California Bans Single Use Plastic Toiletries From Hotels

Marriott and IHG have already announced that they’re getting rid of single use toiletries and replacing them with wall mounted bulk shampoo, bath gel, and conditioner.

Now customers in California won’t be able to vote with their feet looking for a more hygienic or luxurious alternative because Governor Newsom signed a bill that bans hotels from giving plastic bottles with shampoo, soap, or conditioner to guests.

  • Hotels with more than 50 rooms have to comply by 2023
  • Hotels with up to 50 rooms have until 2024

California is a sufficiently large hotel market that chains, which look to standardize their offerings, may follow California’s lead nationwide. And some other states will no doubt follow with their own similar rules.

The state’s plastic straw ban allows restaurants to give a straw to customers on request and that seems like it would have been a reasonable compromise here. Even better is hotels deciding to compete by offering single use toiletries in biodegradable packaging, of which there are many options.

Already we’re seeing guest reports of unfilled bulk dispensers and of foreign liquids being placed inside of dispensers in spite of their supposed safety packaging.

My only advice, I suppose, is to bring your own – which really shouldn’t be necessary in the upper upscale lodging segment. Since this is coming out of California, it would be interesting to see another large state – say, Texas – banning wall-mounted bulk toiletries on hygiene grounds. The environmental narrative will win out, of course, even if it’s a fig leaf for cost-cutting and single use biodegradables would be better for the environment and for guests.

(HT: Doctor of Credit)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I have researched this area very extensively, and I can assure you that today there is no biodegradable packaging that exists for these applications (shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, mouthwash, etc). With any luck, biodegradable packaging may exist by 2023. But, we have an environmental emergency today and we have to find solutions within the framework of what is realistically available today.

  2. Sorry Ari but there is no “emergency” except in the head of the communists who think they should dictate what consenting adults can do. This has nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with hotels saving $$$ and politicians collecting contributions from the hotels and enviro-nuts.
    I hope you don’t get a foreign substance in all of your hotel shampoos.

    I will be happy when the day arrives for me to relocate permanently out of Kalifornia and will be spending my travel $$$ elsewhere.

  3. I’ve already said this on this thought provoking clickbait blog previously….First of all Marriott and others wanted this legislation as the wall garbage saves them money. Second of all, this legislation does not ban all single use containers though lazy bloggers will seem to continue to not explain this.

  4. I expect every one of you to join along with me and make a HUGE FREAKING DEAL out of it whenever your wall-mounted bottles are empty in your room. I mean indignant, huffy, DYKWIA calls to the front desk. Make it the most painful and annoying request the hotel has to deal with and they’ll make sure to keep them filled up.

  5. I strongly prefer this to the microplastics (products of single use plastic breakdown) and associated health risks that are proliferating throughout our environment including our drinking water.

  6. All this fuss about stuff you put OUTSIDE your body and not a concern for the real issues – food prep not kept at correct temp or chefs that cough on food or don’t wash their hands or flight attendants with hep a who expose a whole plane (recent event).
    I’m willing to bet the incidence of illness from food consumed at restaurants FAR exceeds any real damage from soap (or even foreign substance) you put outside your body!!!!

  7. These hotel chains should at least continue to stock individual size toiletries “upon request.” I vastly prefer these for hygiene reasons (and at luxury properties to take home with me as a memory!).

  8. To all of u, why all the fuss about shampoo and bath gel? Just bring your own. Why is that so difficult to comprehend or are u all just so darn cheap that u cant afford shampoo and bath gel?

  9. Maybe they should have went the fig leaf way and let you decline individual toiletries, like you can decline housekeeping. Declining housekeeping is another cost-cutting measure masquerading as environmentalism.

    This is grossly unhygienic. And hotels also lose the differentiator in luxe toiletries (like Aromatheraphy, Shanghai Tang, etc.).

  10. I guess I have to pick one side: (1) I decide I’m worried about what’s in the large containers, and I bring my own supplies, or (2) I decide I’m not worried, and I bring empty liter bottles and refill them from the hotel room.

    And yes, I would make a huge stink if I found a container empty when I needed it, since a previously working scheme was eschewed in favor of an inferior one — much as I make a huge stink if my electronic key card stops working, since actual metal keys had a much higher success rate.


  11. @steve s. I’m going to make up for you and thank them 1000 times a day for not using single use Plastics. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Too bad Kalifornia hasn’t banned needles, feces, and broken car window glass on the streets. Nah that’s too hard, let’s tackle the big problems. Incidentally, the vast majority of plastic in the oceans comes from China and SE Asia, so these feel good measures do nothing except make a few people feel smug and the rest of us poorer.

  13. Oh my God. This is literally the end of civilization. No one will ever be able to live again. This is pure horror. Absolute horror

  14. Joey’s right (If the sarcasm was read correctly). Gary: You need to stop with the implied negative narrative on this. I truly don’t understand why you have a problem with this, unless you have shares in Sysco (suppliers of most of the single use bottles)

    Get over it, start bringing your own, and make a small change in the world

  15. @ Joey
    At the very least it should be the subject of an emergency debate at the United Nations; and a referral to the International Court of Justice to deal with Newsom. In respect of outrageousness it’s right up there with transgender bathroom choices and similar life-changing issues.

  16. “…single use biodegradables would be better for the environment and for guests.” No! No! No! Biodegradable products, yes, but you ignored the problem of the plastic bottles they come in — and, of course, no glass in the bathroom. I strongly support your “BYO” toiletries solution. I already do that and put anything supplied by the property somewhere obvious but out of my way to make sure housekeeping doesn’t replace them and mess up my arrangement. And the high-end customers can rough it. Crocodile tears! Now, let’s tackle the plastic cups. “Dam the torpedoes. Full speed ahead.!”

  17. Excellent move. Gavin has done some very good things while in various California office, and this is another. We have our own small (311-compliant) containers that we fill at home from larger bottles and bring.

    The argument that this “really shouldn’t be necessary in the upper upscale lodging segment” is basically tantamount to “I paid a lot and I’m a elf-important dickhead who shouldn’t have to worry about my impact on anyone else because I’ve paid for the right to pollute.”

    Ideally more states will follow.

    And, yeah, a lot of folks will disagree with this. Get over it; it’s being pushed by those more in tune with what’s going on and it’s happening.


  18. The People’s Republic of Austin is envious … according to local news reports. We fully expect the city council to redirect dealing with out-of-control “hobo” camps throughout Austin and instead address a ban of single use toiletries, plastic straws, cups, plates and eating utensils. The Austin UnAmerican Statesman will also cease newspaper production and now make toilet paper since that is pretty much the best use anyway.
    Two words… Term Limits!

  19. which really shouldn’t be necessary in the upper upscale lodging segment. Thus the upscale should be exempt! Should not apply to the !% only the lower 99%. The upscale lodging should be able to make the earth worse off and global warming does not exist to them. STUCK UP A$$.

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