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End of the road for bathroom miniatures as IHG opts for bulk-size amenities to reduce plastic waste

July 31, 2019 Hotel News No Comments Email Email

IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group), one of the world’s leading hotel companies, has today announced that its entire hotel estate of almost 843,000 guest rooms will switch to bulk-size bathroom amenities, with the transition to be completed in 2021. Building on its efforts to reduce plastic waste as part of a broader sustainability agenda, this pledge makes IHG the first global hotel company to commit all brands to removing bathroom miniatures in favour of bulk-size amenities.

Keith Barr, CEO, IHG, commented: “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. Switching to larger-size amenities across more than 5,600 hotels around the world is a big step in the right direction and will allow us to significantly reduce our waste footprint and environmental impact as we make the change.

“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.”

IHG currently has an average of 200 million-bathroom miniatures in use across its entire hotel estate every year. As the new brand standard is adopted between now and 2021, the company expects to see a significant reduction in plastic waste. This commitment builds on IHG’s pledge to remove plastic straws from its hotels by the end of 2019, and a number of broader waste reduction initiatives already in place. IHG remains a constituent of the FTSE4Good Index, and recently joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Economy 100 network, signalling its commitment to working with cross-industry partners to build a more sustainable world.

Joe Murphy Lead of the CE100, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation said: “We welcome IHG’s action to reduce plastic waste through this new commitment. Achieving a circular economy will be a challenging journey, but by working together we can find solutions to design out waste, keep materials in use, and regenerate our environment.”

Ensuring a quality guest experience

Switching to bulk-size amenities is a tried and tested approach at IHG. Whether for business or leisure, hotel guests increasingly want their stays to be more sustainable without any impact on the quality of their experience. Several IHG brands in the Australasia region are already achieving this today, receiving positive guest feedback on the quality of product and the larger volume on offer:

  • IHG’s voco™ Hotels in Australia including Gold Coast and Kirkton Park locations have offered bulk-size Aveda amenities since launch, working closely with suppliers to offer dispensers and products that retain a quality feel.
  • Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas offers bathroom products in refillable ceramic dispensers across its entire luxury estate, whilst Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants is already moving to larger-size amenities.

Saying no to single-use plastics

  • In October 2018, IHG announced the removal of single-use plastic straws from its hotels globally by the end of 2019. The new brand standard represents an average of 50 million straws removed from IHG’s hotel estate each year, enough to stretch all the way from New York to Tokyo.
  • Created with sustainability in mind, IHG’s voco Hotels brand works with suppliers to provide duvets and pillows that are filled with 100% recycled materials. This equates to 150 plastic bottles per guest room diverted from landfill.
  • voco Hotels, including Gold Coast and Kirkton Park locations, are also using biodegradable take-away coffee cups, instead of traditional alternatives, to reduce the impact on the environment.

Reducing waste for a sustainable future

  • The IHG Green Engage™ system is a well-established online sustainability programme, which recommends ways for IHG branded hotels worldwide to manage their waste more effectively. 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.
  • Several IHG hotels have partnered with technology company Winnow to automatically track, measure and reduce food waste for more sustainable and efficient restaurant and bar operations. Winnow’s award-winning AI enabled technology will help IHG hotels achieve a 30% reduction in food waste.

Reducing our impact on the environment with our eco-friendly approach

  • In an effort to protect our precious eco-system, IHG has begun using environmentally-friendly products across various IHG locations across Australia, including Hayman Island by InterContinental, voco Gold Coast and voco Kirkton Park. These products include sunscreen and various bathroom amenities that are made from renewable plant-based origins that do not negatively impact the ecosystem.

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