Hotel chain bans tiny toiletries to cut down on plastic waste

Hotel chain bans tiny toiletries to cut down on plastic waste
Copyright ©InterContinental Hotels Group
Copyright ©InterContinental Hotels Group
By Rosie Frost
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200 million plastic packaged personal care items provided by hotels end up in landfill each year but what are the alternatives?


If you travel regularly for work or for pleasure, chances are you have a collection of teeny tiny shampoos and shower gels collecting dust somewhere on a shelf or in a drawer. Often grabbed just because they are there, these miniatures are already starting to be replaced by bulk-sized creams and washes in a lot of hotels.

One of the world's leading hotel companies has announced this week that they will be banning bathroom miniatures from their entire estate of almost 843,000 rooms. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) estimates that this move will stop around 200 million miniature toiletries from potentially finding their way into the trash each year.

IHG CEO, Keith Barr, said in a press release "It's more important than ever that companies challenge themselves to operate responsibly," citing the banning of miniatures as part of a greater strategy to ensure the hotel group is meeting the sustainability expectations of its guests.

These expectations are even driving policy makers to consider legislation banning tiny toiletries in all hotels. California law makers are hoping to bring in a ban by 2023 that will prohibit hotels from providing miniature plastic bottles for personal care products.

With strict restrictions on baggage, it can be particularly difficult to bring your usual full sized products and buying miniatures yourself only shifts the problem, not to mention the difficulty of resisting the temptation of free things. How, then, do you take everything you need to stay squeaky clean without contributing to the plastic problem?

Solid Shampoo and Conditioner

Shampoo and conditioner bars are a great option when it comes to keeping your hair clean when travelling. Often packaged without plastic, these bars can easily be taken in your luggage without falling foul of liquid restrictions. Many are now on the market that cater all types of hair so there is really no excuse. You can find some of the best bars for dry hair here.

Ethique Frizz Wrangler Shampoo

Ethique, Frizz Wrangler, £12.99 Shop Now

Mouthwash and Toothpaste Tablets

Toothpaste and mouthwash tabs are another way you can reduce the plastic you take away with you. Glass bottles and cardboard packaging make them plastic free so you can avoid plastic waste whilst still maintaining your oral hygiene. Georganics make a full range of dental care products and other options that include those with fluoride can be found in this article.

Georganics Orange Mouthwash TabletsGeorganics

Georganics, Orange Mouthwash Tablets, £8.90 Shop Now

Cotton buds and pads

Cotton pads may seem relatively innocent but are often wrapped in plastic to keep them clean. Its not just this, though, that can be harmful to the environment. Non-organic cotton can put a huge strain on the environment and conventional cotton uses an incredible amount of water in its production. You can find some organic options here or how about reusable options like these cotton pads?

Hollland and Barrett
Holland and Barrett reusable cotton padsHollland and Barrett

Holland and Barrett, Reusable Cotton pads with wash bag, £8.00 Shop Now


Instead of taking that plastic water bottle out of the minibar and costing yourself a ridiculous amount of money try taking a refillable bottle with you when you travel. As long as it is empty you can take it through airport security and refill it on the other side for free. Chilly's offer an array of different colours and will also keep your drinks both hot and cold.

Chilly's Icon Cherry Bottle

Chilly's, Icons Cherry 500ml Bottle, £25.00 Shop Now

Solid Soaps and Body Washes

Like solid conditioners, there is no need to buy expensive, plastic heavy miniatures if your usual body wash is already hand luggage friendly. Soap bars are not what they used to with highly moisturising offerings widely available and making this bathroom swap could be beneficial to your everyday waste production too. Lush not only have an incredible, wonderfully perfumed selection but they also sell tins to fit your soap and make it easier to travel with.

Rosie Frost
Lush Sea Salted Caramel SoapRosie Frost

Lush, Sea Salted Caramel Soap, £6.00 per 120g Shop Now

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