InterContinental Hotel Group plans to remove about 200 million plastic miniature bottles of shampoo and other products from its nearly 843,000 guest rooms worldwide.

ONE OF THE world’s biggest hotel companies, InterContinental Hotel Group, has pledged to replace all miniature bottles of toiletries with bulk dispensers by 2021. That could mean some 200 million small plastic bottles removed from IHG’s almost 843,000 guest rooms worldwide.

The new plan to remove the tiny bottles dovetails with IHG’s existing pledge to remove plastic straws from its hotels by the end of this year. Several IHG brands have already started the change from bottles to bulk dispensers, including Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas and Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. Its voco Hotels, EVEN and avid brands offered bulk-size only from their beginnings, and IHG’s largest brand, Holiday Inn Express, has begun implementing the change at more than 1,000 hotels along with a number of Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.

“It’s more important than ever that companies challenge themselves to operate responsibly – we know it’s what our guests, owners, colleagues, investors and suppliers rightly expect,” IHG CEO Keith Barr said. “We’ve already made great strides in this area, with almost a third of our estate already adopting the change and we’re proud to lead our industry by making this a brand standard for every single IHG hotel. We’re passionate about sustainability and we’ll continue to explore ways to make a positive difference to the environment and our local communities.”

Another IHG sustainability initiative is its online Green Engage system that recommends ways for IHG branded hotels worldwide to manage their waste more effectively. Also, several IHG hotels have deployed software from technology company Winnow to automatically track, measure and reduce food waste in their restaurant and bar operations by 30 percent.

The IHG. This includes guidance on how hotels can handle, store, recycle and dispose of waste both on and off-site, to minimise environmental impact and costs.

IHG is not the first company to switch to bulk containers at least in part. Marriott International did it in 2019, and the lodging REIT Hersha Hospitality Trust has implemented a similar program (read more about Hersha’s sustainability efforts and its EarthView report, as well as IHG’s Green Engage, in the August issue of Asian Hospitality).

And in April California lawmakers proposed legislation, AB 1162, that would ban bottles smaller than four ounces and urge hotels to switch to bulk dispensers instead. Set to take effect in 2023, the bill, sponsored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra of San Jose, aims to reduce the amount of plastic sent to landfills and therefore into the environment.