The bottom drawer of the vanity in our bathroom has a pretty good collection of hotel soaps, shampoos, conditioners, hand lotion, and mouthwash I’ve brought home from business trips over the years. Now the New York Times is reporting that the days of tiny hotel bottles of shampoo may be ending.
According to the Times, the little shampoo bottles are the focus of efforts by the large hotel chains, and lawmakers in states like California, to reduce plastic waste. A bill working its way through the California legislature would outlaw the tiny bottles, and some hotel chains are already moving to refillable dispensers instead. (Of course, the Times being what it is, it quotes “home organizers” who can explain to high-brow readers that some of us in the hoi polloi bring the elfin bottles home to use, and who can tsk-tsk at the unseemly clutter they create.)
The Times article suggests that some people bring the tiny bottles home as souvenirs of place they’ve stayed. That’s not my impetus — I do it because I’m cheap about stuff like that. It’s not like my grizzled mop needs high-end shampoos and conditioners; I’ll use whatever. If I can bring home bottles of shampoo and soaps so that I don’t have to buy them myself, why not do so? I haven’t bought shampoo in years. It’s a small savings, I know, but I figure that all of that penny-pinching will allow Kish and me to enjoy a few extra “Early Bird Special” dinners after we’re retired.
I’ve stayed at hotels with the new wall-mounted soap and shampoo dispensers. They’re fine, of course, although they definitely do have a more institutional feel to them — like you’re staying at the Hotel Kabul youth hostel rather than at a nice hotel. Nevertheless, I’m all in favor of reducing the plastic waste that is clogging the oceans and landfills, and those tiny bottles seem like a good place to start. I’m sure I’ll get used to the dispensers. Besides, I only use small dollops of the shampoo to work my hair into a good lather, so with the collection of tiny bottles we’ve got in the bottom drawer I’m covered for a good long while.