Shanghai hotel guests should not expect to find a free toothbrush in their rooms from July. Photo: Shutterstock
Shanghai hotel guests should not expect to find a free toothbrush in their rooms from July. Photo: Shutterstock

Shanghai hotels told to stop providing free toothbrushes, combs as city looks to reduce waste

  • Authorities say they will issue fines of up to US$725 if firms dole out any of six disposable items unless requested by a guest
  • Move is part of a wider campaign to cut down on domestic and commercial waste in the east China metropolis
Topic |   Environment

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Shanghai hotel guests should not expect to find a free toothbrush in their rooms from July. Photo: Shutterstock
Shanghai hotel guests should not expect to find a free toothbrush in their rooms from July. Photo: Shutterstock

Hotels in Shanghai have been told they will be fined up to 5,000 yuan (US$725) for providing guests with disposable items like toothbrushes and combs unless they are specifically requested, as authorities in the east China metropolis launch their latest environmental campaign.

“Hotel operators … [must take] responsibility for the green, sustainable development of the city,” the local government said in a statement published over the weekend.

The measure is part of a citywide effort to reduce the amount of garbage produced by households and businesses, it said.

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Under the new rule, which takes effect on July 1, hotels will be fined between 500 and 5,000 yuan for providing any of six disposable items – the four others being shower scrubs, razors, nail files and shoe brushes – as standard in guest bedrooms.

Hotels in Shanghai will be fined for providing certain disposable items without being asked to do so. Photo: Thepaper.cn
Hotels in Shanghai will be fined for providing certain disposable items without being asked to do so. Photo: Thepaper.cn

The fines would not apply, however, if a hotel provided any of the restricted items at the request of a guest, Gu Jianbin, the head of the market department under the municipal culture and tourism bureau, was quoted as saying in a report by Thepaper.cn.

Gu said that other items, like toothpaste and shower gel, had been excluded from the list as people often arrived at hotels without them due to aviation industry restrictions on what liquids and lotions they can carry.

Several major hotels in Shanghai, including the Banyan Tree Shanghai On The Bund and Sofitel, said they were aware of the new rules and would comply with them.

“We will stop supplying items on the list from July, as required,” said a worker at the The Longemont Shanghai in the city’s Changning district.

Shanghai is not the first city to introduce such a restriction.

Authorities in Shandong province issued a directive in October saying that hotel customers must be charged for certain disposable items. A six-month trial period began in December and the new rule comes into force at the start of June.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Shanghai hotels told to stop flow of disposables