Shanghai hotels stop offering disposable toiletries

Starting Monday, hotels in Shanghai are requested to stop offering disposable toiletry kits unless customers ask, amid efforts to reduce waste and pursue green development.

Starting Monday, hotels in Shanghai are requested to stop offering disposable toiletry kits unless customers ask, amid efforts to reduce waste and pursue green development.

Hotel guests are encouraged to use and reuse recyclable daily consumables during their stay, such as toothbrushes, combs, bath sponges, razors, nail files and shoe polish.

The move is stipulated in a set of regulations on garbage sorting and recycling that went into effect in Shanghai on Monday.

Under the new regulations, most household plastic wastes should be sorted and recycled. The city also encourages individuals and companies to reduce their use of disposable plastic products.

Kunlun Jing An hotel is one of those that answered the government call by not offering disposable toiletry kits unless asked.

The new measure by Shanghai's hotels will help reduce plastic waste since plastic is the main material used in disposable hotel toiletry kits, the hotel said.

"Shanghai is taking a lead in the country to combat plastic waste," said Gerd Knaust, general manager of Kunlun Jing An hotel. "Hotels, as a window of the city, should make contributions to sorting and recycling garbage and encourage more customers from around the world to lead an eco-friendly life."

The hotel has informed its potential customers of the change via online and offline channels.

"It is a good thing to reduce waste in daily life," said Zhang Wei, 40, from east China's Shandong Province who checked in the hotel for a business trip. He brought a reusable toothbrush after being informed by the hotel in advance.

At least 6.5 million sets of disposable toiletry kits are estimated to be used every day if the occupancy rate is 50 percent for the 13 to 15 million hotel rooms across China, said Du Liangliang of the Hotel Business Unit of Ctrip, China's leading online travel agency.

"If hotels across the country follow suit to not offer disposable toiletry kits, it would be a significant step towards reducing the amount of waste," Du said.

Plastic Recycling

"People realized that apart from hotels not offering disposable toiletries, it's more important to reduce waste and promote plastic recycling at the beginning," said He Jianmin, with Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

Some multinationals in Shanghai have made efforts in plastic recycling to help build a "Green Community."

Coca-Cola is reshaping its approach to packaging, with a global vision to help collect and recycle the equivalent of 100 percent of its packaging by 2030.

In April, the company was among the first batch of enterprises to take actions to implement the waste-sorting policy across its Shanghai Zizhu Campus.

US materials science company Dow has also taken measures to ensure a sustainable future of growth. The company is playing a leading role in the launch of a new alliance of global companies to advance solutions that eliminate plastic waste in the environment, especially in the ocean.

"It's important for the future of our planet," said Jim Fitterling, CEO of Dow. "This initiative brings together companies, governments, NGOs and consumers to accelerate efforts to drive innovation, provide much-needed resources, and take decisive action to put an end to plastic waste in the environment."

Statistics indicate that about 8 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the oceans every year. It is estimated that 155 million tonnes of plastics will be dumped into the oceans between 2010 and 2025.

The idea of reducing waste is gaining public consensus. More people in Shanghai have joined in the fight against plastic waste.

Shanghai Science and Technology Museum has launched a special exhibition to showcase the dreadful damage caused by waste from over-consumption of plastics.

The main exhibit in the "Plastic Era" -- a 17-meter-high installation -- was created by local Shanghai artist Alex Yuan. Meanwhile, the materials were collected by primary and middle school students in Shanghai.

"More than 40 cities across China have started supporting the recycling of plastic," said He Jianmin.

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