Why I Don’t Want Plastic Bottled Water in My Hotel Room: Changes a Hotel Can Make to Be More Sustainable

As a frequent traveller, one of my pet peeves is the ubiquitous plastic bottled water provided in hotel rooms. While the gesture is appreciated and sometimes the need for bottled water is necessary, the environmental impact is significant. In an age where sustainability should be at the forefront of our minds, it’s time for hotels to rethink their practices. Here’s why I believe plastic bottled water has no place in my hotel room and some changes hotels can implement to be more sustainable.

The Problem with Plastic Bottled Water

  1. Environmental Impact: Plastic bottles contribute massively to global pollution. It’s estimated that 1 million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute, and a staggering number of these end up in landfills or, worse, our oceans. This not only harms wildlife but also disrupts ecosystems.
  2. Carbon Footprint: The production and transportation of bottled water have a significant carbon footprint. From extracting and processing raw materials to the energy consumed in bottling and transporting, the entire lifecycle of a plastic bottle is laden with carbon emissions.
  3. Health Concerns: Studies have shown that plastic bottles can leach chemicals into the water they contain, especially when exposed to heat. These chemicals, such as BPA, have been linked to various health issues.

Sustainable Alternatives for Hotels

  1. Filtered Water Stations: Installing filtered water stations in reception, on each floor or in common areas encourages guests to refill their own reusable bottles. This simple step can drastically reduce plastic waste.
  2. Glass Bottles: Offering water in glass bottles is a more sustainable option. Glass is recyclable and doesn’t pose the same health risks as plastic. Some hotels even opt for glass bottles that can be refilled and sanitised on-site.
  3. In-Room Water Dispensers: Investing in in-room water dispensers is another excellent alternative. These can provide chilled, filtered water at the push of a button, eliminating the need for single-use bottles entirely.
  4. Partnerships with Local Water Providers: Hotels can collaborate with local water companies to provide high-quality, locally-sourced water in sustainable packaging. This not only supports local businesses but also reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting bottled water over long distances.

Additional Steps Towards Sustainability

  1. Eco-Friendly Amenities: Beyond water, hotels can switch to eco-friendly amenities such as refillable soap and shampoo dispensers instead of single-use plastic bottles.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Implementing energy-efficient lighting, heating, and cooling systems can significantly reduce a hotel’s carbon footprint. Motion sensors for lights and smart thermostats are excellent investments.
  3. Waste Reduction Programmes: Establishing comprehensive recycling programmes and reducing food waste through better inventory management and donating excess food to local charities can make a big difference.
  4. Sustainable Sourcing: From locally-sourced food to eco-friendly cleaning products, hotels can make a conscious effort to choose sustainable options. This not only supports the environment but can also enhance the guest experience by offering higher quality, locally-sourced products.


The hospitality industry has a unique opportunity to lead by example in the fight against plastic pollution and climate change. By eliminating plastic bottled water from hotel rooms and implementing sustainable practices, hotels can reduce their environmental impact, appeal to eco-conscious travellers, and contribute to a healthier planet. As guests, we can support these efforts by choosing hotels that prioritise sustainability and by making environmentally-friendly choices during our stay. It’s time for the industry to embrace change and for all of us to say no to plastic bottled water in our hotel rooms.