When it comes to the environment, the European Union (EU) seems to be ahead of the US. They completed their ban on single use plastic plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks and “cotton buds” (I think those are Q-Tip type things) well over a year ago. Frankly, it felt good to be served our hot dogs and other snacks in Iceland with wooden utensils, non-plastic straws (except if they’re paper. I hate paper straws. It’s a mouthfeel thing. I’d rather use no straw than a paper straw), etc.
However the U.S. had an environmental head start on the EU in one way – banning single use toiletries. Both California and New York started planning such bans back in 2019, and Hawaii announced plans for its own ban earlier this year. But that’s just 3 states out of 50. The EU (composed of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden) is now seriously looking at banning single use toiletries in hotels, and they have a much larger plan.
At this point, European Commission has announced plans to review the current Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD). The goal of the review is to further improve packaging design to enable cost-effective recycling, and to reduce packaging waste.
The bottom line is that the European Commission wants to ban single-use packaging that’s regularly distributed in hotels, such as mini-soap bottles. But they’re also focusing on packaging for condiments, milks and sugars, all as part of its overall legal proposals to reduce waste.
The new rules would have to be approved by EU member states and the European parliament, but they’re intended to tackle the continued increase in the use of plastic and other packaging waste.
The draft regulation proposes, among other things, mandatory deposit and returns for single-use plastic drinks bottles and metal cans, as well as stopping e-commerce firms from packaging small items in huge boxes.
With the regulation, some “avoidable packaging” would face an outright ban. Examples would include mini-shampoo, conditioner, body gel or lotion bottles in hotels and single-use packaging for small quantities of fruit and vegetables. Hotels, cafes and restaurants would also no longer be able to use throwaway cups and plates if consumers are dining in.
No date has been given for the hotel toiletry bans under the latest proposals, but the EU’s goal would also be to make all remaining packaging recyclable by 2030.
Of course, some international chains, such as Marriott, IHG, Hyatt, Hilton and Accor, have been phasing out single-use toiletries from all of their hotel brands for the past few years. However some hotels are going to have to make similar changes, whether they like it or not, if the EU’s rules on packaging are indeed updated.
H/T: The Independent
Featured Image: Hotel Complimentary products
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