top of page

5 Ways to Reduce Single-Use Plastic at Resorts

Updated: Feb 26

A wave of change is happening and single-use plastic is on its way out. Consumers, government, and industry–including the hospitality industry–have all woken up to the dangers of single-use plastic and they're taking a stand. There are many options to reduce plastic at resorts, with dozens of single-use items typically available. We've gotten you started with our top 5 recommendations.

We have a plastic problem and it weighs 300 million tons. Yes, that’s right, a staggering 300 million pounds of plastic is produced annually and half of this is single-use. Like the name implies, single-use plastic is designed with the expectation that it will end up in the trash after just one use. Water and soda bottles, shopping bags, packaging, and straws are all single-use culprits that are overwhelming our waste management systems, polluting our waterways, and contributing to climate change. 

Like many others, the hospitality industry was initially drawn to single-use plastic for the convenience factor. Now, these items are seemingly everywhere at resorts, and it’s estimated that the average 200 room property generates 300,000 pieces of single-use plastic in a month.

Fortunately, there’s increasing awareness about the devastating impact that single-use plastic has on the environment. Plastic bans are sweeping the globe and targeting single-use items like bags, straws, stirrers, and takeout containers. California passed a law banning mini bottles in hotels, with Washington and Hawaii looking to follow suit. India even banned the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of 19 single-use plastic items. 

A growing number of consumers also now prefer sustainable brands–1 in 3 according to a recent Unilever study–which is causing companies to pay attention…including the hospitality industry. Luckily, there are numerous alternatives available to offer a greener tourism experience, like biodegradable straws, eco-friendly keycards, and sustainable water bottles for resort rooms.

The Benefits of Going Plastic-Free

Travel is absolutely included in the shifting consumer sentiment toward sustainability. In fact, 83% of respondents in a recent survey cited sustainable travel as a priority. By leaning into this growing desire for a more eco-friendly hospitality experience, resorts will attract the growing number of travelers looking for environmentally-friendly options and build goodwill. (For more on how resorts can embrace sustainable travel, check out our recent blog post).

By focusing specifically on initiatives that reduce plastic at resorts, they can become more environmentally-friendly, and importantly, it’s something that guests will notice. It also has economic benefits as it allows resorts to reduce operational costs to improve the bottom line.  

Yes, we’re telling you that removing single-use plastics at your resort is a win-win-win. It’s better for the environment, attractive to guests, and cost effective. Now you’re surely ready to take the plunge into a plastic-free hospitality experience, and we’ve got a few tips to get you started. 

5 Tips to Reduce Plastic at Resorts

1. Eliminate plastic straws 

It’s estimated that Americans use 500 million plastic straws in a single day. Because straws fall into the crevices of recycling machinery, they’re not accepted by recycling centers, which means it’s straight to the landfill or into our environment, where they pollute rivers and oceans and hurt wildlife. 

As a result, several states already have a plastic straw ban in place, including Colorado, New York, Oregon, and Washington, DC. Major hotel chains, like the Four Seasons, Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott have also jumped on-board.

With multiple environmentally-friendly alternatives available–from the obvious like paper, to the exotic like lemongrass–eliminating plastic straws is a great first step to reduce plastic at resorts.  It’s also something that consumers are used to and often embrace. Plastic straws are so 2018, anyway. 

2. Replace plastic bags with biodegradable or reusable alternatives

Plastic bags are facing a similar fate to straws, with numerous bans in place globally. California paved the way in the U.S. with the nation’s first ban in 2014, that’s now proven to reduce the volume of plastic bags in the state by 85%. Since then, seven other states have also jumped on the bandwagon. 

Resorts can join this effort by swapping plastic trash and laundry bags in guest rooms with more sustainable options. The Akaryn Group in Asia–a worldwide leader in sustainable hospitality–uses biodegradable alternatives in guest rooms and also offers reusable shopping bags in wardrobes. This allows guests to skip the plastic bag when out shopping, thereby extending efforts to reduce plastic at resorts beyond the property’s perimeter.

3. Install bulk liquid toiletry dispensers

Replacing single-use toiletry bottles with bulk dispensers is an accessible change, with major impact–both environmentally and financially. Once ubiquitous in hotel rooms, these small plastic bottles are on their way out, through hospitality-led initiatives and statewide bans (currently in California and New York, and hopefully soon elsewhere).

Marriott’s switch to larger pump-style dispensers in guest bathrooms put a spotlight on the real impact this can have for the environment. The hotel chain reports that it saves 500 million small bottles from the trash each year, which is the equivalent of 1.7 million pounds of plastic. This sustainable swap can also lead to financial savings, as it allows resorts to buy liquid bath products in bulk. 

4. Source eco-friendly keycards 

For as long as we can remember, plastic keycards were pretty much a guarantee to unlock your hotel room. Luckily, resorts are wising up to more sustainable alternatives. 

If your resort is looking to transition away from plastic keycards, there are several options to choose from. Wood is as durable as plastic and easily biodegradable. It’s also possible to source wood for keycards from sustainably managed forests. Other options include stainless steel, or–one of our favorites–recovered ocean-bound plastic. 

Of course, you could ditch the card entirely and offer mobile keyless entry. When Hilton made this switch, they reported a reduction of 40 tons of plastic waste

5. Opt for sustainable water bottles for resort rooms & amenities

If you’re looking to eliminate single-use plastic on-site, don’t forget about plastic water bottles. When you consider that the average hotel uses 20,000 plastic water bottles in a month, it’s clear that this is an action that makes a big difference. 

The good news is that ditching the plastic doesn’t mean you need to abandon offering guests water bottles altogether. Mananalu is proud to offer resealable aluminum bottles, meaning they're sturdy enough to use throughout each guest’s stay. When guests are done, they can rest assured that bottles placed in the recycling bin will actually be recycled (unlike plastic, which is only recycled at a rate of 9%).

Mananalu is already working with several resorts, including the Twin Fin and Prince Waikiki in Honolulu, to create luxury hydration experiences. This includes offering two co-branded 22 oz. bottles of Mananalu in each guest room, water filtration stations available throughout the property, and easily accessible recycling bins. The Twin Fin estimates that their partnership with Mananalu has saved more than 200,000 plastic bottles from going into the ocean.

Better yet, when your resort partners with Mananalu on a sustainable water program, we remove one bottle’s worth of plastic from ocean-bound waste through our “Drink One, Remove One” program. So it’s double the impact, with no extra effort from you. Are you ready to join us on the journey to unplastic our planet?


1 comentário

Test your shooting prowess against a variety of oddball and unpredictable obstacles in this fast-paced and thrilling game basket random, and try to win.

bottom of page