Accor Eliminating Single-Use Plastics Globally

Filed Under: Accor, Hotels

Over the past several months we’ve seen Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott, all announce that they’ll be eliminating single-use toiletries from their hotels. All three companies plan to switch to reusable toiletries by 2021 at the latest.

It’s no surprise to see hotel groups follow one another, and I imagine soon enough reusable toiletry containers will be the norm. Well, now an additional hotel group has made a similar announcement.

Accor has announced that they plan to eliminate single-use plastics from the guest experience by the end of 2022.

Accor has over 120 million guests and serves more than 200 million meals each year. In addition to previous commitments to eliminate plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds, Accor’s new commitment includes:

  • The removal of individual plastic toiletry amenities and cups by the end of 2020
  • The elimination of all remaining single-use plastic items in guest rooms, meeting areas, restaurants, and all leisure activities areas (spas, fitness centers, etc.) by the end of 2022

For Accor’s purposes, single-use plastics are defined as disposable items that are used only once and then discarded. Examples include plastic straws, cotton buds, coffee stirrers, plastic cups, plastic bags for laundry or extra pillows, plastic water bottles, all plastic packaging (for food, welcome products, etc.), plastic take-away dishes and tableware, plastic gifts and welcome products (toiletries, slippers, pencils, etc), and plastic keycards.

As Accor CEO Sébastien Bazin describes the initiative:

“We are aware of the significant impact we have on our planet and our responsibility to create tangible benefits for our employees, guests, suppliers, partners and host communities. What guides us is the consciousness and social awareness that drives every person who strives to be a good citizen. It’s about being aware, socially conscious and consistent.”

Bottom Line

As I said when Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott made these announcements, this is a change I’m fully in support of, and that’s something I’ve evolved on over time. We’re talking about millions of plastic bottles being wasted, and that just seems silly.

Do I like little toiletry bottles? Sure, who doesn’t? But I also think this is the right move.

Now, the cynic in me absolutely believes that a big motivator here for hotels is cost savings. However, if you can do something that’s good for the planet and also save costs, then more power to you, in my opinion.

What do you make of this move from Accor?

  1. I will be fascinated to see how (and if) Accor achieves this – a remarkably ambitious target over a relatively short timeframe. Some of these changes will result in immediate cost savings, while others will likely require a not-insubstantial initial investment. Here’s hoping they succeed – the sooner we wean ourselves off our collective addiction to single-use plastics, the better.

  2. Reading the press release, they are already making good progress on a number of fronts, so they’ve worked out how to do it. It’s just a matter of rolling out their solutions worldwide.

    I’ll be staying at an Accor property tonight. Looking forward to it.

  3. I know these hotels haven’t saved any money with me or any of my employees. We’ve all got the bright idea to start refilling empty bottles and bringing them home to our wives. We used to bring just the little tiny bottles, but now we bring home full size ones!

  4. Interesting that they include key cards in their initiative – it’s a bold move, but will no doubt be complex and costly to implement

  5. The problem isn’t ‘plastic’ but ‘single use’.
    Instead of creating plastic waste, you cut down more trees to make wooden and paper straws and still have organic waste.

    It’s all financially motivated.

  6. I’m not sure I understand why eliminating these plastics is a better idea than just vowing to collect them and have them recycled for the same purpose. Something like how the milkman used to come to your house with the new milk and take away the empty containers. Then again, that sounds slightly more labor intensive and might cost a fraction more so I guess I answered my own question.

  7. These types of “problems” are always met by the theory of “if it sounds good, it must be good”. And in a society where the masses lack even a smidgen of intellectual curiosity, these “solutions” will play well.

  8. Absolutly disgusting. Had the big bottles now several times und 80 percent where just dirty und I didn’t wann to touch them let alone use them. The only ones that were clean, I’ve seen at the airline lounges. Worsed was Home2Suites where the bottles where easy to open.

  9. @Eskimo
    Straws are gross anyway, no matter the material. They should be outright banned in all good bars.
    Which man in their right mind uses them?

  10. I am disappointed about this changes in hotel industry. I want to have my individual toiletries and bottles of water. I really don’t care that much about environment, I always take care first of my comfort and then of environment and other things. Accor Hotels will not see me again, because I am not going to spend 200$ at Sofitel or Swissotel and then use bulk toiletries and be not have bottle of water, I simply wont.

    Ladies and Gentlemen if hotels would want to do something good for the environment they could just collect those bottles of Toiletries and re-use them not to take away things from guests. Each time they make Press release they eliminate something. Why they don’t say like that, don’t use individual toiletries and we give you 1000 bonus points per night. A lot of people would rather have 1000 bonus points than toiletries, that is fine. But leave people with choices, I still hope that Premium brands in IHG, Marriott and Accor would keep individual toiletries, maybe on request.

  11. @Betty – then bring your own toiletries (like most of us already do). Problem solved! It’s easy to find TSA-approved, leak-proof bottles that you can refill with your own, better quality stuff. No one is forcing you to use the “absolutely disgusting” shampoo in the shower. If you find it so disgusting, I find it hard to imagine that you’d be using the hotel’s branded stuff anyhow. I welcome the change to reduce plastic waste.

  12. @chiguy1979: I don’t find the product disgusting but the dispenser that is not cleaned properly. And I bring my own stuff most of the time, rest assured.

  13. +1 Eskimo. I am old enough to remember when plastic grocery store bags were the solution to cutting down trees for paper bags. In another 20 years the pendulum will swing back. I am still waiting for us all to be destroyed from acid rain, the hole in the ozone layer, and the new ice age. And now I read that microbes are being discovered which actually feed on plastics.

  14. Many of the budget Accor properties already have bulk toiletries and by that I include many Mercures so not just Ibis and the like.

