Innovation a priority for Rubbermaid even after 50 years in hotels

RCP recently introduced a new bumper offering to its traditional housekeeping cart line, helping to prevent wall damage caused by housekeeping carts. Photo credit: Rubbermaid Commercial Products

Rubbermaid Commercial Products' history began in 1968 when a single salesman was assigned by parent company Rubbermaid to call on hotels and motels to sell doormats and bathmats. His sales pitch was the start of Rubbermaid’s institutional business, and since then, RCP has pioneered technologies and system solutions in the categories of food services, sanitary maintenance, waste handling, material transport, away-from-home washroom and safety products.

In 1999, the Newell Company acquired the Rubbermaid brand name and later renamed the combined group Newell Rubbermaid. 

Kim Franklin, category director of the consumer and commercial solutions division, has spent nearly 20 years in brand and market development roles within the commercial and consumer durables industries, joining Newell Rubbermaid 12 years ago. Half of her time at Newell Rubbermaid has been with Rubbermaid Commercial Products specifically. “Our brand has great heritage with 50 years of delivering durable and productive solutions to commercial facilities around the world. I take great pride in being able to lead part of that journey and seeing it through to our next 50 years,” she said. 

The brand has remained popular with users because of the company's focus on what customers need. “Our resin-based housekeeping carts have been at the center of our hospitality portfolio, offering increased durability and lighter weight when compared to traditional metal carts,” Franklin said. “Aligning to the core needs of users and properties within the industry for cart solutions, cleaning products and refuse needs has helped us grow and establish strong partnerships in the hospitality industry.”

Kim Franklin. Photo credit: 
Rubbermaid Commercial Products

RCP offerings are grounded in the company’s five fundamental goals for commercial facilities: productivity, health and wellness, sustainability, image and cost in use. RCP has many categories that contribute to improving the operations of hospitality facilities, from housekeeping carts to refuse and recycling containers to cleaning equipment to food storage, Franklin said. 

“Our executive series line is specifically designed to blend seamlessly into the hospitality environment where image plays an important role in delivering the guest experience,” she continued. 

The traditional housekeeping cart, Brute refuse containers and WaveBrake mop buckets are a few of the “hero hospitality products that help deliver on our five fundamentals for the industry,” Franklin said. 

While Rubbermaid products are fairly commonplace in hotels, the company continues to innovate and follow hoteliers’ needs and requests when it comes to product design and advancement. The company recently introduced a new bumper solution to its traditional housekeeping cart line, helping to prevent expensive wall damage caused by housekeeping carts. 

RCP’s refuse portfolio recently launched many extensions to its Slim Jim sub-brand offering. “Our under-counter Slim Jim improves access under counters by two times and Slim Jim cleaning accessories is a purpose-built system to store and transport common cleaning tools perfect for small properties,” Franklin said. 


Growing guest experience requirements are challenging so hotel properties need to continually refresh their branding and property needs. Image- and trend-driven solutions remain in constant demand. Labor remains an industry challenge with properties responding with needs to increase productivity and reduce labor costs, Franklin said. “We are seeing technology play a larger role in guest experience and property operations,” she said. “Identifying the most productive and cost-effective areas to infuse technology will be a continued need in our industry.” 


Rubbermaid Commercial Products services all types of hotel and resort properties across the world, including major brands and independent boutique properties. The company expanded its focus to luxury and boutique properties a few years ago with the introduction of its quick cart for in-room servicing needs. RCP has a dedicated hospitality sales team focused specifically on property and brand relationships as well as a dedicated team for its key distribution partnerships.


Housekeeping carts and accessories; safety equipment; cleaning equipment; decorative and utility refuse.