Coming Clean About Plastic: Marriott’s Recent Decision Will Save 375,000 Pounds Annually

By Chris Powell

Last week, I read a Wall Street Journal article about the Marriott corporation transitioning away from using small bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. In an environmentally-conscious move, the company is switching to larger bottles in wall-mounted racks in 450 hotels at five brands and plans to expand to 1,500 hotels in North America by January, according to the story. This news is particularly relevant for me, as a few weeks ago I started my own social experiment: a month without using single-use plastic (more on that later).Trust me, it’s not an easy thing to do. It has raised my awareness of plastic enormously. Plastic is everywhere, and this move by Marriott is definitely a step in the right direction, in my opinion.

According to hotel industry experts, billions of half-used bottles are thrown away every year. That’s the equivalent of approximately 1,000 bottles for every hotel room – multiplied by more than five million hotel rooms – and that’s just in the United States.

By transitioning to bulk dispensers, Marriott will initially reduce its plastic footprint by 113,000 pounds of plastic per year. When the entire chain of hotels switches to bulk, Marriott will reduce its plastic use by 34.5 million bottles – or 375,000 pounds of plastic every year.

Marriott follows the move by the InterContinental Hotels Group, which is also installing wall-mounted bulk dispensers at four of its brands this year. What’s even more exciting about this move is that Gaylord Hotels, which is part of the Marriott corporation and a Commvault customer,

is adopting this new program. The Gaylord Rockies will implement the new standard this fall. Other Gaylord Hotels will adopt the policy by the end of 2019. It’s awesome to see our customers taking positive steps to address environmental issues and raise awareness of how small changes in behavior can make a big impact.

What’s interesting about this change is some of the resistance Marriott is receiving. Yes, it’s a change to what travelers traditionally experience in a hotel room, but I think the positive environmental impact is a testament to Marriott’s corporate responsibility mission. This move isn’t generating a financial savings for the company: it’s a break-even proposition. I think it’s a great example of a company doing something different in order to make a change in the world – in this case, changing the way it uses plastic and doing the right thing for the future.

I’ve seen and used the bulk dispensers at the Marriott Courtyard in Tinton Falls, N.J., where I am a regular guest. I am thrilled to know one of our customers is part of this proactive effort to change the way it does business to better the planet. Kudos to Marriott, Gaylord Hotels and InterContinental. I am excited by their initiatives to reduce their plastic footprint and hope other chains follow suit. 

One final note: Commvault will host its annual customer conference, Commvault GO, at the Gaylord Nashville in October 2018. (What kind of CMO would I be if I wasn’t promoting a Commvault event at a customer venue?)