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Dos and Don’ts of Transitioning from Single-Use Personal Amenities to Bulk-size Dispensing Systems

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Paul Hodge

As January 1, 2023, approaches, I still see confusion in handling the transition from single-use to cartridge and bulk-size dispensing amenity systems. My dos and don’ts primarily address independent lodging establishments such as hotels, motels, and resorts. The selection and investment in compliant replaceable and refillable pump dispenser solutions is a decision for operations, property, general managers, and housekeeping.

Don’t: Make your final system decision based on hearsay or lodging speculation.
Do: Base your transition on criteria detailed in the actual legal documents.
The California Assembly Bill No. 1162 states that commencing January 1, 2023, for lodging establishments with more than 50 rooms and for 50 rooms or less January 1, 2024, an establishment shall not automatically replenish with a small plastic bottle or tube (less than 6 oz.) containing a shampoo, conditioner, or body wash personal care product—intended to be nonreusable by the end user. Find more details, including the inspection process, penalties, and fines, in the PDF document.

New York Senate Bill S5282B joins California in enforcing the statewide bans for 50 plus rooms targeting its transition to refillable dispensers and environmentally friendly containers by 2024, with 50 rooms or less looking at 2025 for compliance. Compliance and details on the inspection process, penalties, and fines are included in the PDF document.

Don’t: Commit to a system without knowing your costs.
It was a simpler time when your shower, conditioner, and bath wash amenities were a fixed cost. With a change to refillable and non-refillable dispenser systems, your costs are now variable on multiple levels. For example, when you have a one ounce $.35 tube, you know your costs per room per night. However, when you use the larger format, you must divide the cost by the liquid. Whether you’re using a 13.5 oz. prefilled or 1 gallon refill, you need to calculate how much the fluid costs per ounce and how many fluid ounces guest(s) are using per night. Or you might choose a squeeze cartridge system that is locked and tamper-proof. Or a dispenser that dispenses when people pump twice—1.5 milliliters.

Do: A pilot program with different solutions from two to four vendors.
Do a pilot study using 5 percent of your total room count. Factor in the cost of shutting down rooms to do the installation. Plan on cycling through this process throughout the property. Some mounting solutions may take 48 to 72 hours to seal. When vendors contact you with their perfect solution, ask them to participate in a pilot program at their cost. This would involve providing brackets, keys, products, and detailed installation instructions. By monitoring the systems, operations and housekeeping can identify if a system fits your guests’ needs and meets your cost basis. For example, if your property offers walk-in showers and standalone baths, you need to determine the costs of mounting dispensers in the shower and using tamper-proof bottles or squeeze cartridges for the bath.

Don’t: Make assumptions that all dispensing systems are equal.
For example, vendors will use various materials for their systems, from the types of plastic used for the brackets to the refill containers.
Do: Look for vendors who explain the fine print on their contracts.
Ask your vendor to explain its hardware warranty and replacement policies. Review the proposed refill process carefully and consider the possibility of the vendor helping you transition to even more sustainability practices like using biodegradable configurations such as plastic bags—or lined craft paper using 93 percent less plastic.

Don’t: Order refill bottles without labels.
Do: Make sure guests cannot easily view the levels of the liquids.
The dispensing apparatus needs a label with a side viewing area for housekeeping to see the amount of liquid in the bottle to maintain and do timely refills, so the bottle is never nearing empty.

Don’t: Invest in a system that is not tamper-proof.
Do: From a hygienic perspective, deliver your shampoo, conditioner, and body wash sealed for safety.
All dispensing units, refillable or non-refillable, must have a closed design to ensure the most sanitary system. Guests should not be able to get inside the bottles. Either use a system using a security collar that housekeeping has a key to gain access to the top and refill, a non-refillable bottle or squeeze-locked cartridge system.

Don’t: Cut costs by using cheaper products.
Do: Continue to use quality products your guests have come to expect.
Did you know your guests can tell the difference when cutting costs with a lower-quality product? Higher skincare-based quality products also have a longer shelf life. For example, if a room has been unoccupied for a few days, conditioner products may start to separate. Likewise, the body wash can congeal and thicken.

Don’t: Keep quiet about transitioning from the personal-size amenities.
Do: Have marketing create an attractive in-room piece explaining the transition and the green why.
Like alerting guests about green laundry options, let your guests know why the one-use size amenities are disappearing. Let them know moving to dispensers is another way to embrace sustainability.

In brief, the hospitality industry should continue investigating and designing better solutions to do our part for sustainability—developing green products and services. As we face and embrace the journey, remember DO always choose vendors and products of quality and integrity.

About the Author

Paul Hodge is CEO of World Amenities, an Inc. 5000 company. Its MAGNETIX Dispenser Systems, closed cartridge or refillable bottles, are making an impact worldwide. World Amenities is a trusted leading global supplier of quality luxe skincare-based brands and custom amenities, necessities, and accessories. Products are environmentally friendly, recyclable, and biodegradable. For more information, go to www.worldamenities.com.

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