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Thu, 24 June 2021

Mandarin Oriental Revises Timeline for Eliminating Single-Use Plastic from Hotels

In October 2019, Mandarin Oriental pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic (SUP) across its portfolio of luxury hotels by the end of March 2021.

By the end of Q1 2021, the group had achieved nearly 70% reduction of its annual plastic footprint.

The ongoing global COVID19 pandemic has led to temporary hotel closures and low occupancies, thereby slowing the depletion of existing stocks of plastic products by up to 12 months in some markets.

Based on estimated plastic stock depletion timelines and supplier delivery commitments, it is now expected that all hotels within the group will eliminate SUP by the end of Q1 2022, avoiding 930 tonnes of plastic waste each year.

Hotels around the world have tried using many different products to replace single-use plastic, even going so far as to trial metal straws. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

Although our ambitious timeline to eliminate all single-use plastic from our premises by the end of March 2021 has been deferred by one year, largely as a consequence of the pandemic, we have made massive progress, with a majority of our hotels expected to reach the elimination goal by the end of July this year, said James Riley, Group Chief Executive. Despite the ongoing challenging conditions, our colleagues have continued to embrace our commitment to deliver on the Groups sustainability responsibilities.

The group is committed to eliminating SUP across all areas of its hotels, including rooms, spa, transport, restaurants and bars as well as in back-of-house areas not seen by guests, such as offices, staff areas and kitchens.

The most common SUP items have been identified across the three main operational departments: F&B, Spa and Rooms. Of those, six high-impact items accounted for 81% of annual SUP waste generated:

- Garbage bags (294 tonnes per year);

- Water bottles (7.7 million bottles per year);

- Slippers (816,000 pairs per year);

- Vacuum bags for food (88 tonnes per year);

- Cling film (80 tonnes per year); and

- Amenities such as shampoo, conditioner and shower gel (4.9 million bottles per year).

The group continues to look for eco-alternatives that are completely plastic free, however, where none are available in the market, some exceptions to its commitment to eradicate SUP have been made.

Examples include toothbrush bristles that are still plastic, while in the view of health and safety, hygiene seals for F&B items such as plastic seals for beverages or candy jars have not been removed to make them free of SUP.

Likewise medical items, especially hygienic wrapped medical grade kit, are exempt in first aid kits.

Although supplier packaging is excluded from these calculations, as MOHG does not have direct operational control, hotels continue to tackle this through collaborative actions with suppliers.

The group is expected to issue a further report on progress in Q4 2021.

See also: Hotel Waste, Single-Use Plastic and Climate Change - Interview with Maggie Lee, Market Transformation Manager at WWF Singapore.

See latest Travel Industry News, Video Interviews, Podcasts and other news regarding: Mandarin Oriental, Hotel Waste, Sustainable Travel, Plastic.

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