New York hotels may soon have to ditch environmentally unfriendly mini toiletry bottles

Denis Slattery for NY Daily News

Originally published in New York Daily News

ALBANY — New York lawmakers want hotels in the Empire State to get rid of single-use plastic toiletry bottles altogether.

The Democratic-led Senate is slated to vote on a measure Monday prohibiting hotels from providing small plastic bottles used for personal care products, such as shampoo, conditioner and liquid soap.

“Small actions, such as eliminating disposable toiletry bottles in hotels, can make a big difference in protecting our environment,” said Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Nassau), the bill’s lead sponsor. “By barring hotels from giving single-use plastic toiletries to customers, we are safeguarding our planet, reducing plastic waste and preventing waterway pollution.”

Dems in the Assembly approved the bill last week and it would go to Gov. Cuomo’s desk for his signature.

If signed into law, the measure would go into effect in 2024 for larger hotels and in 2025 for smaller ones.

Kaminsky said the aim of the legislation is to protect the environment by decreasing the amount of plastic waste and promoting sustainable alternatives.

If enacted, New York would join California in barring the ubiquitous mini bottles offered by chain motels and boutique resorts alike.

The Golden State passed a law in 2019 banning travel-sized toiletries that will take effect in 2023, first applying to establishments with more than 50 rooms. Smaller hotels with less than 50 rooms must stop using one-off plastic bottles by 2024.

The New York bill has the support of hotel industry groups, many of which are seeking ways to lessen their environmental footprint amid widespread waste.

The Marriott hotel chain recently announced it would eliminate the tiny bottles at its properties worldwide.

Many hotels already encourage guests to not insist on fresh towels every day in an effort to reduce pollution from laundry services.

With more than 115,530 hotel rooms in over 630 properties in New York City alone, the bill, also sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Suffolk), could save approximately 27.4 million plastic bottles from being disposed of every year in the Big Apple, advocates argue.

“Banning these unnecessary and wasteful single-use plastic toiletry bottles at hotels will provide significant reductions in the plastic pollution that threatens our waterways, wildlife, and public health,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.