Late last year, Mandarin Oriental pledged to
eliminate all single-use plastic, across its portfolio of 33
luxury hotels, by the end of March 2021.

A year on, and a progress report highlights both
the achievements made to date and some of the challenges faced.

The company has committed to eliminating
single-use plastic across all areas of its hotels, including
rooms, spa, transport, restaurants and bars, as well as in areas
unseen by the guest, such as offices and kitchens.

The focus remains on the elimination of 60 of the
most common single-use plastic items identified by hotels which
are estimated to make up 95% of the total number of items. Many of
these items have now either been eliminated or are in the process
of being phased out as plastic stock is depleted. So far, the
group’s hotels have eliminated an average of 70% of the 60 most
commonly used items, excluding supplier packaging, with steady
progress across all departments.

Late last year, Mandarin Oriental pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic, across its portfolio of 33 luxury hotels, by the end of March 2021. A year on, and a progress report highlights both the achievements made to date and some of the challenges faced. Click to enlarge.

Items that have been completely eliminated and
replaced with eco-alternatives include cocktail sticks, straws,
body scrubs, tasting spoons, plastic spatulas and takeaway bags.
One of the most used items – plastic water bottles – has now been
replaced by on-site filtered and bottled water at 12 hotels. Glass
and aluminum bottled water will be the standard throughout the
portfolio.

Hotels are adapting their operational practices as
they incorporate these eco-friendly alternatives. Almost half of
the group’s portfolio have eliminated waste bags in guest rooms,
adopting an empty-and-clean approach instead. Operational
guidelines in F&B and Spa are also changing to incorporate new
methods of sanitization, food preparation, cooking and product
storage to decrease the need for single-use plastic.

Pilot tests to trial wall mounted dispensers to
replace small plastic toiletry containers have been successfully completed and in most cases these are being installed in phases
across the portfolio. Properties that are unable to mount
dispensers will use recyclable aluminum amenity bottles instead.
Hotels are working with luxury brands such as Diptyque to fill
dispensers with chemical free product.

While the
current scope of work has been widened, and good progress is being
made, challenges remain. One of these, which was not included in
the initial timeline, is single-use plastic packaging employed for
goods being delivered into hotels which is difficult to influence.
The Group is working to resolve this through ongoing supplier engagement, challenging vendors to come up with strategies to
reduce the amount of plastic used in delivering goods. Hotels are
also sourcing bulk packaged items where possible to limit plastic
packing.

Within F&B, difficulty in sourcing single
use plastic free and cost-efficient alternatives to vacuum bags
used in sous-vide cooking and cling film to cover food produce has
hindered progress. In addition, regulatory restrictions to on-site bottling of water in the Group’s China properties are proving an
obstacle. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has also led to hotel
closures and low occupancies, thereby slowing the depletion of
existing stocks of plastic products.

While many
organisations are using the pandemic as a reason to relax their
focus on the elimination of single use non reusable plastics, we
are not. Our “We Care” packages for guests include reusable fabric
facemasks and are plastic free. The Group believes that hygiene
and the highest sanitary standards can be maintained without
single use non reusable plastics.

Colleagues from
every hotel continue to focus on finding solutions to single use
plastic. 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.

“Whilst our ambitious timeline to
eliminate all single-use plastic from our premises by the end of
March 2021 may have to be adjusted as a consequence of the
pandemic, we are making good progress,” said James Riley, Group
Chief Executive. “I am proud that despite the current challenging
conditions, our colleagues have wholly embraced this task to
deliver on the Group’s sustainability responsibilities.”

The company is expected to issue its next progress report
in March 2021.

See also:

Hotel Waste, Single-Use Plastic and Climate Change – Interview
with WWF.

See latest

Travel News,
Video
Interviews,
Podcasts
and other
news regarding:

COVID19,

Mandarin Oriental,

Plastic,

Waste.


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