With the growing awareness of resource scarcity and ever increasing waste problems, we are under immense pressure to analyse our operational processes and concentrate on improving our environmental sustainability. Recycling represents a large part of solving this global menace – plastic pollution. The hotel industry has a grave impact on the environment. It is therefore imperative that hotel groups must put a clear strategy in place to combat issues like carbon footprint. It has been observed that several hotel groups are reluctant to be a disrupter in this regard and change the way they operate. The messages which come through the media are loud and clear: our earth’s capacity to swallow unwanted plastic is almost exhausted. We must stop producing single use plastic, try and re-use plastic or even better, refrain from using it at all.
Over 300 million tonnes of plastic is being produced every year; where does it go? How many more times do we need to listen to the same story of how to re-cycle or re-use plastic? Suppliers of cleaning chemicals to large industries such as hotels and restaurant chains have made great progress over the years by providing highly concentrated cleaning liquids which can be dispensed in reusable plastic spray bottles. Taking cue from these manufacturers, cosmetic companies that supply bath amenities to hotel chains should also follow suit. Companies supplying guest amenities need to make it more lucrative to hotel chains and convince them to switch to dispenser systems. Governmental legislations would also help to ensure that hotels do not use any small single use plastic bottles for bath amenities anymore. When it comes to single use water bottles, many European countries add an additional fee to every plastic bottle purchased. This fee is returned, once the bottle is brought back to one of the recycling stations which are found next to the supermarkets.
Furthermore reducing plastic can also assist in cost savings, which will also be appreciated by our guests, as they would benefit from it. Implementing a change in the way we operate comes with an initial investment, but the ROI can be easily calculated and a long term gain can be put into perspective. Can we live without single-use plastic? Certainly we can. Plastic bags, plastic cutlery, take-away cups and plastic water bottles can be easily replaced with re-usable versions. Rather than sitting back and waiting for someone to start recycling or reusing plastic, businesses should act quickly to be early adopters and gain first mover’s advantage. Our future generations will certainly value our actions.