Teeny Tiny But Whoa Do They Add Up

Teeny Tiny But Whoa Do They Add Up

(Image courtesy of https://www.pexels.com/)

After a recent family trip, we were unloading the car and doing the inevitable unpacking ---- laundry, trash, ski googles (lightly used…it was not a good run for this novice skier) and bottle after bottle of cute little toiletries.  About nine to be exact consisting of shampoo, conditioner and body wash.    That got me wondering – is this an area of zero waste that is overlooked?…. oh yeah.


One international hotel chain gave out more than 200 million single-use plastic items annually.   How did that number get so big?  Well the average large international hotel chain has more than 950,000 rooms globally.  So, say half those are double or triple occupancy and everyone gets a 3-piece toiletry set for the night then another and another for multiple nights.…well you can see where this is going.


What can you do as a traveler?


  • Re pack your existing full size toiletries from home in reusable 3 oz silicone bottles
  • Pack items in reusable silicone zipper bags (goodbye Ziploc baggies)…say I think Ecotropolis can help 😊..shop here
  • Swap out that plastic toothbrush for a sustainable bamboo toothbrush
  • Support green friendly hotels (https://www.smartertravel.com/green-travel-resources/) and tour operators
  • Decline the bottles of water offered at check-in as most hotels have communal water filling stations (that goes for airports too)
  • Call the front desk and ask to have the individually wrapped plastic cups in the rooms swapped out for glasses (any hotel with room service or a restaurant should be able to comply)


Several large hotel chains are replacing the plastic toiletries with either wall dispensers or glass, bulk-sized toiletries.  Other are replacing common hotel items usually made from plastic, including keycards, laundry bags and cups, with materials made from eco-friendly alternatives. 


Want an even scarier number? Around the world, five million hotel soaps make their way to landfills every single day.   But Clean the World aims turn those discarded slabs into a life-changing commodity.

With recycling centers in the United States and Hong Kong, the not-for-profit corporation has partnered with 5,000 hotels internationally to recycle soap from nearly one million hotel rooms daily, distributing them instead to families, schools and organizations in need.


Further Reading