Plastic disposables such as straws and toiletry bottles will soon be a thing of the past for several hotels in Singapore.
Ahead of World Environment Day next Tuesday, the Millennium Hotels and Resorts (MHR) group has pledged to eliminate single-use plastics from all six of its Singapore hotels by June next year. They are Orchard Hotel, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, M Hotel, Studio M, M Social and Copthorne King's Hotel.
Over the next one year, the hotels will gradually phase out the use of disposables such as straws, stirrers, cutlery, toiletry bottles and plastic bags, and opt for alternatives that are made with more environmentally-friendly materials such as paper and wood.
In a press statement yesterday, MHR said the move comes as part of an effort to join the global fight against plastics.
"While the hotel industry benefits from the convenience of using plastic products, we see that it has long-lasting adverse impact on the environment," said Mr Lee Richards, vice-president of operations (South-east Asia) at MHR.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, over 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into the ocean every year, killing 100,000 marine animals annually.
M Social has already replaced plastic straws with paper ones. The hotel is also using packaging such as paper boxes and wooden cutlery for its takeaway service.
Average amount of plastic waste that the six hotels produce weekly. The initiative will reduce the group's pollutive waste, and save it nearly $500,000 a year in terms of expenditure on plastic products.
The other hotels under MHR will soon replace plastic straws and stirrers with greener alternatives.
Orchard Hotel and Studio M are also in the process of changing plastic toiletry containers to dispensers in hotel rooms.
The changes will affect more than 2,600 rooms in all the six hotels.
Guests who are environmentally conscious will also be able to play a part in the green efforts by opting not to have their towels and bed linens changed daily.
With the six hotels producing an average of 67kg of plastic waste weekly, the initiative will greatly cut down on the amount of pollutive waste by the group, and save it nearly $500,000 a year in terms of expenditure on plastic products.
MHR's pledge follows Hilton's announcement on May 25 that it will eliminate plastic straws across its 23 managed hotels in the Asia-Pacific by the end of the year. This is part of Hilton's plan to halve its environmental footprint by 2030.
While some people acknowledge that the changes may be jarring, they are generally welcomed.
Said student Rachel Tey, 17: "We may no longer be able to keep souvenirs of hotel shampoo bottles and toiletries, but I think it's a cost I'm very happy to pay for reducing our environmental impact.
"In fact, I think having these waste-reducing initiatives in hotels is a selling point for these hotels."