By 2021, the use of single-use plastic objects will be prohibited. This new directive was adopted by the European Parliament on 24 October 2018. It will have to be respected by all the countries of the European Union. Many sectors are concerned, including the hotel industry. As a major consumer of plastic, the accommodation sector must consider new solutions to prepare for this new law. Some hotel chains have already started to eliminate plastic in their establishments. We present some alternatives available to you hoteliers to reduce the consumption of this environmentally harmful material.
The hotel industry concerned by the excessive use of plastic
Today, plastic has invaded our daily lives. Packaging, crockery, bags, bottles, all these plastic objects are used excessively in an increasingly consumer society. However, only 26% of plastic waste in France is recycled. The rest mostly ends up in landfills and the oceans. A real scourge for the environment, plastic pollutes our environment and endangers the marine population. Today, nearly 80% of ocean pollution comes from plastic objects. Without government intervention, the World Economic Forum study says that there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.
Faced with this alarming observation on the excessive use of plastic, the European Parliament decided to react. From 2021, about ten objects will be definitively banned within the countries of the European Union. Straws, cotton buds, stirrers, cups, plates and plastic cutlery will be removed from sale. This new directive will have consequences for the management of hotel establishments. Between plastic cups, bottles, straws or even toilet bottles, hotels are big consumers of this material.
Hoteliers are starting to reduce their plastic consumption
Although the ban on disposable plastic objects will only take effect from 2021, some hoteliers have already changed their practices to reduce the use of this material. In 2018, Hilton became the first hotel chain to commit to the fight against plastics. The group has decided to eliminate the 20 million plastic bottles distributed to customers. With its new CSR program, Serve 360: Doing good in every direction, Marriott aims to permanently eliminate plastic straws and stirrers by July 2019.
This real awareness on the part of hoteliers is in line with the new expectations of the clientele. The new generation of travellers, the Millennials, is sensitive to climate issues. According to a study conducted by The Nielsen Company, the concept of sustainable development is a priority in the purchasing decisions of this generation. Nearly 66% of them would be prepared to pay a higher price for products and services sold by companies committed to the environment.
Solutions to combat plastic in the hotel industry
To reduce their plastic consumption, hotel groups have been looking at using more environmentally friendly materials. The traditional plastic straws are replaced by a biodegradable model. Straws made of paper, ice or seaweed, the alternatives are numerous. Hoteliers with a small budget can opt for a reusable model with bamboo or glass straws.
Other actions can be implemented in hotels to reduce the overall use of plastics:
• Favour the use of large dispensers of toiletries instead of traditional plastic sample bottles.
• Selecting suppliers involved in plastic packaging recycling
• Distributing reusable water bottles
• Replace disposable tableware with a biodegradable version
The Travel without plastic site offers a guide full of tips to help hoteliers reduce their plastic consumption. According to the site, implementing these changes could save up to 5,000 euros per year.
The new EU measure to ban the use of single-use plastic objects risks disrupting practices in the hotel industry. Today, it is essential to find alternatives to combat the excessive use of plastic that threatens our environment. This is why eco-responsible companies have started producing biodegradable objects that can be offered to travellers during their stay in a hotel. Bamboo straws, cellulose cups or edible capsules will be tomorrow's must-haves. It is therefore necessary for hoteliers to prepare for these changes.