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Mandarin Oriental continues its progress in eliminating single-use plastic

In October 2019, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (MOHG) committed to eliminating all single-use plastic (SUP) across its entire portfolio of luxury hotels by the end of March 2021.

By the end of the first quarter of 2021, the Group had achieved a nearly 70% reduction in this annual plastic footprint. It is planned that all hotels will eliminate SUPs by the end of the first quarter of 2022, avoiding 930 tons of plastic waste annually. The group did not meet the target date due to the delay in utilizing existing SUP stockpiles because of the low level of activity caused by the pandemic.

The group committed to eliminating SUPs in all parts of its hotels, including guest rooms, spas, transportation, restaurants and bars, as well as in parts of the facility not seen by guests, such as offices, co-worker areas and kitchens. 

Six high-impact items accounted for 81% of SUP waste generated annually:

  • Trash bags (294 tons per year).
  • Water bottles (7.7 million bottles per year)
  • Slippers (816,000 pairs per year)
  • Vacuum bags for food (88 tons per year)
  • Food film (80 tons per year)
  • Hospitality products - shampoo, conditioner and shower gel (4.9 million bottles per year)

The pandemic resulted in temporary hotel closures and low occupancy rates, which slowed the depletion of existing stocks of plastic products by up to 12 months in some markets.

Several initiatives have been implemented, such as "We Care" packages for customers that include reusable, plastic-free cloth masks.
While the group has always sought to use totally plastic-free alternatives, some exceptions have been made such as toothbrush bristles, sanitary seals on F&B items, plastic seals on beverages or candy jars, and medical items.

Although supplier packaging is excluded from these calculations, as MOHG has no direct operational control, hotels continue to address this issue through collaborative actions with suppliers. 

The group will issue a further report on progress in Q4 2021. 

While our ambitious timeline to eliminate all single-use plastic from our properties by the end of March 2021 has been delayed by a year, largely due to the pandemic, we have made tremendous progress, with the majority of our hotels expected to meet the elimination goal by the end of July this year. Despite the current challenging conditions, our colleagues have continued to embrace our commitment to the group's sustainability responsibilities.

James Riley, Group Managing Director

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