Plastic banned from toiletries | Otago Daily Times News Online

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When Melissa Parker Bentley discovered the amount of trash generated by single-use hotel toiletries, it put her in a foam.

The Dunedin-based accountant was on maternity leave with her second child when she saw in the media that floodwaters opened the Fox Glacier landfill in 2019.

The beach was littered with trash that dumped into the sea and those who clean up said most of the trash came from the hospitality and tourism industry.

At that time, Hospitality New Zealand said it was estimated that the accommodation industry used around 76 million bottles of shampoo, conditioner and bath gel each year.

As an avid traveler, Ms. Parker Bentley was “appalled” and believed there had to be a better way, as this number would result in the use of “billions” of mini-bottles around the world.

Looking for more eco-friendly options, she bought a shampoo bar and described it as “awful” so she did some more research and started her own trials in her kitchen.

With an accounting and business background, she learned cosmetic chemistry on her own and spent the next year perfecting the recipe.

It was a ‘pretty delicate’ substance to work with.

While she could do small batches in her kitchen, Mrs. Parker Bentley realized she needed machines and the reality was that outsourcing was the most cost effective way to do it.

It took her about a year to find a suitable manufacturer and now she had a soap maker in Auckland making for her, using a formula very similar to what she made in her kitchen.

His company, Spire NZ, was launched this month, providing plastic-free hotel toiletries; all-in-one solid shampoo, conditioner and body soap, and guest soaps. Each all-in-one bar replaced the need for three separate mini-toiletries for hotels, saving unnecessary plastic bottles from ending up in landfills.

Hotel toiletries had become a ubiquitous part of the guest experience, but what she described as a “cheap thrill” came at a huge price for the environment.

Even though many of these bottles are recyclable, millions of them end up in the trash every year.

“Plastic pollution is a growing concern for travelers and the hospitality industry, but few options are available to dispose of plastic,” she said.

Ms Parker Bentley received positive feedback from her interlocutors, including the Bell Hill Apartments in Dunedin who had tested her samples.

Launching a hospitality product during a pandemic may not seem like such a good decision, but she thought hosting providers potentially had more time now to look at other options, rethink how they reached. sustainability and consider the change in consumption.

Having a product made in New Zealand to offer to New Zealand businesses was great because it also reduced the carbon footprint. Most of the mini toiletries were imported, bought wholesale, and very cheap.

These could take 400 years to decompose in a landfill, while its biodegradable and plant-based products would be gone in three months if they landed there.

Ms Parker Bentley had a manufacturer in the Netherlands who had started making bars for sale in Europe and the UK and the intention was to launch in the UK before Christmas.

She had also spoken to a manufacturer in the United States and received samples and was planning to launch there next year.

It was the perfect time as a ban on single-use plastic for hotels arrived in California and other US states in 2023.

Ms. Parker Bentley had global aspirations, saying the key to having the biggest impact on reducing plastic waste was to “do more”.

Originally from South Africa, she moved to New Zealand at the age of 18. Passionate about business and entrepreneurship, she worked as a financial auditor for many years and as a financial accountant, and spent four years in the UK, including working at the London Stock Exchange.

She and her husband Kiwi, who have two children, moved to Dunedin nine years ago. Most of her time was now spent at Spire NZ and she performed subcontracting work for Opportune Consulting on carbon emissions reporting and inventory.

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