Reducing plastic waste can be difficult for hotels, where bulk supply and mass production are crucial to keep operations running smoothly. Today at the Managed by Marriott (MxM) GM’s conference, Marriott International unveiled that it will be replacing small plastic soap, shampoo, and conditioner bottles with in-shower dispensers. The dispensers will be required at all MxM hotels, but will be optional for franchisees.
The plastic-saving initiative is tied to Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction, Marriott’s platform to refresh sustainability and social impact efforts by 2025, and Marriott executives are excited by the program’s possibilities. Vice president of sustainability for Marriott, Denise Naguib, says, “This is a win-win from a sustainability perspective, operational perspective, and financial perspective.”
Environmentally, the program is expected to save an average of 250 lbs. of plastic per year for a 140-room hotel—approximately 23,000 plastic bottles. Guests were also enthusiastic about the program throughout Marriott’s pilot testing. “There was almost universally positive feedback from out guests. We wanted to make sure that if a guest really wanted to have their own amenity bottles they could take them, they were still available on request,” Naguib says.
Installing the dispensers in the showers has been a fairly easy process, says Liam Brown, president, franchising, owner services and MxM select brands, North America, “It’s really seamless,” he describes. “The product is well thought-out and high-quality. It also looks nice. All in all, it’s good from both economic and environmental perspectives, as well as good for our people and our guests.”
The dispensers have especially been embraced by housekeepers, who no longer need to carry around plastic amenity bottles on carts. Now, they can simply replace the big bottle that’s loaded in the dispenser. Naguib says, “One innovation we implemented during the pilot program was due to housekeeper feedback. During the pilot phase, we were getting reports that housekeepers couldn’t tell how much product was inside the bottles without opening them. So supplier Paul Mitchell developed bottles with a window so housekeepers can quickly determine if it needs to be replaced.”
Replacing small plastic bottles with the dispenser also positively impacts owners’ bottom lines, saving between $1,000 to $2,000 per year.
Marriott is watching this initiative closely to look for further opportunities to be more environmentally friendly. Brown says, “We need to look at the application across our entire portfolio, and other brands may be willing to have a look at this. From a future perspective, we need to learn as much as we can from it.”
Each of the 450 MxM branded hotels in North America are required to adopt the initiative. However, franchisees from other brands can also choose to participate, and Naguib adds, “Many of our franchisees share our values and are just as passionate as we are about subjects like this. It’s part of our DNA, and we’re always looking towards opportunities that make a difference. This is one.”