A big kudos this week to IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) for its commitment to switch to bulk-size bathroom amenities (dispensers) throughout its entire hotel estate of almost 843,000 guestrooms. The transition away from the bathroom miniatures will be completed during 2021. The pledge makes IHG the first global hotel company to commit all brands to removing bathroom miniatures in favor of bulk-size amenities. Last year, Marriott announced that Marriott-managed Courtyard, Fairfield, Residence Inn, Springhill Suites and TownePlace Suites brands would transition to shower dispensers. IHG’s voco Hotels, EVEN Hotels and avid hotels brands have all offered bulk-size amenities since launch. Other companies including Drury Hotels have already made the switch to dispensers.
The elimination of bathroom miniatures by IHG will have a huge impact on the company’s waste stream—specifically its plastics waste stream. IHG currently has an average of 200 million bathroom miniatures in use across its entire hotel estate every year. Ultimately, billions of plastic bottles will be prevented from entering the waste stream.
Keith Barr, CEO, IHG, commented: “It’s more important than ever that companies challenge themselves to operate responsibly—we know it’s what our guests, owners, colleagues, investors and suppliers rightly expect. Switching to larger-size amenities across more than 5,600 hotels around the world is a big step in the right direction and will allow us to significantly reduce our waste footprint and environmental impact as we make the change. We’ve already made great strides in this area, with almost a third of our estate already adopting the change and we’re proud to lead our industry by making this a brand standard for every single IHG hotel. We’re passionate about sustainability and we’ll continue to explore ways to make a positive difference to the environment and our local communities.”
A Part of Green Engage
The dispenser initiative is part of IHG’s Green Engage system—a well-established online sustainability program, which recommends ways for IHG branded hotels worldwide to manage their waste more effectively. This includes guidance on how hotels can handle, store, recycle and dispose of waste both on and off-site, to minimize environmental impact and costs.
A few examples of other IHG waste-reducing initiatives:
In October 2018, IHG announced the removal of single-use plastic straws from its hotels globally by the end of 2019. The new brand standard represents an average of 50 million straws removed from IHG’s hotel estate each year, enough to stretch all the way from New York to Tokyo.
Created with sustainability in mind, IHG’s voco Hotels brand works with suppliers to provide duvets and pillows that are filled with 100 percent recycled materials. This equates to 150 plastic bottles per guestroom diverted from landfill.
Launched in collaboration with the IHG Owners Association, the Renovation Donation Initiative is an industry-leading effort which allows IHG-branded hotels in the United States and Canada to manage the removal of furniture, fixtures and equipment during renovations by donating them to nonprofit organizations, including United Way Worldwide and Good360.
According to the 2018 Lodging Survey, just 8 percent of survey respondents said they use shampoo/conditioner dispensers in the shower. Independent properties use them the most (24 percent) and economy properties use them the least (just 1 percent). Efforts by IHG, Marriott and many others are sure to convince others in our industry that the time for dispensers is now. It is shameful that our industry still uses hundreds of millions of bathroom miniatures when so many quality, reputation-enhancing dispensers and liquids are available.
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