Planet vs. Plastics: Why Sustainable Hotels Are the Future of the Hospitality Industry

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Every Earth Day, millions of people worldwide join together to celebrate and raise awareness for more eco-friendly, sustainable practices for individuals and corporations alike. In the spirit of Earth Day’s theme “Planet vs Plastics,” Clean the World wants to highlight how the hospitality industry is transforming its practices to reduce plastic pollution and mitigate environmental impact globally.

Fast Facts on Plastic Pollution:

Before we delve into what hotels are doing to embrace sustainability and reduce plastic pollution, let’s highlight the why. How much is plastic truly impacting our planet?

Discarded plastic amenities can linger in our environment for up to 500 years, posing a lasting threat to wildlife, ecosystems, and even the food we eat.

The hospitality industry produces 289,700 tons of waste annually.

Of the estimated 44 million tons of plastic waste managed in 2019, approximately 86% was landfilled, 9% was combusted, and only 5% was recycled.

For the hospitality industry specifically, this growing shift to embrace sustainability is a response to the sheer amount of plastic pollution and greenhouse gasses hospitality properties omit. In the past, hotels often only used single-use plastics in their operations, including shampoo and conditioner bottles, coffee cups, laundry bags, etc. Single-use plastic is convenient, cheap, and ever-present, but the damage it creates cannot be ignored. Despite these startling statistics, the hospitality industry can play a major role in combating the negative impacts of plastic on our planet.

How Hotels Are Addressing Plastic Pollution

Recognizing their responsibility and utilizing their influence, hotels around the world are implementing innovative strategies to combat plastic pollution. Many of their sustainable practices can be divided into immediate and gradual solutions.

One significant immediate solution many hotels have already adopted involves transitioning from single-use plastic to large-format bathroom amenities like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion. Additionally, leading hospitality establishments like Hilton also implement digital key cards and fabric laundry bags, significantly minimizing plastic usage.

Moreover, a gradual approach hospitality properties use to create more sustainable business practices focuses on eco-friendly sourcing. By demanding green alternatives from suppliers, hotels are ensuring that more and more of the products and services they provide are reducing waste. Non-plastic straws, bulk condiment containers, wood toothbrushes, and recycled plastic fabric furniture covers are becoming commonplace, thanks to the commitment of brands like IHG and Wyndham. Both of these actions, immediate and gradual, have an incredible impact on how much plastic pollution hotels are producing.

Whether a hotel uses single-use or large-format bathroom amenities, Clean the World’s Global Hospitality Recycling Program is here to meet hotels’ recycling needs to make the world a better place. By recycling soap and plastic, whether single-use or large format, with Clean the World, hospitality partners are actively reducing their environmental footprint by ensuring their recycled items don’t end up in landfills. In fact, hotels have diverted a remarkable 8,643,414 pounds of waste from landfills by recycling with Clean the World. This incredible impact is all thanks to the commitment of over 8,300 hospitality partners around the world.

The Future of Sustainable Hotels and the Hospitality Industry

By prioritizing sustainability and reducing plastic use and production, hotels around the world are setting a commendable example of the positive impact that the hospitality industry can have on the planet. While the journey towards environmental stewardship is ongoing, together, we can strive to build a future where the earth thrives, free from plastic pollution.

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