company
The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) announced that it has eliminated single-use plastic straws at all of its 165 hotels, including 20 under development, in 12 countries, according to a company news release. The company also launched its first “zero single-use plastic hotel” with the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andamans.
Rosen Hotels & Resorts
Orlando, Florida-based Rosen Hotels & Resorts announced that it will eliminate plastic straws from its nine hotels and more than 26 restaurants, all located in Orlando, by January 2019, according to a news release. In August, the company began providing guests with plastic straws only upon request at its hotel restaurants. Properties will transition to eco-friendly paper straws this fall.
Luxury safari lodge Angama Mara in Maasai Mara, Kenya, recently marked one year of being nearly plastic-free, according to a news release. This initiative has included a ban on the use and distribution of plastic bags, providing guests with reusable glass bottles, use of refillable porcelain dispensers for bathroom amenities, linen bags for guest laundry, and reusable canvas garbage bags.
Nanuku, Auberge Resorts Collection
Fiji’s Nanuku, Auberge Resorts Collection, has replaced single-use plastic straws with eco-friendly, biodegradable paper straws, according to a news release. The resort has also replaced Styrofoam containers with bamboo pulp containers, switched to refillable flip-top bottles instead of plastic water bottles and upgraded guestroom refrigerators to feature water dispensers.
Hilton has removed plastic water bottles from meetings and events at managed hotels in Greater China and Mongolia in September 2017, the impact of which is the elimination of 13 million plastic bottles annually. It has transitioned from plastic to biodegradable paper straws at its managed hotels in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, the impact of which is the reduction of 2.5 million plastic straws annually. Hilton has also already removed plastic straws from 20-plus hotels in the Americas and in the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia/Pacific regions, including the Hilton Waikoloa Village (800,000 straws/year), the DoubleTree Resort Central Pacific Costa Rica (145,000 straws/year) and Hilton London Kensington (56,000 straws/year).
Hilton pledges to remove plastic straws from 650 managed properties by end of 2018, estimated to eliminate waste from more than 35 million straws per year. Hilton is also removing plastic water bottles from meetings and events at managed hotels in the EMEA.
In the EMEA region alone, the company estimates that will eliminate waste from more than 20 million plastic water bottles annually. Hilton will offer paper or biodegradable alternatives to plastic straws upon request (implemented globally across hotels by end of 2018).
Marriott International has begun eliminating single-use plastic from 450 hotels, including 60 hotels in the United Kingdom, where it estimates 300,000 plastic straws were used last year. Marriott has required its managed hotels in North America to replace individual bathroom amenity bottles with in-shower dispensers in an initiative expected to be adopted at 1,500 hotels in North America by year’s end that will result in the elimination of about 34.5 million bottles and 375,000 pounds of plastic in an average year. The Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa in Lahaina, Hawaii, fully eliminated all single-use plastic back in August 2017.
In June 2018, AccorHotels began to phase out plastic straws at its 125 managed hotels in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and working with partners to extend the policy to its 113 franchised hotels in the region.
AccorHotels pledges to prohibit plastic straws at its 83 hotels in North America and Central America by July 2018.
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Hyatt Hotels Corporation offered 65,000 pairs of recyclable earbuds at 80 participating Hyatt hotel fitness centers in 2017.
Hyatt pledges to eliminate single-use plastic straws and drink picks at all of its hotels worldwide. After 1 September 2018, “single-use plastic straws and drink picks will be available by request only, and eco-friendly alternatives will be provided where available,” according to a news release.
MGM Resorts International
MGM Resorts International began phasing out plastic straws at all of its hotels, starting with the Aria Resort and Casino and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas this May, which MGM estimates will eliminate about 100 million straws annually.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
In April, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts announced a ban on all plastic straws at its 110 hotels.
Walt Disney Company
Disney pledges to eliminate single-use plastic straws and plastic stirrers all properties that it owns and operates, including its resort hotels, by mid-2019. Disney also pledges to transition to refillable in-room amenity bottles, reduce the number of plastic shopping bags available and eliminate polystyrene cups at its resorts and cruise ships. The impact from the straw and stirrer initiative alone is expected to “amount to a reduction of more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually,” according to a company news release.
Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces
Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces pledges to phase out plastic straws from in-room dining at all of its 98 hotels.
Minor Hotels pledges to eliminate by the end of 2018 plastic straws at all of its hotels in Asia, which includes 32 properties under its Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas brand, 11 under its AVANI brand, two Four Seasons and one JW Marriott. For the Anantara-branded properties, the impact of this move is the elimination of about 80,000 plastic bottles a day across the world.
Melia Hotels International
Melia Hotels International pledges to eliminate all single-use plastic from all of its hotels by the end of 2018, to be replaced by reusable items. The move is estimated to eliminate 22 million plastic bottles alone.
Millennium Hotels & Resorts
Millennium Hotels & Resorts pledges to eliminate single-use plastics (including straws, stirrers, bags, cutlery and bathroom amenity bottles) from its six Singapore hotels by June 2019, to be replaced by biodegradable alternatives. Millennium estimates the move will eliminate more than 570 pounds of plastics a week.
Iberostar Hotels & Resorts
In 2017, Iberostar Hotels and Resorts eliminated the use of disposable plastic straws from its 36 hotels in Spain, which amounts to about 10 million straws annually.
The company pledges to eliminate all disposable plastics from all of its hotels in Spain, which Iberostar estimates will equal about 43 tons of plastic waste, including about 1.5 million plastic bottles, annually.
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.
Akaryn Hotel Group
Akaryn Hotel Group opened the Akyra TAS Sukhumvit Bangkok as a hotel completely free of single-use plastic on 1 June. The hotel offers stainless steel water bottles, ceramic containers for bathroom amenities, and toothbrushes and combs made from corn starch. The hotel also uses biodegradable garbage bags in guest rooms, and instead of plastic foil packaging for in-room amenities and dining, it uses pinto boxes and glass jars.
Akaryn Hotel Group pledges to eliminate all single-use plastic from its six hotels in Asia by 2020.
New Zealand hotel group Sudima Hotels discontinued use of plastic straws at all of its hotels this year, offering guests a paper alternative upon request. The company estimates this eliminates about 52,000 straws annually.
Sudima Hotels pledges to eliminate all single-use plastic from its properties by 2020.
Waterford Hotels & Inns
Waterford Hotels & Inns manages six hotels in California and one in Oregon, which have reduced or eliminated waste from single-use plastic bottles. The company offers reusable bottles of filtered water in its guestroom minibars at the Inn at the Presidio in San Francisco’s Presidio National Park and at The Allison Inn & Spa in Willamette Valley, Oregon, as well as large containers for amenities such as shampoo instead of wasteful, small plastic bottles.
The Peninsula Hotels
The Peninsula Hotels pledges to eliminate all plastic straws from all of its hotels beginning 1 November 2018, and offer guests a paper alternative upon request.
Cayuga Collection has eliminated plastic straws from its eight luxury sustainable hotels in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and offered a bamboo alternative.
Guest Services Inc.
The company is offering single-use plastic straws only upon request at its owned and managed hotels and resorts in the U.S., which include properties in state and national parks. The company’s properties also feature hydration stations to encourage the use of reusable bottles.
Guest Services pledges to eliminate plastic straws and transition to biodegradable, paper straws at all of its properties by the end of 2018.
Namale Resort and Spa, Fiji
Namale Resort and Spa in Savusavu, Fiji, has eliminated single-use plastic straws and plastic bags. The initiative is estimated to reduce plastic waste by 24,000 straws and 36,000 plastic bags annually.
Loews Chicago Hotel
Beginning 1 August, the Loews Chicago Hotel will not provide plastic straws with beverages served throughout the hotel, including at its food-and-beverage venues Streeterville Social, ETA Restaurant + Bar, The Lobby Bar, or in-room dining. Guests will be provided with biodegradable straws upon request. The hotel expects the initiative to eliminate waste from more than 155,000 plastic straws a year.