Luxury hotel group Mandarin Oriental plans to eliminate all single-use plastic by the end of March 2021.

The hotel group has pledged to abolish all single-use plastic currently in use across all operational departments, including rooms, spas, transport, restaurants and bars at its hotels. It says its goal is to cover plastics used in all areas of the hotel, instead of just public areas seen by customers.

Mandarin Oriental said that an elimination campaign has been underway at all of its properties. Following a stock inventory, the group identified 23 of the most common items of single-use plastics currently in use across its portfolio. It says 86 per cent of these initial items have been eliminated or are being phased out in all its hotels.

A spokesperson from Mandarin Oriental Group told Business Traveller Asia-Pacific that one of the first key initiatives was the phasing out of single-use plastic water bottles in spas. Instead of providing plastic bottled water to guests, hotels now offer two refreshment options to the guests, namely fruit- or herb-infused water and water from the dispenser. Hotels also install water filtration systems to avoid single-use plastic bottles. Bottled water is discretely offered upon request.

According to the spokesperson, since 2018, most of the properties have begun to provide guests with infused or fresh water stations in the restaurants, fitness centres and spas as ecologically sound alternatives for the guests.

What’s more, the spokeperson also mentioned that Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur now purchases biodegradable toothbrushes, combs and shower caps for its guestrooms; while several other hotels, including Mandarin Oriental, Macau, Mandarin Oriental, New York and Mandarin Oriental, Sanya use biodegradable bags for laundry and garbage.

Measures undertaken by the hotel group also include testing concepts and inviting colleagues from each of its hotels to find solutions that can then be shared internally. The hotel group says it’s also collaborating with its suppliers to explore producing alternative products that are both viable and suitable for the luxury hotel environment.

Mandarin Oriental said it would also issue progress reports every six months highlighting the achievements of all the hotels and difficulties encountered. The first report will be published at the end of March 2020.

“Plastic waste is one of the gravest environmental concerns affecting our planet today. While our relatively small footprint limits our contribution to the world’s plastic reduction, as one of the most iconic luxury global hotel groups we are in a strong position to drive important changes in the industry,” said James Riley, group chief executive.

“We recognise that to achieve complete elimination while maintaining our luxury service standards is a challenge, but to drive change we must set ambitious goals. The elimination of single-use plastic is only one part of the Group’s wider initiative to operate in a responsible and sustainable way across our portfolio,” he added.

A few other hotel groups have also started to phase out plastics in their hotels, including IHG and Marriott.

Beginning from the second half of this year, hotels in Shanghai and Guangzhou have stopped providing select disposable amenities for their guests as well.