Luxury hotel collection, Red Carnation Hotels (RCH) has completely eradicated 15 commonly used Single Use Plastic (SUP) items from its 17 four and five star properties across the world. Among those cut from all hotel operations are those familiar hotel bathroom items such as shower caps, emery boards, cotton buds, and combs, which will be completely eliminated by RCH, or replaced with sustainable alternatives, by September 2019.

This is all part of a wider goal set by Red Carnation’s parent company, The Travel Corporation (TTC), and its not-for-profit The TreadRight Foundation, to eradicate all SUPs from operations across all its travel brands. TTC’s family of brands, under the guidance of TreadRight, made a commitment on World Environment Day 2018 to eliminate all SUPs from its portfolio of travel and tourism companies by 2022.

Immediately after the announcement, TTC instituted an immediate ban of more than 60 SUP items such as straws, stir sticks, water bottles, plastic bags, and cutlery from its 40 offices around the world. This was the first step in the group’s journey to completely eliminate SUPs across all operations.

15 Single Use Plastic items abolished from Red Carnation Hotels, and their sustainable alternatives:

1. Drinking Straws 

Plastic straws were one of the first SUP items to be eliminated across all RCH operations back in January 2018. Compostable paper straws or metal alternatives are now in operation across all hotels in the collection. Guests dining at bbar, a Red Carnation bar and restaurant in London’s Victoria, can sip their cocktails and beverages through 100% biodegradable pasta straws.

2. Cocktail Stirrers

From one of London’s best martinis at The Egerton House Hotel in Knightsbridge to molecular cocktails at The Chesterfield Mayfair, Red Carnation bars are renowned for their creative concoctions – in-house mixologists are now preparing cocktails with reusable cocktail stirrers made from glass, metal, stainless steel and bamboo. 

3. Takeaway Coffee Cups & Lids 

Red Carnation Hotel branded takeaway coffee cups are plastic free and fully compostable, with coffee lids made from fermented corn starch. 

4. Plastic Water Bottles 

Plastic water bottles are no longer available in any Red Carnation property. Each hotel has implemented a sustainable water service; either serving filtered water instead of bottled water, or supplying sustainable glass bottles of still and sparkling. All UK properties partner with ethical water supplier, Belu which gives 100 per cent of its net profits to its charity partner, WaterAid, in a bid to help the 884 million people currently living without clean drinking water. In 2018, Red Carnation’s support of Belu allowed WaterAid to transform over 2,000 lives through access to clean water.  

5. Staff Canteen Cups & Cutlery

The eradication of SUPs extends to each hotels’ back-of-house operations too – all staff canteens are now free from plastic cups and cutlery. 

6. Individual Food Portions

Butter and jam spread on freshly cooked toast, or fruit and muesli topped with yoghurt might be buffet breakfast staples for many, however the single portion tubs and packets contribute to wasteful plastic packaging. Breakfast items like cereals, yoghurts and spreads will now be purchased in larger quantities and served in glass bowls, ramekins and jars at the breakfast buffet. 

7. Plastic Pens 

Although pens may be deemed a multiple use item, the Red Carnation Hotel branded pens available in guest rooms and public spaces are made from metal instead of plastic. The team at Ashford Castle in Ireland are now using pencils instead of pens for admin use. 

8. Envelopes with Plastic Windows

Envelopes with plastic windows have been removed from operation at all reception desks and in central offices. 

9. Pedal Bin Liners 

Plastic bin liners are no longer used for individual bins in offices, bathrooms and communal staff areas. 

10. Coasters

Coasters for bedside water glasses or drinks in the bar are now comprised of reusable materials such as cork and leather or recyclable paper.  

11. Linen & Towel Delivery 

All 17 properties have been working with individual laundry partners to ensure laundry is collected and delivered without the use of plastic packaging. For example, the towels, bed and restaurant linen at The Montague on the Gardens in London’s Bloomsbury is now sent and delivered in cages and protected by re-usable fabric bags instead of plastic. 

12. Toothbrushes 

For those guests that leave their toothbrush at home, hotel teams will arrange for a toothbrush with a bamboo or wooden handle to be delivered to their room. 

13. Guest Dry Cleaning Bags 

Guest laundry will be collected using individual reusable fabric laundry bags which are placed in their room, and laundered items will be returned without plastic packaging. 

14. TV Remote Control

Sanitised remote controls are no longer placed in plastic bags, instead, a recycled paper wrap is now used to advise guests the remote in their room has been sanitised.

15. Piping Bags in Kitchens

The Executive Chef and kitchen teams at each hotel are now using reusable piping bags made from materials such as silicone. To perfect the intricate decorations on cakes, pastries and chocolates which delight guests, Ashford Castle’s Pastry Chef Paula prefers to use reusable piping bags made from nylon. 

Additionally, from the beginning of the 2019 operating season, TTC guided coach holiday brands (Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, Costsaver, Brendan Vacations, Contiki, AAT Kings and Inspiring Journeys) no longer made SUP water bottles available on its coaches. It is estimated that TTC’s efforts will help to eliminate the use of some 570 million plastic water bottles alone. TTC’s commitment also includes phasing out single-use plastics across its 20 Uniworld and U river cruise ships, and of course all Red Carnation Hotels.


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