Bulk dispensers vs recyclable single-use plastic — National Hotel Supplies
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Bulk dispensers vs recyclable single-use plastic

For a long time now environmental groups and the public have been putting immense pressure on businesses to ditch single-use plastic products in the place of more reusable, sustainable options.

The accommodation industry hasn’t escaped this scrutiny; some accommodation providers have been asked questions by guests around sustainability and assumed that dispensers are the only option. But is this correct? Which is the more sustainable and environmentally friendly option? And how will it affect your business?

We thought we’d delve a little deeper into this issue to gain a better understanding.

Bulk dispensers

While at first glance bulk dispensers seem to be a fantastic, environmentally friendly solution, there are still some issues with this method that need to be cleared up.

The issue with hygiene comes up time and time again. Research carried out in the USA has highlighted that some bulk dispensers can be a potential hygiene risk, causing bacterial infections and even eye infections. This contamination occurs when the pump is manually topped up. If this procedure isn’t carried out in the correct manner, there is a potential risk of contamination which can lead to the spread of bacteria. The amount of time housekeeping staff spend on refilling dispensers, hygienically, must also be taken into consideration. The refilling of dispensers must be carried out in a way that doesn’t cause your staff harm or injury. Many of the bulk liquids used to refill dispensers are purchased in large, heavy 5L bottles.

Unrecyclable dispensers and bulk packaging:
While bulk dispensers may reduce the amount of smaller single-use plastics being disposed of, the dispensers themselves, and the packaging the refills come in may not be recyclable. If they break and have to be replaced, the pump unit could contain metal and plastic that may not be recyclable and will end up in landfill.

Guest expectations:
Luxury accommodation providers have reported that some guests believe bulk dispensers convey a cheaper, institutional, cost cutting image and do not signify luxury.

In a recent article for Skift, Sofitel vice president for luxury brand management Joao Rocco revealed they had polled guests about changing their amenities range:

“Of course, we think about being more environmentally-conscious,” Rocco said. “But when we ask if [bulk containers are] something that people are willing to accept, the answer is loud and clear. Seventy-two percent of the survey respondents said dispensers don’t convey luxury, while 87 percent get the impression that they are being used to reduce costs.”

While we believe that your accommodation service’s impact on the environment should be at the forefront, we know that guest expectations and demand will always have an influence.

What should you do if you choose to use single-use packaged guest amenities? How can you reduce the impact you have on the environment?

Work with a company that has a strong environmental conscience.

Healthpak, who manufactures the majority our ranges of guest amenities, uses fully-recyclable packaging, rather than compostable packaging.

Why is this?

The problem with ‘compostable’ plastic packaging is that it needs to be commercially composted; it can’t just be composted in an ordinary backyard compost bin. It requires a specialised environment, of which there are very limited facilities in Australia.

Therefore, unfortunately, these items often end up in landfill and can take 1000s of years to be broken down due to the lack of oxygen and heat.

Also, the compostable plastic looks very similar to recyclable plastic, therefore many people make the mistake of throwing it into the recycling, which then causes problems during the recycling process.

HealthPak’s recyclable packaging is designed to be recycled in a residential recyclable bin, and can be recycled time and time again.

As a consumer it’s important to dispose of items properly, after all, there isn’t much point in purchasing recyclable plastic packaging if you are dumping it in your normal waste bin, to be eventually thrown into landfill. Ensure you know the packaging your guest amenities come in, and dispose of it appropriately.

The Goodie Bag
The Goodie Bag is a brand new initiative from HealthPak, and we love it!

It’s a recyclable paper bag that your guest can use to collect their leftover guest amenities and take home. They can use their leftovers, then recycle the packaging and the goodie bag in their recycling bin. This is a win for your guests and the environment.

If you’d like to chat further about our range of guest amenities and how they are packaged, please call us on 1300 557 415 or email us info@nationalhotelsupplies.com.au