small bottles of liquid next to a plant
Mini bottles with cosmetic products on towel, top view and space for text. Hotel amenities

Don’t worry, you’ve got a couple years to steal them still…

When you think of all the wealth in the world, it’s always highly amusing to realise that California runs the world’s fifth largest economy, ahead of the United Kingdom and even India. But when it comes to the priceless natural resources which make the state such an idyllic travel attraction, things are in far greater jeopardy. To protect the environment, single use plastics will be banned in hotels from 2023.

For many, it’s a triumph – but the move has left many scratching their heads, saying… so what next?

a street with a winding road and treesWhat’s Happening

There are few joys quite like checking into a hotel and discovering luxury toiletry products. That joy is only surpassed when a few of those little mini bottles somehow make their way into your luggage for future consumption at home. Hey, you paid for the room – right? In California, that’s going away for better and worse.

The California State Assembly has passed an amendment to a 1989 Waste Management bill, with a new provision prohibiting lodging establishments (aka hotels) from providing any plastic bottles for personal care. Read as: those little bottles are going bye-bye in January 2023. You can read more on the actual legalese here.

The new move is aimed at reducing the environmental strain caused by plastic waste, and is largely hailed and commended as a crucial first step in creating a sustainable tourism environment in the state of California. Travel related waste around the world has caused beaches to close and some destinations to be shut down entirely.

small bottles of liquid next to a plant

Best Solution?

Like all “political” issues, there are sides to this story. Many travellers believe it will be hard to create a suitable alternative which balances hygiene and sustainability while maintaining guest satisfaction. In short: we like those little bottles, even though they are definitively bad for the environment.

There’s also the cost for hotels to stock these beloved toiletries, and some cynics see the move as an opportunity to cut costs. Many suggestions have been discussed, such as creating more attractive wall dispensers, moving to solid products or using reusable glass bottles. With more than 3 years until these new restrictions kick in, there should be ample time for someone to solve the problem.

Ultimately, protecting the planet is far more important than never having to buy toiletries courtesy of the ones you snag from hotels.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. This is far from actually being the law yet. It still must get through the Senate and Governor before it can take effect.

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