California lawmakers are planning to ban the use of plastic bottles of soap and shampoo at hotels to help reduce plastic waste.
Several members of the California State Legislature are pushing for a new bill that aims to replace the small toiletry bottles with bigger dispensers at hotels and other lodging establishments.
Assembly Bill 1162 is designed to limit the amount of waste that ends up in the state's landfill.
Ash Kalra, an assembly member from San Jose and co-author of AB 1162, explained how the proposed legislation can lead to lower plastic waste.
"By not offering small bottles of personal care products, hotels, motels, and other lodging establishments can promote a more sustainable business and potentially reduce operating costs," Kalra said.
"AB 1162 will take meaningful action to curb single-use plastic consumption in the lodging industry and increase consumer awareness."
The new bill is currently being reviewed by the state legislature's different committees. A similar bill was adopted into law in Santa Cruz County in 2018. Hotels in the area are now prohibited from issuing small toiletry bottles to guests.
Limiting Waste From Single-Use Plastics
If passed, AB 1162 will be the latest in a line of California laws meant to protect the environment. People in the state have been advocating against using plastic products such as straws, bags, and bottles that take a very long time to decompose. These waste also fill up landfills and pollute rivers and oceans.
Last year, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1884 that requires full-service restaurants in the state to give customers single-use plastic straws only when they ask for it. This made the state the only one in the country to limit the use of such plastic products in restaurants.
Establishments that will violate the new law even after two warnings will be slapped with a $25 daily fine.
In a statement, Gov. Brown pointed to plastic pollution for killing thousands of animals in the oceans every year. He said straws, bottles, packaging, and bags were choking the Earth.
Several other states soon followed suit, with Seattle also banning the use of plastic utensils along with straws.
Greenpeace spokesperson Kate Melges called Seattle's adoption as taking a stand on plastic pollution.
As much as 40 percent of plastic waste found in oceans are made up of single-use plastics.
California also led the way in banning single-use plastic bags in 2014. New York also passed a similar initiative in March.
Switching From Plastic Bottles To Bulk Dispensers
Prior to AB 1162 being proposed, some hotel chains have already tried replacing small plastic toiletry bottles with dispensers to help lower costs, as well as reduce plastic waste.
In 2018, Marriott International revealed its plan to start using bulk dispensers in its showers in place the customary soap and shampoo bottles. This will help save as much as 250 pounds of plastic or approximately 23,000 plastic bottles every year.
Denise Naguib, Marriott's vice president of sustainability, told Lodging Magazine that the move is a "win-win" for the company in terms of sustainability, operational, and financial perspectives.