California Could Ban Little Plastic Hotel Toiletry Bottles

After taking historic steps by becoming the first state to ban plastic bags and straws, California may be taking another big step to help reduce pollution. Those little plastic shampoo and other toiletry bottles that many hotels provide to their guests may soon be disappearing from the state.

A bill—AB-1162—would ban all California lodging establishments from providing 12-ounce or smaller single-use plastic bottles containing shampoo, conditioner, lotion and other toiletries. Instead, these establishments could provide larger bottles or, even better, install dispensers to help reduce more waste.

The ban would go into effect in January 2023 and apply to hotels, motels, resorts, bed and breakfasts and vacation rental properties. It would not apply to hospitals, nursing homes, retirement communities, schools or long-term and hosted rentals.

The owners and operators of lodging establishments would have at least a one-year advance notice of the ban. Those that continue to provide small plastic bottles will first receive a written warning from inspectors. If they continue to ignore the ban, they’ll face a fine of $500 for each subsequent violation, not to exceed $2,000 each year.

AB-1162, introduced by assembly members Mark Stone and Ash Kalra, is doing well so far as it makes its way through the California legislature. Earlier this month, it passed the Natural Resources Committee with a six-to-three vote (two members abstained).

“While it may not appear to be a problem on an individual level, small plastic bottles that are less than 12 ounces represent a sizeable amount of waste collectively that the state must address,” Kalra said.

Up to 90 percent of ocean litter is plastic polymers from items including those little bottles, according to the United Nations, which launched the Clean Seas campaign last year to help reduce this number. Plastic bottles take 450 years to decompose, the Ocean Conservancy reports.

Marine animals are increasingly digesting all those tons of plastic. Every species of sea turtle in the world is now eating it, according to a December 2018 study. Two whales were recently found with, respectively, 88 pounds and over 1,000 pieces of plastic garbage in their stomachs.

One Northern California county has already enacted a ban of small hotel toiletry bottles upon which the statewide one is based, and it’s the first of its kind in the country. The ordinance, passed by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors last December, will go into effect at the end of 2020.

Some hotel chains have also begun to do their part to reduce waste from single-use plastic. Last year, Marriott International announced it was removing plastic shampoo, conditioner and liquid soap bottles and installing dispensers in 1,500 of its properties in North America. The company said that doing this will eliminate 35 million of these bottles that usually end up in landfills.

Imagine all the litter that could be eliminated if plastic bottles are banned in all of California’s lodging establishments. Hopefully AB-1162 will pass, and other states will be inspired to enact their own bans.

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Photo credit: Getty Images


Daniel N
Daniel N16 days ago


Martha P
Martha P22 days ago


Louise A
Lara A26 days ago

thank you

Shae Lee
Shae Leeabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

Leo Custer
Leo Custerabout a month ago

Thank you for sharing!

Ellie L
Emma Labout a month ago

Thank you

Mike R
Mike Rabout a month ago

Thanks California.

Leo C
Leo Custerabout a month ago

Thank you for sharing!

Martha P
Martha Pabout a month ago

thanks for posting

Jeramie D
Jeramie Dabout a month ago

Good for California.