France launches first zero single-use plastic hotel

9 Feb 2020 by Hannah Brandler
Clé chambre noisetier (C) Racing for the oceans

The Best Western Opéra Liège has become the first zero single-use plastic hotel in France, located in the 9th arrondissement of Paris.

The hotel has worked with Racing For The Oceans, a start-up which helps companies “move from a single-use plastic consumer role to a zero waste ambassador.”

Together, they have replaced all plastic packaging in the hotel with sustainable alternatives. The full transformation is set to finish by the end of February.

The hotel’s 50 rooms and suites will no longer feature any single-use plastic, starting with the wooden keycards used to access the rooms. Eco-friendly amenities include laundry bags, slippers and binbags made from bamboo, plastic-free minibar products, and paper Nespresso capsules.

Capsules café (C) Racing for the oceans

Bathrooms will also undergo a sustainable makeover. Rather than having three separate bottles for shampoo, conditioner and shower gel, the hotel will now provide a three-in-one solid soap-like bar. Guests will also be supplied with a bamboo toothbrush and toothpaste in a lozenge form (see image below).

The hotel will install water fountains to refill the glass bottles provided in the rooms, and the bar and breakfast room will no longer serve products packaged in plastic. The project will see the hotel eliminate over 24,000 plastic bottles, 55,000 cosmetics packaging and 16,000 plastic bags a year.

Brosse à dents bambou + dentifrice solide (C) Racing for the oceans

Business Traveller spoke with Marine Pescot, co-founder of Racing For The Oceans, about the project. The start-up sources sustainable suppliers and works with the hotel to “make sure they meet deadlines and pricing constraints.” The biodegradable coffee capsules, for instance, were a big win for the Best Western Opéra Liège as they are compatible with Nespresso machines already installed in the room.

“We are definitely looking to work with other hotels and to develop a bigger portfolio of zero-waste suppliers… Our objective is to work with bigger groups and advise them on what suppliers they can work with.” Depending on the client, the transition to zero single-use plastic can take between three to six months, according to Pescot.

In January, France banned single-use plates, cups and cotton buds from being sold in bulk as part of its goal to phase out all single-use plastics by 2040. Over the next two years, the country will also ban objects such as plastic straws, disposable cutlery, plastic tea bags, and (importantly for hotels) the provision of free plastic bottles.

French hotel group Accor has recently committed to remove all single-use plastic items from its guest experience, at all hotels globally, by 2022.

Read more on sustainability in our feature Stay Green: How hotels and guests can make travel more sustainable.

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