Say Goodbye to Tiny Plastic Shampoo Bottles

From hotels to airports, the movement to remove single-use plastics is growing.

You've likely heard of the many campaigns across the country calling for the ban of single-use plastics in efforts to "go green." One of the larger shifts has been at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), where a new ordinance banning the sale of plastic water bottles will take effect on August 20th. The ban will apply to restaurants, cafes and vending machines in the airport, and will likely impact other vendors who currently rely on the revenue from bottled water sales.

SFO has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to sustainability. There are over 100 "hydration stations" mounted on walls throughout the hub where travelers can fill their personal water bottles. One of the airport's terminals was the first LEED Gold-certified airport buildings in the country. Another recent initiative demands that tenants hosting more than 100 people at their events provide reusable beverage cups to at least 20% of their guests.

"We're the first airport that we're aware of to implement this change," SFO spokesman Doug Yakel said about the bottled water ban.

"We're on the leading edge for the industry, and we want to push the boundaries of sustainability initiatives."

Along with buying plastic bottles of water at airports, you'll likely have to give up another travel habit - swiping those small bottles of shampoo and lotion from hotel bathrooms.

The hospitality industry is doing their part to reduce single-use plastics by removing all plastic toiletry bottles from hotel rooms. Some smaller chains have already switched to bulk dispensers and multipurpose offerings like shampoo and conditioner combined.

California lawmakers recently proposed a bill to ban small plastic bottles that contain personal care products from all hotels with 50+ rooms. Last year, InterContinental Hotels Group and Marriott International both replaced single-use plastics in many of their hotels with larger, wall-mounted pump containers.

Straws, bags and other disposable items are also on their way out in some states and cities with bans already in place.

So, why the big fuss?

According to data from the World Bank , North America is estimated to have produced about *35 million tons* of plastic waste in 2016, earning the title of the third-largest producer of worldwide plastic waste. Disposable products, specifically, tend to end up in the ocean, where floating waste has disastrous implications for wildlife. The United Nations estimated that approximately 1 million marine birds and 100,000 marine animals die each year due to plastic ingestion.

While some folks are surely put off by the bans, and the changes of lifestyle that come as a result, curbing your plastic consumption is one thing you can do to help fight climate change in your daily life.

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The Conversation
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