Unless you’re staying in a no-frills place (like the hotel that prides itself on being the worst in the world), chances are good that your hotel is going to offer basic toiletries. Soap for sure, usually shampoo and sometimes even lotion. For decades, the liquids were in little, single-use bottles.
Joe has collected those little bottles for years. He considers it a game to figure out where he got them. Me, I always bring my own soap with me (Joe thinks it’s one of my travel quirks. It’s not.). But I’ll take them if I like how they smell (especially the ones you could use as part of a fancy dinner. No, really!)
In the late 2010s, hotels started doing away with single-use toiletries. It was, of course, a way to stop millions of little bottles from winding up in landfills and messing up the environment. It was also a cost saver because hotels could buy shampoo, liquid soap, etc., in bulk. (fortunately, there was still a place that took and did awesome things with leftover cakes of soap).
Although usually more reactive in innovation, Disney is always the first to figure out ways to make or save themselves money. So it wasn’t surprising that theirs were some of the first hotels to do away with single use toiletries (Disney also had a great system of how to get rid of its leftover food but that, unfortunately, ended with the pandemic) in 2018.
In 2019, major hotel companies such as IHG, Hyatt, Hilton and Marriott also pledged to ditch their single-use toiletries. That same year, California said they would ban single-use plastics in hotel rooms starting on January 1, 2023 (hotels with less than 50 rooms would have until 2024).
Not long after California announced their intended ban, senators from New York announced a proposal that would require larger hotels with 50 rooms or more to phase out single-use toiletries by Jan. 1, 2023 (smaller hotels would have an extra year).
It took a while for the proposal to get through the red tape, but on December 23rd, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill that, effective Jan. 1, 2024, will prohibit hotels with over 50 rooms from supplying its guests with small plastic bottles containing personal care products such as body lotion, shampoo and conditioner (the law specifies they can’t use bottles under 12 ounces). Smaller hotels, again, have an extra year to comply.
State Senator Todd Kaminsky, D-9th District, the sponsor of the bill applauded its signing.
“Simple, commonsense actions like eliminating disposable plastic bottles in hotels can make an enormous difference in safeguarding our environment for generations to come,” Kaminsky said. “By working with the hospitality industry to prohibit hotels from distributing single-use toiletries, we will eliminate more than 27 million small plastic bottles annually in New York City alone.
“I was proud to sponsor this legislation, which marks an important step in combating single-use plastic pollution, protecting our marine life and setting an example for our nation.”
Of course, if you’re one to usually steal the hotel toiletries, you’ll still be able to, this way. 😉
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