Disposable usage drops due to trash sorting rule

Shanghai has seen a sharp decline in the usage of disposable items such as toothbrushes, combs, razors, nail polishers, shoe wipers and loofahs in hotels since the city’s first regulation on waste sorting took effect a month ago.

According to the regulation, hotels can only provide such disposable items to guests upon request. The violation of the rule could result in fines ranging from 500 to 5,000 yuan ($72.6 to $726).

At St. Regis Shanghai Jing’an Hotel, the number of disposable toothbrushes used in July was 30 percent lower than the usual average.

Campanile Shanghai Jing’an Hotel, which is affiliated to Jin Jiang International Hotels Company, also saw a 30 percent drop in the overall usage of the six items, Xiao Bo, brand executive of Campanile, told the local news portal Eastday.

“Toothpaste and toothbrushes are the most requested items by customers. To reduce waste, we have three sizes of toothpaste and offer customers a size according to the duration of their stay,” Xiao told Eastday.

Xiao added that the usage of these six disposable items may be reduced by up to 80 percent in the near future as waste treatment regulations get introduced to more cities in China.

Meanwhile, the InterContinental Hotels Group on July 30 announced its plan to swap its miniature bathroom amenities to bulk-sized ones by 2021 in order to reduce plastic waste. The move will affect its entire hotel estate of 843,000 guest rooms.

“It’s a big step in the right direction and will allow us to significantly reduce our waste footprint and environmental impact as we make the change,” said Keith Barr, CEO of IHG.

Gu Jianbin, market regulation department director at the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism, pointed out that the new garbage sorting regulations have created new opportunities for vendors.

“Those who used to produce single-use items can now shift their focus to manufacturing portable, eco-friendly and reusable hotel supplies for customers,” said Gu.

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