A bill passed in California could ban hotels and other lodging establishments supplying guests with single-use small plastic bottles, such as shampoo and conditioner bottles, in an effort to reduce waste.
The bill was introduced by assemblyman Ash Kalra and co-authored by assemblyman Mark Stone, Assembly Bill 1162 in February.
If passed the law would take effect from 1 January, 2023 and would ban accommodation providers including include hotels, motels, resorts, bed and breakfasts and holiday rentals, from providing any “small plastic bottle containing a personal care product”.
The bill would authorise a local agency with authority to inspect sleeping accommodations in a lodging establishment to enforce these requirements, with a written warning upon a first violation. A second violation would incur a fine of $500 ($A699). Reusable or refillable bottles would be allowed under the proposed law.
“We know we have an enormous problem with our world, we’ve become addicted to (plastic) and it’s caused a major dilemma environmentally,” Kalra told ABC News.
InterContinental Hotels and Marriott International both began to replace individual-size plastic bottles with bulk dispenser bottles in hotels across the US last year. In May 2018 Sudima Hotels & Resorts announced it would be the first hotel group in New Zealand to be single-use plastic free by 2020.
Initiative welcomed by NZ hospitality sector
Trade association Hospitality New Zealand, representing around 3000 hospitality and commercial accommodation businesses, has welcomed the move by the accommodation sector to take a more sustainable approach to procurement, particularly in relation to reducing single-use plastics.
Hospitality New Zealand chief operating officer, Julie White, said the group has worked to encourage its own members to avoid single-use plastic items such as plastic drinking straws and to provide solutions and alternatives, through its partnership with The Rubbish Whisperer.
“In recent years, sustainable initiatives have become a common focus for hotels, with many larger international chains making commitments to lower their carbon footprint and make environmentally-friendly choices (for example, in housekeeping and procurement) a key part of their CSR policies,” White said.
“Globally, hoteliers are already working on a variety of solutions to reduce plastic waste from amenities, such as providing recyclable (or reusable) containers, or by providing larger dispensers. Hospitality New Zealand welcomes this move towards environmentally friendly operating practices in the accommodation sector.
“Crucially, an increasing number of guests welcome the move too – approximately three in four millennials would happily pay extra for a service that is a sustainable option, versus just over half of baby boomers.”
White said for some accommodation providers, cost and guest perception can be a barrier to moving towards a more sustainable operating practice.
“Fundamental to the success of any sustainable initiative is also education of guests. Communicating clearly to guests the environmental impact of the change the hotel is trying to make can have a significant impact on the willingness of guests to join in that eco-friendly journey.”
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