Long a mainstay of the hotel business, those mini soaps and tiny bottles of shampoo and lotion will soon be gone in one of the world's largest chains.

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is removing the personal-sized amenities in its 843,000 guest rooms across its 17 hotel brands. Instead, guests will find bulk-sized toiletries in all rooms by the end of 2021.

IHG — which owns Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotels — said it's the first global hotel company to swap out the individual toiletries.

"Switching to larger-size amenities across more than 5,600 hotels around the world is a big step in the right direction and will allow us to significantly reduce our waste footprint and environmental impact as we make the change," CEO Keith Barr said in a news release.

"We've already made great strides in this area, with almost a third of our estate already adopting the change and we're proud to lead our industry by making this a brand standard for every single IHG hotel. We're passionate about sustainability and we'll continue to explore ways to make a positive difference to the environment and our local communities."

IHG said about 200 million mini toiletries are placed in bathrooms in its hotels each year. When those are gone, "the company expects to see a significant reduction in plastic waste."

Along similar environmentally conscious lines, IHG is removing plastic straws in its properties by the end of 2019. The ban will eliminate roughly 50 million plastic straws each year.

Environmental and commercial sense

hotel refillable toiletries Some hotels already offer toiletries in refillable bottles. (Photo: Breslavtsev Oleg/Shutterstock)

Although IHG might be the first company to make the toiletries switch across all their properties, other hotels have used refillable toiletries and the reasons aren't entirety altruistic.

"Budget hotels have always been more likely to have bulk shampoo and conditioner dispensers in the shower, and some also have them by the sink. The reason is cost," Henry H. Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst and the president of Atmosphere Research Group, told The New York Times. "It costs them less to install and service these bulk dispensers than providing individual cakes of soap and bottles of shampoo, conditioner and the like."

Combine the cost savings with the reduced environmental impact and you can see why a company this big would reach this conclusion. IHG CEO Barr told the Times that the toiletries swap is a win-win that just "makes environmental and commercial sense."

Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.

Those hotel mini soaps and shampoo bottles will soon be history
Holiday Inn owner will swap tiny toiletries in hotels around the world.