Legislation snaking through state law could make New York the second state in the country to ban custom-sized environmentally harmful plastic bottles from hotels and motels.

The legislative push – led by Senator Todd Kaminsky and Congregation member Steve Englebright – is the latest step in recent legislative efforts to address the ever-growing problem of disposable plastics. In 2019, lawmakers banned plastic bags in grocery stores and other retail stores. And in 2020, the exit from food and beverage containers made of polystyrene foam was ordered.

Tens of millions of tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and other lotion are used and thrown away in hotels and motels across New York State each year. While these and other plastic containers offer short-term convenience, they create environmental problems at every stage of their life cycle, from manufacture to disposal.

As Senator Kaminsky said when the Senate bill was introduced, “By preventing hotels from giving customers single-use plastic toiletries, we’re protecting our environment and reducing pollution from plastic and waterways.”

In particular, Kaminsky-Englebright Bills S543 and A5082 would prohibit hotels and motels from providing guests with plastic bottles less than 12 ounces in size that contain toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion, or liquid soap. The legislative intent is to encourage innkeepers to switch to larger, refillable dispensers, thereby reducing both the amount of unused liquids and the amount of plastic waste that is created with each guest visit. The ban would come into effect on January 1, 2024 for all hotels with more than 50 rooms and a year later for all smaller hotels.

In the war on disposable plastics, thanks to NYS Senator Todd Kaminsky and Congregation member Steve Englebright, individual toilet bottles are pending in hotels / motels.

NeonJellyfish / Getty Images file

If the Legislature passes the Kaminsky-Englebright Legislature, New York will join California as the first second state to stop using the tiny toiletry bottles. In 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a 2023 ban on individual toilet bottles in hotels and motels in the Golden State.

In addition to the environmental benefits of the proposed legislation, banning individual bottles would save money for hotel and motel owners and managers.

For this reason in part, several leading hotel companies have already started accepting the switch. Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel chain, has announced plans to remove individual toilet bottles from its 7,000 hotels. The company estimates that if fully implemented, this move will keep 500 million toilet bottles out of the waste stream each year.

Replacing disposable toilet bottles with refillable dispensers like these will reduce waste, fight the climate crisis and save money for hotels and motels.

Plastics for making toilet bottles and hundreds of other products are made from fossil fuels. And increasingly, the manufacture of these products has become an important source of income for the oil and gas industry.

Indeed, global plastics production is expected to double within 20 years.

Ultimately, if we are to curb global warming emissions, we must find ways to limit the wasteful use of disposable plastics.

The Kaminsky-Englebright toilet bottle ban legislation is another sensible step in the right direction.