a white sock with a string
Photograph ©2024 by Brian Cohen.

Are Disposable Hotel Slippers Next to Be Banned?

Should slippers be given the slip?

When a guest checks in to a luxury hotel or resort property, one of the amenities is usually at least one pair of complimentary disposable slippers — but are disposable hotel slippers next to be banned?

Are Disposable Hotel Slippers Next to Be Banned?

Disposable slippers that are available at hotel and resort properties are typically constructed of fabric and plastic. They usually cannot be recycled, which is why they are the latest target in the name of sustainability.

Plastic cups, plastic straws, and single-use plastic bottles for toiletries have either been eliminated or banned in an increasing number of locations worldwide — but plastic straws can be replaced with paper straws or bamboo straws; and small plastic bottles can be replaced with toiletries that are wrapped in paper or bulk dispensers for use by multiple guests. We supposedly ingest enough plastic to eat one credit card per week.

Replacing slippers that are considered to be environmentally unfriendly is not easy to do — although the following initiatives are possible, with some of them already in use:

  • Construct slippers out of materials that are more environmentally friendly so that they can be recycled
  • Encourage guests to take disposable slippers home to continue to use them
  • Have the slippers available to guests only if they specifically request them
  • Create slippers that are of better construction and quality with materials that are more durable and comfortable so that they are not as disposable; and encourage guests to take the slippers home to continue to use them
  • Discontinue offering disposable slippers altogether

That each pair of disposable slippers is usually wrapped in plastic does not help matters in terms of the environment — but pairs of slippers have been known to be wrapped in their own cloth bags that sometimes include a handy drawstring.

Final Boarding Call

I like disposable slippers; but I do not dispose of them unless they cannot be used anymore. I reuse them because:

  • The floors of rooms at hotel and resort properties are usually not very clean
  • Unlike “reusable” slippers, they take up very little space in my bag — which is important to a person who packs as little as possible in order to avoid checking luggage
  • They are easier to slip on than socks and most shoes — especially during the night or at a swimming pool
  • Sand can be cleaned out of them easier when at a beach

Slippers are one of a number of items and services which differentiate an upscale lodging option from the rest. Some hotel and resort properties also use them for branding purposes.

Some people use sandals or “flip-flops” for similar purposes. I do not care for either of them. I prefer wearing sneakers when I am out and about; and the disposable slippers for when I am in the room for the night at a hotel or resort property.

Do you believe that disposable slippers should be banned for environmental reasons?

Photograph ©2024 by Brian Cohen.

  1. I like those slippers. I take them for home use. Usually, they are given to house guest who actually use them. I want my free slippers. If they ban them, then give me flip flops, which cost more.

    With that kind of logic, ban hotel TV’s because the TV is not really recyclable. Ban toilets because the ceramic is usually thrown away, not recycled. Ban light bulbs because they are not easily recyclable.

    So you will have a hotel with no individual shampoo, no toilet, no TV, no slippers, to light bulbs.

  2. I’m not a fan a virtue signalling where the environmental reasons and reality don’t add up, but I do think one use slippers is something that needs to go away.

    But that being said, it just doesn’t make sense to provide “one use and trash” items imho. As guests on this planet, we need to think in bigger terms. We need to produce less trash…and also if we make/build something and use energy to create it I think we need to use it more than one time. Many more times, imho.

    I’ll always remember my first trip to Japan where this was common place and it seemed really cool. But upon reflection, it doesn’t make sense.

    @derek, I think you’re a bit off base with your comparisons. TVs, toilets, and lightbulbs all are used many more times than once. Like every day for years. With respect, I think it’s a false comparison.

    1. I agree with you, John Montgomery.

      Perhaps it is a fault of mine; but I rarely use items one time and then dispose of them. I will use disposable slippers more than once. I will use the free earphones that are given to passengers aboard airplanes until the wires become frayed. I will refill a plastic beverage bottle that is meant for one use. I will reuse single-use plastic toiletry bottles with which to travel — such as for mouthwash. I will reuse cardboard boxes. I use newspaper for multiple purposes — including as a weed inhibitor and mulch in a garden or as fuel for an outdoor grill without using lighter fluid.

      I try to contribute as little as possible to landfills; so I would like to think that I am doing my part — as insignificant as it may be in the grand scheme of things…

    2. By John Montgomery’s criteria, the slippers should stay because they are far more durable than a single use.

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