The City of Los Angeles will limit work hotel housekeepers have to do each day while also requiring hotels to return to daily housekeeping service. Hotels, though, say that housekeeping is bad for the environment:
Heather Rozman, executive director of the Hotel Assn. of Los Angeles, which opposed the measure, also suggested that by reintroducing daily room cleaning the measure would force hotels to use more water in a time of “unprecedented drought.”
…“Mandatory daily room cleaning would increase the use of water, as well as electricity and gas in perpetuity,” she said.
While the lack of daily housekeeping means that trash piles up in rooms and hallways, that it’s tougher to clean rooms between guests since the rooms become dirtier, and thus it’s more likely new guests receive dirty accommodations, as long as hotels meet basic cleanliness standards it’s hard to see making daily housekeeping a law.
Nonetheless do not ever believe a hotel chain or lobbying association when they say their practices are intended to benefit the environment. And here remember that the biggest advance in the history of public health that extends lifespans is cleanliness.
Hotels wrap themselves in the mantle of the environment only when it saves them money or generates subsidies. Hotels claim to be eliminating individual shampoo bottles ‘for the environment’ and don’t mention the thousands of dollars a year they’re saving. A reader passes along a photo of the inner lid of a bulk toiletry soap dispenser at a SpringHill Suites property.
Bulk toiletries are a low-end disgusting experience. Here are just some of the issues:
- Authenticity While some upscale hotels in China have been known to distribute counterfeit branded toiletries even in individual bottles to save money, it’s far more likely that you’re getting what’s on the bottle when it’s in the bottle versus just refilled into a branded package on the wall. You don’t know what you’re really getting when you don’t see the package.
- Security Previous hotel guests might find it funny to put something other than shampoo or bath gel in the bottles, or to mix them up. Last year someone replaced the soap in dispensers at the Detroit airport with bodily fluid and you don’t know who was staying in your room before you.
- Germs I just don’t believe that the dispensers themselves get thoroughly cleaned and sterilized between guests. Here’s a National Institutes of Health study on bacterial contamination of bulk-soap-refillable dispensers.
- Availability Housekeeping just doesn’t refill these, the way it’s obvious when a bottle has been opened or is missing.
- Experience. It’s not a premium experience. There’s no ‘take away’ to remember the stay.
Indeed I use shampoo and bath gel at home that I discovered at a hotel, I imagine many of you do too.
If hotels cared about the environment they’d adopt premium single use biodegradable toiletries. I first used those at a Portland hotel more than a decade ago. Capital One stocks them for their Dallas – Fort Worth lounge showers. They’re better for the environment than bulk toiletries which themselves come in larger plastic bottles anyway.