With plenty of environmentally friendly policies already on the books, California has added another: a ban on in-room toiletries with volume of less than 6 ounces. Since many of the bottles stocked in hotel rooms are between 1-3 ounces, this will compel more hotels to renovate and install bulk dispensers.
The changes don’t go into effect right away. Properties with more than 50 beds will be required to implement the new dispensers by 2023, while properties with fewer than 50 beds will have an extra year, until 2024.
However, many hotels have already made the switch either at an individual level or as a result of company-wide policies. Marriott and IHG, for example, are two of the world’s largest hotel chains and previously announced plans to phase out single-use bottles.
I don’t have strong feelings on this issue one way or another. I enjoy the ability to take home bottles when the bath amenities are very high quality, like Acqua di Parma. Those are rare exceptions. Most of the time the toiletries are not nice enough for me to stuff them in a bag and find a home for them in my bathroom. At most I will snag some hand lotion because my skin gets dry when traveling.
The only concern I have about such policies is that most hotels don’t do a great job of keeping bulk dispensers full. Hopefully as they become more common it will become standard procedure for housekeeping to check the fill level and top them off.
Maintenance is also a potential concern, and the biggest roadblock to getting this new law implemented. If a little bottle is lost, it can be replaced. If if a big wall-mounted dispenser is broken, that’s expensive and difficult to fix, but probably still a net gain to the business over the long run as it pays less for refills.