Marriott International will join IHG in eliminating single-use toiletry bottles across its hotels worldwide. The company estimates the initiative will prevent about 500 million tiny bottles—roughly 1.7 million pounds of plastic—from entering landfills every year, reducing its current annual amenity plastic usage by 30 percent.
Marriott will replace the single-use bottles with larger, pump-topped bottles capable of containing the same amount of product as 10 to 12 smaller bottles. To date, Marriott has rolled out these larger pump bottles at about 1,000 properties in North America and at more than 20 percent of its more than 7,000 worldwide properties. The company expects the overwhelming majority of its entire portfolio to switch over by December 2020.
The move follows an initiative it launched in early 2018 to switch to larger pump-dispenser bottles across five brands: Courtyard by Marriott, SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn, Fairfield by Marriott and TownePlace Suites. Outside of these five, four other brands— Aloft Hotels, Element by Westin, Four Points and Moxy Hotels—had previously implemented the switch and a fifth, AC by Marriott is currently making the change.
"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," Arne Sorenson, president/CEO of Marriott International, said in a statement. "Our guests are looking to us to make changes that will create a meaningful difference for the environment while not sacrificing the quality service and experience they expect from our hotels."
This initiative is part of Marriott’s Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction platform. As part of that effort, the company is working toward several sustainability goals, including reducing landfill waste by 45 percent and responsibly sourcing its top 10 product purchase categories by 2025.
The pump-bottle initiative also comes 13 months after Marriott began phasing out disposable plastic straws and stirrers and replacing them with alternative products available upon request. The company completed this effort last month, resulting in an estimated diversion of 1 billion plastic straws from landfills.
Hotel Companies Tackle Sustainability
Marriott’s move to eliminate single-use plastic amenity bottles comes just under a month after IHG revealed plans to transition its entire hotel portfolio of more than 5,700 hotels and nearly 856,000 rooms to bulk-size bathroom amenities by the end of 2021. Like Marriott, it, too, is eliminating plastic straws from its hotels, a goal it anticipates completing by the end of this year.
Last year, Hilton revealed its plans to halve its environmental footprint and double its social investment by 2030. The specific sustainability goals of this project include reducing carbon emissions intensity by 61 percent; reducing water consumption and produced waste by 50 percent; eliminating plastic straws; sustainably sourcing meat, poultry, seafood and cotton; and sending zero soap to landfills.
In December 2018, Benchmark introduced a program to reduce the use of plastics, specifically cocktail picks, coffee stirrers and plastic straws, across all its hotels, resorts and conference centers. Future efforts of the company’s Single Use Plastic Reduction project may target pizza boxes, Styrofoam and plastic coffee lids.