The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has taken steps towards embracing sustainable hospitality by pledging to remove all single-use plastics across its portfolio of 33 luxury hotels by the end of March 2021. Here’s all we know about this green move. By Bayar Jain
Earlier in October 2019, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group took a pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic across its properties by the end of the first quarter of 2021. Recently, in its second progress report towards this sustainable goal, the company’s efforts towards the same look more pronounced.
The report released by the Asia-rooted global brand notes that 70 per cent of the total 60 most commonly used items—inclusive of supplier packaging—have either been eliminated or is in the process of being phased out. Instead, eco alternatives for cocktail sticks, straws, body scrubs, tasting spoons, plastic spatulas and takeaway bags have been introduced, states the progress report. To combat plastic bottles, on-site filtered and bottled water—in glass or aluminium—has been standardised. Waste bags, too, have reportedly been minimised in hotel rooms by imbibing an empty-and-clean approach, instead. Wall-mounted aluminium dispensers for chemical-free toiletries; and bulk-sourcing to limit plastic packaging are some of the other steps undertaken.
However, the green road to sustainability came with its own share of challenges. The hospitality chain notes that while efforts to minimise single-use plastic and introduce cost-effective alternatives in the kitchen are underway, sous-vide cooking and relying on cling film to cover the food produce has hindered the process. Additionally, regulatory restrictions to the on-site bottling of water in the Group’s China properties are proving to be an obstacle. The ongoing pandemic has further slowed down the process.
“Whilst our ambitious timeline to eliminate all single-use plastic from our premises by the end of March 2021 may have to be adjusted as a consequence of the pandemic, we are making good progress,” says James Riley, Group Chief Executive in the report. “I am proud that despite the current challenging conditions, our colleagues have wholly embraced this task to deliver on the Group’s sustainability responsibilities,” he added.