Whine Wednesdays: ANA Intercontinental Hotel Tokyo Offers Individually Plastic Wrapped Sugar Cubes But No Plastic Straws


It’s another Whine Wednesday and this week I found something truly sad, yet comical when staying at the Intercontinental ANA Tokyo last week where customers at the club lounge are served sugar cubes individually wrapped in plastic.

At the same time the hotel doesn’t offer customers straws made out of plastic anymore but paper only – in the name of sustainability.

Hotels all over the world have started to eliminate single use plastics from their daily operations and to a point that makes sense as well.

It starts to become a farce however when at the same time the property starts to offer products that are so obviously wasteful that it’s already sad.

I stayed at the Intercontinental ANA Tokyo last week and when having a coffee at the club lounge I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw how they serve the sugar: Each cube is individually wrapped in plastic.

Now, this isn’t any sugar but rather some (supposedly) special brand of “pure cane sugar” but that doesn’t make it any better.

This is a club lounge exclusive item. In other parts of the hotel as far as I could see they would serve the sugar wrapped in paper.

You can find a dedicated page to the hotels sustainability policy here.

Sustainability is as important to you as it is to our hotel.

ANA InterContinental Tokyo use the IHG Green Engage system, an innovative online environmental sustainability system that gives our hotels the means to measure and manage their impact on the environment. We reduce their energy, water and waste, and improve their impact on the environment.

By staying in our hotel, you are part of a worldwide effort to protect our environment.

Maybe it’s another one of these cases where the left arm doesn’t know what the right one does because otherwise there is no explanation why a property that is otherwise proud of their environmental policy would buy and then distribute such products.

It’s not an isolated situation though, especially in Asia. We had multiple cases where hotels and even airlines (JAL) have served shark fin products despite their corporate governance policy prohibiting exactly that. In all cases we reported about the corporate offices acted and removed the products.


Not sure who thought this was a good idea to buy plastic wrapped sugar. Not only doesn’t it make any sense whatsoever but it’s also annoying to unwrap each cube one by one.

As far as plastic use is concerned I’d much rather have the option of getting a proper plastic straw when needed instead of this sugar action. While I do believe that while the environment protection programs in hotels are important, the ever increasing fight against general items made of plastic is often sometimes too far. Especially in countries that have a rigorous recycling system it makes very little sense to go after any and all plastic items such as shower gel containers which many chains have now vowed to ban (likely still available upon request).