After pledging to eliminate all single-use plastic, across its portfolio of luxury hotels, by the end of March 2021, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has shared the first progress report that highlights both the achievements made to date and some of the challenges encountered.
The Group has committed to eliminating single-use plastic across all areas of the hotels, including rooms, spa, transport, restaurants and bars as well as in those areas unseen by the guest, such as offices, kitchens and back of house. Initially, the focus was on 60 of the most commonly used single-use items identified by hotels which are estimated to make up 95% of the total number of single-use plastic items used at our hotels. These items have either been eliminated or are in the process of being phased out as current plastic stock is depleted.
On-site water bottling has been introduced at the Group’s hotels in Hong Kong, Macau, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Taipei, Geneva, London, Miami and New York. Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur abolished almost half a million plastic water bottles from rooms and food and beverage facilities in a year.
Many of the other most commonly used plastic items have been replaced with eco-alternative materials: re-usable cloth laundry bags and shoe mitts, paper, metal or bamboo straws, natural loofahs, wooden spatulas and metal tasting spoons in the kitchens. Many bathroom amenities have been replaced with sustainably certified non-plastic alternatives, including cotton pads, razors, earbuds, shower caps and shaving foam. Hotels are also experimenting with wall-mounted dispensers to replace small plastic shower gel, shampoo and conditioner containers, and are working with luxury brands such as Fig & Yarrow, and Diptyque to ensure they can be filled and re-filled with appropriate, chemical free produce.
Some materials, however, like cling film and waste bags, are both difficult to eliminate or find truly sustainable alternatives for. Trials are currently underway to replace cling film with reusable items that can be easily sanitized, including containers, silicone and beeswax wraps, and waste bags with water-soluble toxin-free options. Alternatives for toothpaste tubes have also proved difficult to find, but after many months of supplier research, the Group is now offering toothpaste bites. These small tablets of toothpaste are packaged in FSC-certified paper and are currently being introduced across the Group.
We set ourselves an ambitious goal of eliminating all single-use plastic from our premises by the end of March 2021. Whilst our timeline is likely to be adjusted as a consequence of the pandemic, we remain focused on achieving our goals and we believe we can provide valuable leadership to our industry and to the world at large. I am delighted at how our colleagues have wholly embraced this challenge as part of our joint commitment to deliver on the Group’s sustainability responsibilities. – James Riley, Group Chief Executive
Mandarin Oriental is collaborating with its suppliers to drive responsible procurement and provide alternative products that are both viable and suitable for the luxury hotel environment. The next progress report will be issued in October 2020.