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New York, other states implementing laws to ban mini plastic shampoo bottles in hotels

New York is one of three states to implement a single-use plastic bottle ban in hotels so far.
Hotel Shampoo Bottle Ban
Posted at 4:01 PM, Jul 10, 2024

The next time you visit a hotel, those mini bottles of shampoo and lotion may be a thing of the past. At least, in New York.

New York Gov. Kathy Huchul signed a law back in 2021 that will get rid of the small bottles. Lotions, shampoos, and other personal care items will soon have to be in containers that hold at least 12 ounces.

“A person staying at a hotel may use a small plastic bottle for shampoo once, possibly twice to wash their hair and then that bottle quickly becomes waste. Multiply that by thousands, tens of thousands, of people who stay in hotels each night and that’s a lot of plastic waste,” said Christy Leavitt, the plastics campaign director at Oceana, an ocean conservation nonprofit.

"An estimated 33 billion pounds of plastic enter the oceans every year. That's roughly equivalent to dumping two garbage trucks full of plastic into the oceans every minute," Leavitt said.

The new law was supposed to go into effect earlier —however, it will now start Jan. 1, 2025 for hotels with more than 50 rooms. For hotels with fewer than 50 rooms, the ban will go into effect in 2026.

Hotel industry leaders had previously pressed for a delay to allow hotels time to use the stock of mini bottles they already had purchased.

Hotels that violate the new law will have to pay a fine. Money raised by such fines will be put in an environmental protection fund.

In a 2021 statement on the bill, senior attorney and New York City environment director at the Natural Resources Defense Council Eric A. Goldstein said, “Reducing single-use plastics is vital in the fight against the climate crisis—plastic is a major source of carbon emissions and a financial anchor to the fossil fuel industry. This new law tackles the ever-growing problem associated with plastic waste and will prevent tens of millions of plastic bottles from becoming a waste burden in New York every year.”

"Each of these single-use plastics that we can take action on, it does make an impact," Leavitt said.

California was the first state to ban hotels from offering travel-sized bottles. The state’s governor signed a bill back in 2019. That bill took effect for larger hotels in 2023, and as of 2024 it now applies to hotels with fewer than 50 rooms as well.

Washington state also recently enacted a law limiting single-use plastics at hotels starting in January 2027. Illinois is also currently considering a similar law for its hotels.

"On the national level, there's also movement to address single-use plastics. And there's legislation that's been introduced to Congress called the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act that includes dealing with small hotel toiletry bottles too," Leavitt said.

Back in 2019, Marriott announced it would eliminate small plastic bottles by 2020, which the company expected would prevent about 500 million small bottles, or about 1.7 million pounds of plastic, from going to landfills annually.

IHG Hotels & Resorts announced a similar initiative that same year. The company estimated 200 million bathroom mini bottles were used every year across its properties.

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@scrippsnews Bad news if you're a fan of the mini shampoo and lotion bottles hotels offer during your stay. Multiple states, including New York, have implemented or are considering bans on these mini plastic bottles for environmental reasons. Here's what to know and why these tiny bottles cause problems. #NewYork #plasticban #environment #hotel ♬ original sound - Scripps News