The hospitality industry has embraced Shanghai"s first regulation on domestic waste management as it steps up efforts to offer more environmentally friendly services.
Many hotels have replaced free disposable items with biodegradable alternatives, or given their guests incentives to use their own. Shanghai"s new regulation, which takes effect on July 1, aims to reduce the amount of garbage produced at source, ensure separate transportation of different kinds of garbage, improve waste treatment facilities and promote social participation.
According to the regulation, hotels should not provide disposable slippers and shower caps if not requested by guests, while restaurants and food delivery businesses should not provide disposable chopsticks and forks.
The regulation has won support from the hospitality industry, which has embraced sustainable development.
"It has always been one of the core values of our company to protect the environment and focus on sustainable development," said Daniel Aylmer, International Hotels Group"s chief operating officer, Greater China. "We will positively implement the government"s policy and keep finding greener alternatives to reduce the consumption of disposables while providing excellent customer service."
Aylmer said the group has announced plans to end the use of plastic straws in all its hotels in more than 100 countries across the world by the end of 2019, which will keep 50 million plastic straws out of landfills each year. Biodegradable products will be used as alternatives and supplied only upon request, he added.
Moreover, the group"s affiliated Holiday Inn Express chain has also adopted large bottles of bathroom accessories rather than small ones to reduce plastic waste, said Aylmer, adding that more measures will be taken in the future, such as reducing the use of bottled water, takeout boxes and toiletries.
Similar measures have been adopted by other international hospitality groups.
Cai Jing, director of China marketing and communications at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, said the company welcomed the Shanghai government"s initiatives for environmental protection.
"Mandarin Oriental Hotel has actively been engaged in sustainable development worldwide, including garbage classification, and will continue doing so by encouraging our guests, employers and surrounding neighborhood to be involved," Cai said.
The group has set up a step-by-step strategy to achieve the goal of eliminating single-use plastic by 2020, Cai said. Most disposables that have easy-to-find alternatives, such as disposable aprons and straws, will not be used after the first quarter of this year.
For items that are more difficult to replace, such as cling film and garbage bags, the company aims to explore alternatives with its suppliers and become plastic free by the first quarter of next year, Cai added.
Greenland Hotels Group also announced plans to stop offering disposable items for free later this year, according to a recent report by news portal Shanghai Observer.
Other measures applied by some hotels include not providing disposable slippers or offering discounts on accommodation if guests do not use disposable supplies.
"It has become an acceptable norm in Western countries, where hotels stop offering disposable daily necessities," said Zhang Xiaoyan, who works in the pharmaceutical industry and is a frequent business traveler.
"I find some hotels in Western countries do not provide disposables. It was a little inconvenient at first, but now I"m used to it."
Zhang said now she takes her own toiletries, slippers and even sheets to hotels.
"It"s guaranteed quality and environmentally friendly," she said.bracelet swatch siliconeembossed wristbandsblank silicone wristbandspersonalized wristbandsdebossed wristband