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Dispensers vs Amenities

There has been a lot of hype in the media lately about the change of large hotel groups such as Mariott International and Holiday Inns to change to wall mounted dispensers in the bathrooms.

I came across this interesting article which is worth the read Click Here it’s an article written by Brian Cohen.  It explains the pros and cons of dispensers vs disposable packaged amenities.

I have been in the amenities industry for 20 years now and dispensers always seem to be a contentious issue.

Dispensers are only as good as the level of training given to the staff. They need to be refilled, cleaned and sterilised daily.  Just imagine: You shower, pump the liquids into your hand, then wash your bum. Then you pump liquids again to wash other body parts, is there cross-contamination? I would say so!  Do the hotels sterilise the dispensers after each person has been in the room? I would hazard a guess, not!

Each dispenser needs to be refilled, the bulk products are supplied in either 5 litre containers or 25 litre drums,  these are made from plastic.  These too will end up in landfills if not recycled.  1 x 5 litre drum is about 123 grams and the little 30ml bottles are less than 10 grams each,  so there are 166 serving of liquids in a 5 litre refill at 30ml per serving.   The saving is actually only 43 units per 5 litre,  however the cost implication is huge.

30 000 30ml bottles sent to the recycling yard = 1 tonne of material.  so we should recycle,  not put these little bottles into landfill.

The knock on effect will be huge and many jobs will be lost in the industry.

  • Amenities are manufactured around the world and create thousands of jobs,  from the blow moulding to the filling and distribution.
  • the small bottles are marketing tools for hotels,  they are taken home and put into bathroom cupboards where they are left unused for many years.  however the brand is always in the consumers face when the cupboard is opened.
  • small bottles are hygienic, easier to use,  and stock is easier to control.
  • Wall dispenser could be rendered useless if it falls off of the wall, is broken, or is simply not functional due to lack of proper maintenance
  • Dispensing product can be more difficult than necessary — such as pumping numerous times just to use enough product
  • Housekeeping staff must be called if wall dispenser was never refilled (this is normally discovered once you are already naked and in the shower, seriously inconvenient!)
  • Guests can potentially tamper with wall dispensers, depending on their designs
  • Potential contamination of germs with the number of people who use wall dispensers if they are not cleaned or disinfected properly
  • Guests can take small bottles or tubes of unused products with them, as they are convenient for traveling
  • As with other environmental measures, wall dispensers are touted to guests as environmentally friendly when really the main focus may be to save the hotel or resort property money.

Hotels should rather invest in a good recycling programme and donate the plastic bottles to manufacture furniture, bricks etc for poverty stricken areas thereby giving back to the communities.  Hotel rooms contain plastic water bottles, plastic bin bags and laundry bags, pens, glass cover,  even tea bags contain plastic, so why get rid of an incredible marketing opportunity?

Soap can be recycled and donated to schools to teach the importance of hand washing.


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