California bans plastic single-use hotel toiletries
The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom as reported by Associated Press on 10 October has signed a bill which will ban hotels from providing guests with individual plastic amenity bottles as part of their hotel stay.
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When is the ban effective?
The ban is not immediate but will be phased in over four years, with large hotels (over 50 rooms) being compliant by 2023, and smaller hotels (under 50 rooms) given an extra year.
And the fines are . . .
Those who don’t comply can be fined US$500 for a first offence and US$2,000 for subsequent offences. Presumably, each bottle is an offence – so it could very easily add up for offenders.
World wide anti plastics trend
This initiative is part of a worldwide trend in the hotel industry, as large brands like Marriot, IHG and even Walt Disney have promised to contribute to the reduction of plastics in the environment by banning single-use toiletries. Of course, some existing brands, especially those that have environmental protection at their core, like Six Senses have never used single-use plastic toiletries.
The Californian government is adding to initiatives it has already implemented to help reduce plastic waste, banning free plastic grocery bags, and plastic straws in restaurants (although you can still request them).
Although some commentators have wondered why such a ban would take so long to implement, I applaud the timescale, as it offers businesses options about how the transition.
We know from such initiatives as the no smoking ban, that behaviour change is best introduced gradually. In the case of smoking, most businesses banned it in actual offices, while allowing it in shared spaces, then banned it in those spaces, and then in places serving food, then bars, then whole buildings, and now, we have CBD’s and complete streets having bans. That transition has taken 20 to 30 years, but it has happened with barely a grumble.
I hope the big hotels use a similar stage method – maybe not automatically adding new single use bottles, as soon as the initially provided ones are opened and only offering new bottles on request. Then moving to larger in-room options, but still offering single-use on request. Then dropping single-use altogether.
There is a bunch of discussion about the hygiene aspect of all this, (see the comments here) but I am confident that hotels will work out some kind of tamper-proof method, or provide a solution that doesn’t involve plastic at all.
Oh well, I suppose that’s the end of my impressive single-use toiletry collection.