    I don’t mind this as long as the containers are kept full, are kept clean and the product is not reduced i.e. it should remain in branded containers.

    They must also continue to provide decent sizes of bar soap which are big enough to get hold of and wash with, we’re not all shower gel users.

  15. @peter

    As someone who lives in the southenr hemisphere and is daily subjected to excessive UV radiation, with all due respect, go f**k yourself.

    The reason we still
    Have an ozone layer at all the the Montreal convention restricting the use of ozone destroying conventions and one of the most sucessuful international environmental agreements there is. (Don’t even get me started in flue gas desulfurisarion and the billion spent on solving ‘acid rain).

    This is an example how global action can solve an environmental crisis. Just because the crisis was averted an you didn’t see it didn’t mean that work didn’t have to be done to avert it. You have the mind of a baby playing peekaboo. Put a blanket over your head and I’m sure everything will be just fine for you.

  16. One of the basic rules learned in my nursing training is to never apply a liquid directly onto a patient’s skin as the retracting fluid contaminates the rest of the container. I shudder to think how contaminated the plunger used must be, I am sure it would never be disinfected.

  17. @Ed: my face stings from the slap you gave @Peter. That was one to remember. Thank you for posting.

    Now please take care of @Betty for her whiny attitude. I live in Europe and would guess that 60+% of the hotels I stay use the large bottles. I have yet to read of anyone dying or getting sick. Maybe hotels in the states no longer clean. I was there over the holidays and my room was clean so I have to assume they will add this service to the housekeeping checklist.

    Regarding the “my employees and I will be filling our bottles and taking home” comment, go ahead and check your bags on every trip since you will exceed the maximum allowed on carry on luggage. The time wasted waiting on bags, I am sure, is worth it to you based on your cheapness.

  18. @Max
    You should see how many places wash their glasses. Single use is for hygienic reasons. This also causes all the waste problem. You can’t have it both ways.


    Unfortunately, you are a victim of misconception. Due to Earth’s orbit, the southern hemisphere is closer to the sun in summer than northern summer. Hence the higher UV exposure. Unless you live in Antarctica, it’s almost impossible to blame UV through the ozone.

    But yes, humanity did a better job than today for protecting ozone and preventing acid rains.

    By the way, it was the Montreal Protocol not convention that you are referring to. The latter handles compensation when airlines loses you bag and has nothing to do with the hole in the ozone.

    I check bags all the time. If you think saving 10 minutes waiting for a bag is crucial, you probably have better things to do than reading and posting in blogs, or you just have issues managing your time.
    I sometimes do fill up my bottle to bring home, not because of being cheap but to send a message that this isn’t saving hotel money. If everyone does the same, hopefully hotels would revert back to simpler times. I sometimes save those tiny bottles for later travel and guess what, per volume I fill up my large bottle much more than the single use one’s.
    Go figure hotels.

  19. @Eskimo-soon it how you like. It is cheap. It is a form of theft. And we all pay more because of it. Stop your justifications.

  20. Everyone should pay close attention to these comments.

    People who support this happily cheer these greenwashing measures. Anyone who doesnt like this is shouted down, harshly criticized, mocked or told to simply deal with it. Highlights the attitude on the left clearly.

    Solutions that would satisfy both include recycling plastic single use, using cardboard for shampoo and conditioner, providing the option to not have these products for those who care and travel with them, etc.

    Instead, hotels use this to save money and know anyone who complains will be mocked because they dont want to offer up sacrifice to the climate gods.

    Cost savings pretending to be corporate caring. Flat out.

  21. How Republican of you:

    “ Anyone who doesnt like this is shouted down, harshly criticized, mocked or told to simply deal with it. Highlights the attitude on the left clearly.”

    You lost your validity at that point. Of course we should all understand we can’t afford to fix the issue because it is soooo very expensive and will cut into our annual profits driving our corporate valuations down. Forget what the future cost will be, someone else can tackle the problem tomorrow so my value doesn’t get reduced. Capitalism 101.

  22. Every public restroom you use on a daily basis has soap dispensers that you use without a second thought. How is that any less sanitary than using a shampoo or body soap dispenser in a shower? When you touch the soap dispenser, you are touching the same handle that potentially hundreds of other people who just got done with a pee or poo touched that very same day, and yet you return to your restaurant dinner table and eat a handheld pizza slice without question.

    What makes bulk shampoo or body soap dispensers any different than a public restroom soap dispenser? What makes them less clean in a way that legitimately poses a risk to your health? If you believe that there is a genuine risk, then do a proper research study which takes into account other surfaces and products you come into contact with daily. I would be more concerned with door handles.

    Finally, when you sleep in a hotel bed, remember that you are sleeping with all of the dead skin cells of the prior guests accumulating in the pillow/mattress/comforter, all of the mites consuming that material, all of the love stains from the guests the nights before (and how often do they change those mattress pads, anyway?).

    Folks, the world is a yucky place. If hotels save money and generate less wasted containers + product by eliminating single-use items, then more power to them: this is not going to have any meaningful impact to your well-being. Disagree? Do a scientific study rather than just giving anecdotes.

    Sleep tight!

  23. Fly Guy gets it. Thank you for the perspective that most commenters seem to forget. Does anyone really assume the toilet handle in a hotel room is hygienically sterilized? Or that shared hotel shampoo bottles are “contaminated” any more than the shower floor or the pillows?

    Oil companies have done a real disservice to the human race by continuing to reinforce the notion that single use = sterile. In certain contexts, such as bottled water in Eritrea, sure. But c’mon.

    The real scary thought is what happens to plastic production (and the subsequent waste) as populations like China’s middle class continue to gain discretionary income. We think we’re polluted now? Just wait until the rest of the world has the means to emulate the west’s consumption.

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