The owner of Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotels vowed in October to stop using plastic straws by the end of 2019. Now it's on to "the next logical step," per the New York Times. InterContinental Hotels Group has become the first global hotel brand to say it will stop supplying miniature toiletries. The UK-based company says tiny plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and other products will be pulled from its 843,000 guest rooms in more than 5,600 hotels under 17 brands by 2021. Bulk items have already replaced miniature offerings in about a third of those rooms, per the BBC, and in many other hotels around the world. IHG chief executive Keith Barr notes pressure to react to environmental issues has increased significantly, with investors interested in "going through in detail what are we doing about our carbon footprint."
IHG says it will reduce its carbon footprint by 6% per occupied room by 2020. "We collectively as an industry have to lead where governments are not necessarily giving the leadership to make a difference," Barr says, noting IHG is also engaged in a pilot program to monitor waste from breakfast buffets. Indeed, a transition away from plastic plates and cutlery used for breakfast service at the company's hotels is "the next big thing to tackle," along with single-use plastic bottles, Barr says, per the Financial Times. The plan is a financial win, as it costs hotels more to provide miniature toiletries than to install and service refillable dispensers, which are expected to save IHG some 200 million bathroom miniatures each year, per the AP and NY Times. Greenpeace is now urging other hotels to follow suit, while California is considering a bill that would require the switch beginning in 2023. (Read more plastic stories.)