Yorkshire’s only five-star hotel has pledged to eliminate single use plastic by December 31. The Grand, York, has informed all its suppliers that, if they cannot find an alternative form of packaging in time, then it will have no choice but to shop elsewhere.
The plan is the brainchild of the luxury hotel’s Junior Board, which is made up of junior members of staff and has the backing of senior management.
They identified where and when single use plastic is used in each department, from the kitchens, to the 207 bedrooms, the Spa and even the marketing departments and offices.
Then they invited suppliers of everything from fresh fish to toiletries, to a sustainability summit at the hotel to look at what can be done to eliminate single use plastic.
“And that is just the tip of the iceberg,” said chair of The Grand’s Junior Board, marketing executive Olivia Odudu. “When we started to really look into it, single use plastic was everywhere – from our branded marketing materials, to food packaging.
“What we wanted to discover was what could be used in its place – and so far, the response from the suppliers has been really positive and enthusiastic.”
Proposed plans for change include delivering fruit and vegetables in cardboard punnets, rather than plastic packaging and refilling bedroom toiletries, while the company which launders towels and bed linen has agreed to remove the single use plastic used to protect it.
“They were happy to agree to that once they had visited our linen rooms,” said Olivia. “They needed to know linen wasn’t stored on surfaces which could damage or mark it, or that might leave fibers, such as chipboard.”
Some uses of single use plastic are not so easy to overcome, such as the sheet which protects fresh fish from being damaged by the ice required to keep it in perfect condition, but the hotel is committed to working with its suppliers to find a solution.
“However, make no mistake,” said general manager, Philip Bolson, “if an alternative to single use plastic can’t be found then we will simply not stock that product or use that service.”
The ban on single use plastic is one element of a wider The Grand Goes Green initiative which the junior board is rolling out across the hotel in stages.
“It’s just the start,” said Olivia, “but it’s a good start. Someone has to lead the way – and where we lead others will follow.”