CINCINNATI—Sustainability has been a main-stay hot topic when it comes to hotel bath products, especially with state-wide regulations put in place regarding single-use plastics. Plaine Products is following suit, offering an enhanced product line with a 3.5-gallon bulk refill option for its best-selling Rosemary Mint Vanilla shampoo and conditioner.
“We’re seeing more hotels transitioning to refillable containers for guest amenities which beautifully dovetails into our existing direct-to-consumer program,” said Lindsey McCoy, CEO of Plaine Products. “Consumers’ demand for sustainable products and packaging is increasing. The travel and tourism industry is receiving more attention in regards to sustainable practices and Plaine Products is thrilled for the opportunity to offer a sustainable alternative that doesn’t sacrifice quality.”
Plaine Product’s in-room hair and skincare products come in refillable containers, making for a cost-effective and eco-conscious alternative to individually-packaged products. In the future, Plaine Products plans to add body wash, hand wash and body lotion to its bulk offerings.
“The hotel market is a new one to us; we were inspired to provide alternatives for this sector after working with restaurants and retail stores in the Cincinnati area,” McCoy said. “While management was dedicated to our concept of vegan, natural products in reusable containers, it was too expensive to use at their scale with our standard-sized packaging. Over the past year, we have been hard at work sourcing a more economic vessel for our products, specifically looking for a larger container, compatible with our current mechanism to clean and sterilize our reusable packaging, and durable enough for a larger-scale use.”
Once partner hotels go through the 3.5-gallon bulk-sized containers, the empty container is sent back to Plaine Products for cleaning, refilling and return at no cost to the consumer.
“We give hotels the opportunity to provide the products that today’s consumer is demanding: biodegradable, toxin-free and safe for all hair types and family members, with the added bonus of no packaging waste,” she said.
McCoy said that she likes to think of the company’s hospitality business as a partnership versus and typical vendor/supplier relationship, providing not only sustainable products but effective ones as well.
“Our true point of differentiation is our packaging,” she said. “We are dedicated to the elimination of single-use plastic waste in bathrooms where plastic packaging is likely to go unrecycled. By the year 2050, there could be more plastic waste than fish in our oceans. However, in order to truly make an impact, we have to look beyond just reducing single-use plastic consumption in the average household bathroom. Our new bulk packaging gives us the opportunity to dramatically scale our impact.”
McCoy added that as the country went into quarantine during the outbreak of COVID-19, many people shifted to single-use products.
“Luckily, our team already had standard procedures for cleaning bottles prior to the pandemic,” McCoy said. “Customer confidence in our ability to safely sanitize multi-use bottles, coupled with our transparency about the process and a well-honed, web-based/socially-distanced distribution process, helped our business grow during quarantine.”
According to McCoy, Plaine Products has spent that past three years in the direct-to-consumer market, initiating relationships with retailers and equipping them with all they need to refill empty bottles. She believes the company has honed the process to a science and is able to tailor the distribution and refill experience to match the needs of the individual hotel.
“When we started Plaine Products, we took a risk,” she said. “Our success was dependent on our customers doing their part and returning their empty bottles, an extra step beyond tossing the empty bottle into the trash or recycling bin. We’ve established a strong customer base and often receive thank you notes within the boxes of empty bottles, showing our customers are as invested in sustainability as we are.”
She added, “The more companies like us and the more products like ours in the market, the more the concept of natural, sustainable products becomes mainstream. Likewise, the more outlets where products like ours are available, the more impact we can collectively make on the environment. While a natural, sustainable product available in a hotel bathroom may be a luxury now, we can see it becoming a consumer expectation in the near future.”