California governor signs law banning bathroom miniatures

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation Oct. 9 banning miniature bathroom amenity bottles. The law will prohibit hotels from providing shampoo, hair conditioner or bath soap in plastic containers that are intended to be nonreusable and have less than a 6-ounce capacity.

Starting Jan. 1, 2023, for hotels with more than 50 rooms and Jan. 1, 2024, for hotels with 50 rooms or fewer rooms, violators will face a $500 fine for their first offense and a $2,000 fine for subsequent offenses. The law will not apply to hosted rentals, which the law defines as “a house, apartment or other livable space where the person providing sleeping accommodations is a permanent resident who lives on the premises.”

California Hotel & Lodging Association President Lynn Mohrfeld praised the legislation. “As long-time advocates of environmental stewardship, CHLA applauds Gov. Newsom and Assembly Member [Ash] Kalra for working with California hotels to make AB 1162 good for our environment and for our industry," Mohrfeld said in a statement. "We especially appreciate Assembly Member Kalra's recognition of the many innovative steps hotels have taken to make a more sustainable future."

The legislation allows hotels to provide small, plastic amenity bottles to guests at no cost upon request. It specifies, though, that these must be provided in “a place other than a sleeping room accommodation, a space within the sleeping room accommodation or within bathrooms shared by the public or guests.”

Kalra, who introduced the legislation in February, believes given California’s large presence in tourism, the law will be a model for the country. “We have reached a tipping point for action and more needs to be done that transitions consumers and businesses toward more sustainable alternatives,” he said.

This summer, IHG and Marriott International unveiled plans to switch over to using bulk-size bathroom amenities. IHG plans to transition its entire portfolio by the end of 2021 and Marriott anticipates switching the overwhelming majority of its hotels by December 2020.