Ritz-Carlton to put environmentally-friendly water bottles in hotel rooms

There’s a human element to hotels that often goes unnoticed by its guests. Beyond the check-in desk and past the steel “Staff Only” doors are employees with real feelings and concerns about the communities in which they live, and those emotions are apparent in the social efforts made both inside and outside the hotel. From clean-up programs to rescue efforts, hotels have consistently offered ways their staff and guests can give back. Simply put: I love when good brands do good deeds.

The Ritz-Carlton announced today it will offer environmentally-friendly water bottles at its North American hotels and select properties in the Caribbean. This news comes at a time when many travelers are seeking information on the oil spill clean-up efforts, and is another example of how the hospitality industry is working hard to help build social awareness around our top environmental issues.

According to a statement from the hotel, an estimated 5 million, 16oz-plastic water bottles are used every year at Ritz-Carlton properties. Armed with this information, Simon F. Cooper, president and chief operating officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, challenged his team to find a more environmentally-friendly solution.”Four years ago I realized that we were sending 10 million plastic bottles to landfills in North America, and we have been working with suppliers ever since to change that,” Mr. Cooper told me.

Fast forward to today, and guests at Ritz-Carlton’s North American hotels and select properties in the Caribbean will now drink from a 16oz all-natural water bottle made entirely from plants. The co-branded water bottle, part of a new partnership between The Ritz-Carlton and Prima, can decompose in 30 days in a commercial composting facility, or can be reprocessed and remade 100 percent into new bottles.

Manufacturing the new bottle requires 49 percent less fossil fuels, 45 percent less energy, and 75 percent less greenhouse gases than a classic plastic water bottle. The renewable Prima water bottle is made from Ingeo, a performance plastic comprised of 100 percent renewable resources.

“Plastic bottles are made from crude oil, take a significant amount of energy to produce, and less than 20 percent are sent to recycling facilities. Even when recycled, these bottles cannot be used to make the same quality of plastic,” Cooper said.

Earlier this year, Marriott International (which includes The Ritz-Carlton Hotel brands) announced the launch of a water conservation project in China. The new Prima water is expected to transition to all North American and select Caribbean properties within the next few weeks.