New York lawmakers want to ban single-use hotel toiletries

An entire state may join the war against single-use plastics.

Long Island Democratic Senator Todd Kaminsky, in partnership with a group of lawmakers, is leading a campaign to ban individually-packaged amenities in New York state hotels with more than 50 rooms. If passed, the law would go into effect by 2023, and smaller hotels would be required to follow suit by 2024. The group estimates the move would eliminate about 27.4 million plastic bottles annually. 

Instead of miniature shampoo, conditioner and lotion bottles, travelers would get their lotions, potions and other liquid amenities either from wall-mounted refillable dispensers or reusable, recyclable bulk containers.

“By barring hotels from giving single-use plastic toiletries to customers, we are safeguarding our environment, and mitigating plastic waste and waterway pollution,” Kaminsky said in his proposal.

New York isn’t the first state to consider a statewide boycott of disposable plastic. California lawmakers are currently negotiating one of the nation’s strictest proposed laws against plastic pollution. If the California law goes into effect, businesses found offering individual-sized plastic bottle amenities could face hefty fines of up to $2,000 for repeat infractions.

The law mirrors a move that several hotel chains have already proactively implemented in recent years: Marriott and IHG both announced they would eliminate individual-use plastics entirely by 2021, and other brands have begun shifting away from tiny toiletry bottles as well.

Predictably, consumers have strong opinions on the topic of individual-use amenities. Frequent flyers recently raved to TPG about their favorite hotel toiletry brands, and some voiced concerns about quality control if hotel chains transitioned to dispensing amenities in bulk.

TPG’s engagement and loyalty editor, Richard Kerr, recently made a strong case against the switch as well — a perspective that was vehemently endorsed by a number of readers from the TPG Lounge Facebook group. “Single-use plastics are a scourge on the environment and need to be eliminated,” Kerr said. “However, instead of removing these plastics while simultaneously maintaining the customer experience, hotels have enacted a cost-cutting trend under the disguise of an environmentally-friendly move.”

Featured photo courtesy of Duxton.