Those Tiny Hotel Toiletry Bottles Are on Their Way Out

By Christine Hauser NY Times

June 4, 201955

In a decade of travel, Robin Brinn accumulated dozens of small toiletry bottles from hotel bathrooms, bringing them home to her New York apartment and storing them in bags. But when she recently moved, she discarded most of them.

“I just really wanted to pare down,” said Ms. Brinn, 67, a retired clinical social worker. “I had bags of stuff that I had taken over the years. A couple of things had the name of a lovely hotel on the bottle. But I threw most of it out.”

Like Ms. Brinn, many travelers collect the tiny containers as souvenirs or to use when they return home, home organizers say.

“It is the rare home that does not have at least a small if not very large collection of hotel bottles,” said Karin Socci, a KonMari practitioner and home organizer at The Serene Home who worked with Ms. Brinn during her relocation. “I can’t tell you how many pounds and pounds of those things I have discarded.”

But (ever-so-slightly) lighter suitcases at checkout and less cluttered home closets might be in our future. Like grocery bags and straws, the miniature bottles of toiletries and cosmetics that many guests swipe from hotels are in the sights of legislators and hotel establishments who are trying to reduce the environmental impact of plastic waste.

Hotel industry officials say the tiny bottles that squeeze out thick lashings of shampoo, conditioner and body lotions are slowly being replaced by wall-mounted, refillable dispensers.

In what might become the first such state law of its kind, a bill, A.B. 1162, is making its way through the California Legislature that aims to scrap the tiny single-use plastic bottles at hotels and other hospitality establishments. It was passed in the Assembly last week, and has moved to the Senate for committee examination.

“The goal is really to start to phase out single-use plastics in our state in general,” said Ash Kalra, one of the bill’s sponsors. “This is really low-hanging fruit because the industry is already moving in that direction.”

“It might take some customers some adjustment, but it is part of a larger conversation of trying to get plastics out of our culture,” Assemblyman Kalra added.

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