October 11, 2011

Phasing out small shampoo bottles

Those tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner that hotels provide would last me about two weeks but I usually stay just one or two days and I suspect that the rest will be thrown away, which seems awfully wasteful of both shampoo and plastic. Do hotels expect you to leave the remnants behind or are you doing them a favor by taking the partially used bottles with you, saving them the trouble of throwing them away? It seems vaguely wrong to take them home with me without being given explicit permission and I have personally vacillated between taking them and leaving them. It would be nice if hotels left a little note telling guests like me who worry about such trivialities what to do.

But now apparently some hotels are going to be providing full-size bottles that are refillable, so that the ambiguity is removed.

That's a welcome development. Now if they could do something about the waste of the remnants of those little bars of soap …


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Hotel guests are welcome to take the soap and shampoo bottles provided in their rooms as well as pads of paper, postcards and pens. These small disposable items serve as a form of advertising (and are probably written off on taxes as advertising). Guests are not welcome to take the towels, bedding, curtains or electronics in their rooms - that is considered stealing.
Unused bedding, towels, shampoo and soap are reused so long as they are in their original condition.

Posted by Heidi Nemeth on October 11, 2011 09:32 PM

I love taking the small shampoo bottles and soaps from hotel rooms. Whenever I stay at a hotel I take as many bottles and soaps away with me as I can. I haven't bought shampoo from the grocery store in years!

Posted by durham on October 12, 2011 05:41 AM

That is a good point, but who's to say that the hotel already doesn't take the small bottles and refill them already? I know a gal who worked at a (well known) hotel and she described in detail worse scenarios than that. Unless it's sealed, I would be skeptical.

Posted by Jeff on October 13, 2011 11:23 AM

I was too busy to post on this until now:

This is one of many reasons I shave my head (hide my hairline, hide the grey, hide my age...). Shampoo? Conditioner? Who needs 'em? I make do with a bar of soap for everything and I'm just peachy. Let's be honest, did anyone use anything except soap before the 20th century? No, so do we really need anything more?

I suspect the reason hotels use small bars of soap is that guests don't want soap that has touched other people's bodies (read: nether regions). I can understand that reasoning, but I hate those piddly little things. If I'm staying anywhere for a length of time (more than three days), I buy a regular sized bar at a store and leave it behind when I go.

On my last vacation a month ago, I bought a bar at a convenience store and it lasted for the whole nine days I was there. How long would one of those tiny bars have lasted? How many would I have used up? A big bar was far easier to handle in the shower, and probably cost the same to the environment.

Posted by P Smith on October 13, 2011 01:58 PM