In October 2019, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic, across its portfolio of luxury hotels, by the end of March 2021.

While the original timing for completion is likely to be impacted by the global effects of Covid-19, this first progress report highlights both the achievements made to date and some of the challenges encountered.

The Group has committed to eliminating single-use plastic across all areas of the hotels, including rooms, spa, transport, restaurants and bars as well as in those areas unseen by the guest, such as offices, kitchens and back of house.

The Group has initially focused on 60 of the most commonly used single-use items identified by hotels which are estimated to make up 95% of the total number of single-use plastic items used at our hotels. These items have either been eliminated or are in the process of being phased out as current plastic stock is depleted.

An example of one of the most commonly used items is plastic water bottles. On-site water bottling has been introduced at the Group’s hotels in Hong Kong, Macau, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Taipei, Geneva, London, Miami and New York, with the view to rolling this initiative out groupwide. Current figures are encouraging; for example, Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur, has been able to eliminate almost half a million plastic water bottles from rooms and food and beverage facilities in a year.

Many of the other most commonly used plastic items have been replaced with eco-alternative materials – examples of which are sanitised, re-usable cloth laundry bags and shoe mitts, paper, metal or bamboo straws, natural loofahs, wooden spatulas and metal tasting spoons in the kitchens. Many bathroom amenities have been replaced with sustainably certified non-plastic alternatives, including cotton pads, razors, earbuds, shower caps and shaving foam.

Challenges remain as some materials, such as cling film and waste bags, are both difficult to eliminate or find truly sustainable alternatives for.
The Group is now widening the scope of its work to identify viable eco-alternatives for the remaining single-use plastic items within its properties. Hotels are encouraged to choose reusable or unprocessed plant-fibre based eco-alternatives where possible and any eco-alternative materials that prove to be successful will then be introduced across the portfolio.

The Group will issue the next progress report in October 2020 and we are looking forward to seeing all the changes.