FUTURE FORWARD

California To Ban Single-Use Plastic Containers From Hotels in 2023

The state will be the first to abolish wasteful personal care items, followed by New York in 2024

Peace out tiny, wasteful disposable toiletry containers
Peace out tiny, wasteful disposable toiletry containers

By AHL Editorial Team on 12.29.22

Long the time when travelers used to hoard tiny toiletry bottles and other hotel memorabilia in minute plastic vessels — at least in California. As the new year kicks in, the Golden State will take another step towards a sustainable tomorrow. Following a bill signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019, as of January 1st, 2023, Californian hotels with more than 50 rooms will cease to provide guests with personal care products such as shampoo, conditioner, or soap in single-use plastic containers. The measure will roll out to smaller establishments in 2024. 

We are addicted to plastic as a society. I do hope my colleagues view this as a common-sense piece of legislation. – Ash Kalra

“We are addicted to plastic as a society,” said Ash Kalra, the bill’s author. “I do hope my colleagues view this as a common-sense piece of legislation that once again puts us forward as leaders when it comes to trying to reduce our plastic consumption and leaders on issues of the environment.” The law mandates a fine of $500 for the first offense and $2000 for subsequent offenses. California has been at the forefront of the battle against plastic consumption and further waste production — from prohibiting grocery stores from supplying free single-use plastic bags to allowing restaurants to offer customers straws only upon request.

According to data, only nine percent of the 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste is recycled. The remaining end up in landfills or in open water, causing harm to all living creatures and the environment. The United Nations estimates 80% of the trash that floats in the oceans is plastic, with North America being the third largest contributor. Over a million marine birds and animals die from plastic ingestion each year.

With the ban in place, hotels in California are expected to move to more sustainable alternatives, such as using refillable dispensers — which decreases the hotel’s overall plastic waste output and eliminates discarding unused liquids. Further, this move also helps hotels reduce costs in the long run. Some of the world’s largest hotel chains, such as Marriott International and InterContinental Hotel Group, have already implemented similar shifts in their offerings beginning as early as 2020. 

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California To Ban Single-Use Plastic Containers From Hotels in 2023 Casa Cody, California

Casa Cody, California

California To Ban Single-Use Plastic Containers From Hotels in 2023 AutoCamp, New York

AutoCamp, New York

California To Ban Single-Use Plastic Containers From Hotels in 2023 Hotel 850, California

Hotel 850, California

California To Ban Single-Use Plastic Containers From Hotels in 2023 EDITION Hotels

EDITION Hotels

California To Ban Single-Use Plastic Containers From Hotels in 2023 The Civilian, New York

The Civilian, New York

California To Ban Single-Use Plastic Containers From Hotels in 2023 Handmade soaps on sale at Farmhouse Inn, California

Handmade soaps on sale at Farmhouse Inn, California

As more companies follow suit, so are other states. New York became the second state to enforce the law, and it goes into effect starting January 1, 2024, for hotels with 50 rooms or more and a year later for hotels with lesser capacities. The bill, led by State Senator Todd Kaminsky and Assemblymember Steve Englebright, prohibits non-reusable plastic containers with less than a twelve-ounce capacity in use at hotels and motels. 

With more and more people growing conscious of environmental impacts, state governments and hotels working in tandem to realize the same is undeniably a step in the right direction toward a more sustainable, plastic-free future. While hotels proceed to adapt future-forward initiatives, the onus also lies on customers to continually question, challenge, and support hospitality establishments to go over and beyond to make their imprint on the planet lighter. And as we say goodbye to the hotel room staples we have all come to expect in their take-me-home packaging, it is time to welcome and embrace the more environmentally friendly fixtures.

Check out all California hotel reviews on A Hotel Life

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