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Can refillable toiletries ever be stylish?

January 5, 2021

The appetite to reduce single-use plastic bottles associated with bathroom amenities is definitely there, but the perception is that the guest bathroom will look more like a shower cubicle at the local gym than a high-end boutique hotel.

Given the increased focus on reducing unnecessary single-use plastic products, the market for alternative products and services is booming. There is no one size fits all solution, what works for you will very much depend on your own style, your guest demographic and the availability of products in your area. Here we look in more detail at three potential refill strategies that might work for your business.

1. Wall Mounted Refills

Wall mounted refills can be stylish, luxurious, hygienic and safe. Luxury Amenity Brand Live+421 is a great example that uses a high quality stainless-steel and glass combination. The stainless-steel wall Brackets and are easy to clean and sanitise in situ and the glass bottles and their pumps can be regularly removed to go through a dishwashing cycle making disinfection on the inside easy. It helps to have two sets of bottles per room so that bottles can be replaced immediately if required.

Glass bottles can be branded with your own logo or message and look fantastic, being firmly attached via the tamperproof stainless-steel bracket means that they are safe for use in bathrooms, and they are also easy to keep clean as part of the daily housekeeping regime.

Most systems providers also offer a range of toiletry products, increasingly they are mindful of expectations for products to be vegan friendly, free from microbeads, made from natural ingredients etc and we are in no doubt that the range of options will continue to grow.

Pros:

Considerations:

2. Bespoke jars and bottles

Miniature in size but refillable, this approach works well in smaller accommodations where those responsible for housekeeping have the time to change jars and bottles between guests.

Providing toiletries in this way means you can have as few or as many options as you like, for example, you can provide body lotion in addition to shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. You might even consider offering a toiletry menu where guests can choose a fragrance or a shampoo type before their stay, enabling you to offer a more personalised service.

Pros:

Considerations:

3. Outsourced Refill Service

Refill services are growing in popularity, companies like Swoopl bring the refill to you in electric vehicles and others like Fill enable you to go to their premises and refill directly. Both take care of the large refill containers once they are empty so that they can be washed, sanitised and reused, keeping them in the economy and out of the waste infrastructure.
In these cases, you can choose the refillable bottle that most suits your requirements in terms of style and choose the refill company based on the toiletry products that they offer.

In these cases, you can choose the refillable bottle that most suits your requirements in terms of style and choose the refill company based on the toiletry products that they offer.

Pros:

Considerations:

As plastic reduction and hygiene are key concerns for accommodation businesses, follow our six steps to hygienic refill below:

  1. Choose quality refillable systems that are easy to keep clean and disinfected.
  2. Ensure refilling protocols consider all hygiene protocols and that staff who are responsible for refills are fully trained
  3. For wall mounted systems, choose designs that ensure amenities bottles are protected against client tampering.
  4. For smaller reusable jars and bottles, have a fail safe protocol to ensure bottles are refreshed daily or in between each new guest
  5. Disinfect bottles, pumps and brackets after each stay.
  6. Choose refillable bottles that are dishwasher safe, this means that they can be regularly removed and disinfected by going through a full dishwasher cycle.

In all instances, we recommend that you communicate your procedures to guests, let them know that not only are you implementing a safe and hygienic service that, but that it is also a more environmentally friendly choice and if you are supporting local businesses mention this too.

If refill still isn’t the right strategy for you, we will be featuring a range of other options to provide toiletries including solid bars, cubes and powders in our marketplace, be sure to check back in regularly to see what’s new.

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Jo Hendrickx
Jo Hendrickx
Jo is a sustainability professional living in Gran Canaria with over 20 years of experience in the global tourism industry. She has worked extensively with hotels and accommodation providers around the world since 2001 helping managers to navigate the health, safety, quality and sustainability expectations of tour operators. Increasingly concerned with the impacts of unnecessary plastics, Jo was motivated to create Travel Without Plastic to support those hotels that want to make a difference.
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