I’ll admit at the outset that I am not in favor of hotels eliminating single-use toiletries. But, I’ve decided it is not worth losing sleep over. Instead, I’ve decided to bring my own.
My two esteemed colleagues, Ben Schlappig of One Mile at a Time and Gary Leff of View from the Wing–each brilliant in their own right–came down on opposite sides of the issue.
- It’s unhygienic
- It encourages use of counterfeit products
- They’re more likely to be left empty
While Ben argued:
- There’s not compelling evidence they are unhygienic
- You can also tamper with single-use toiletries
- Housekeepers have a process for cleaning rooms, and part of that process is checking how full the dispensers are
Ben points out that “no matter how you slice it, though, this will eliminate hundreds of millions of toiletry bottles per year, and will eliminate millions of pounds of plastic waste.”
He’s right. But frankly, I’m much more sympathetic to Gary’s argument. I don’t understand why Ben believes that single-use toiletries are just as likely to be tampered with when they are replaced for each new guest and often come sealed. Certainly, other guests are far less likely to tamper with them.
Pictures like this give me the creeps:
Bulk hotel toiletries are the best. Keep saving the world hotel companies. pic.twitter.com/Ix8UoCgqRR
— Richard Kerr (@KerrPoints) November 4, 2019
And we know that you never want to touch the drinking glasses in your hotel room. I just don’t trust hotels to keep such wall-mounted units clean.
My Solution: Bring Your Own
I was the kid in college who ratted out his roommates down the hall for smoking pot. One time they retaliated with a bit of of white liquid and some yellow liquid in my usually-orange facial cleanser. Maybe I’m just scarred by that, but lock or not, the idea of communal toiletries is not something I want to engage in.
Recently I was in a little guest house in Germany that had communal toiletries. I hated the smell of them. It reminded me that as much as I love to pack light, I frankly prefer to use my own (Le Labo) products and not anything else.
So my solution is simple. I’ll just bring my own. I’ll refill my little bottles. Easy as that. That way, I always have my favorite body wash, shampoo, and conditioner and I don’t have to worry about whether I like the scent or whether the communal bottles have been contaminated.
It’s tragic in a sense because I buy Le Labo Bergamote 22 because Hyatt introduced it to me. That scent always reminds me of my favorite Park Hyatt properties and now may be a missed marketing opportunity. But now I’ll just take it with me all over the world. I’m not convinced eliminating these bottles will do anything for the environment, but the train is moving and I see there is no stopping it. So picking my battles wisely, I’ll just stop complaining and start bringing my own stuff.
Finally, I do think hotels should be able to opt out of this if they pay a tax, similar to a carbon offset tax. Like with plastic water bottles in SFO, I see more constructive alternatives than bans. That said, no one is banning single-use toiletries outside fo California. Here, the hotels are choosing to package their love for the environment and love of money voluntarily…