The small bottles of toiletries know by leisure and business travelers alike are one step closer to becoming extinct as Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel chain, announced it will be replacing its miniatures with larger, pump-top dispensers by 2020.
The move follows on the company’s quiet announcement last year—a footnote in its notice about ending the use of plastic straws—that nine of its 30 hotel brands would either begin transitioning away from miniature amenities or already had bulk-size dispensers in place.
The hotel’s intention was always to transition the brand’s entire portfolio, said Denise Naguib, Marriott’s vice president of sustainability and supplier diversity.
“We were surprisingly pleased by the guest feedback,” Naguib said. “We feel a real responsibility as a company to guide our guest … so that they make different decisions, or help us make better decisions.”
Naguib did not specify whether Marriott would be changing suppliers for its hair and skincare products in the transition.
While each hotel chain may have a different dispenser and delivery method—either a ceramic container or a “floating” wall-mounted model—each bottle will be made of recyclable plastic. The previous miniatures were “about 99%” unrecyclable, according to Naguib. Citing guest concerns, the new bottles will also be tamper-proof to ensure guest safety.
“This is our second global initiative aimed at reducing single-use plastics in just over a year, which underscores how important we believe it is to continuously find ways to reduce our hotels’ environmental impact. It’s a huge priority for us,” said Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International, in a press release announcing the changes.
Corporations have prioritized sustainability efforts as the industry responds to a more eco-conscious consumer. Marriott joins InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which made a similar announcement last month and has already begun the transition at more than 1,000 Holiday Inn Express hotels.
Even though IHG beat Marriott to a hotel-wide replacement, Marriott will be first to the finish line with a deadline of December 2020 to complete the transition. IHG doesn’t expect to make the switch fully until at least 2021.
While IHG owns over 5,700 hotels globally, Marriott is the world leader with over 7,100 properties and 1.3 million rooms. According to the brand, more than 20% of Marriott properties now offer the bulk dispensers.
In the press release, Marriott said the move will save about “500 million tiny bottles annually from landfills” and reduce its current “amenity plastic” waste by 30%.
With more than 1 million guests each night, the company hopes to reduce its total landfill waste by 45% in 2025. Recyclable toiletries should make that goal much easier.