Ian Schrager’s luxury hotel chain EDITION Hotels, co-owned by Marriot, is cutting down on the most environmentally damaging resource: disposable plastic. In honor of Earth Day on April 22, they’ve pledged to be disposable plastic free — leading the hospitality industry in a plastic free movement.
“Stay Plastic Free” is an initiative launched by EDITION Hotels, aimed to make the luxury chain disposable plastic free by the end of 2019. Sparking a movement among hoteliers worldwide, this campaign is spearheaded by EDITION’s vice president of brand experiences, Ben Pundole.
“In the hospitably business, we don’t think about how many touch points there are, whether there’s a keycard, or a minibar, to-go food at the pool, or a toothbrush,” Pundole said, referring to places where the guest consumes something disposable. “And I realized I was in a position where I could effect some change.”
Pundole claims that EDITION’s four existing properties in London, New York, Miami, and Sanya, China have already seen radical reductions in plastic use with swap outs at minibars, straws, food containers and lids. However, there are still some tricky hold-outs such as keycards and bathroom amenities that lack viable solutions.
All 7 of EDITION’s upcoming projects will be launched plastic-free. The unsustainable nature of disposable plastic has been a trending hot topic for years, but Pundole stands for his belief in the current momentum of the present anti-plastic movement.
Instead of being a mere frugal or inconvenient decision, Pundole states that phasing out disposable plastic is the new consumer definition of luxury. In other words, guests are expecting less Nalgene water bottles and camping sporks and more S’well water bottles and bamboo tableware.
“Until very recently, this kind of initiative didn’t happen in the luxury space and it’s only just beginning,” Pundole said. “I think it really helps that luxury brands like Gucci have committed to being a lot more sustainable. There’s been a kind of conscious approach to next steps from companies that you never thought you’d see doing this.”
Beyond plastic reductions throughout its properties, EDITION is looking to organise a committee to further the campaign. Hoping to involve influential hoteliers such as Design Hotels, Soho House, and Chiltern Firehouse, Pundole wants to to look at industry-wide solutions to the plastic problem.
Pundole claims that the hurdles are not guests, but making a business case to financiers that “it’s the right decision even though it’s not cost neutral.”
May the future of luxury hospitality be plastic free.