6-year-old hotel guest happy to have Ramada consider her environmental advice

A six-year-old who saw plastic plates and cutlery used at a hotel continental breakfast wrote a letter to the Ramada in Olds asking them to stop the waste.

Ellie O'Hara was shocked at the amount of plastic used during breakfast buffet

Ellie O'Hara, 6, wrote a letter to the Ramada hotel chain asking them to stop using disposable plastic dishes for their breakfast buffet. (Ryan O'Hara)

Six-year-old Ellie O'Hara was shocked to see plastic cups, plates and cutlery going into the garbage at a Ramada hotel breakfast buffet in Olds, Alta., so she decided to do something about it.

She sat down and printed a letter on the hotel's own letterhead, asking them to make a change.

"To the hotel," she wrote in her careful, large block printing.

"Why can't you think about Mother Earth? Pretty please could you use reusable plates and cups for breakfast? From Ellie O'Hara."

The Calgary family, who had stopped in Olds due to treacherous winter road conditions, carried on the next day on their way to Edmonton.

Ellie's dad Ryan said he was surprised to receive a call from a hotel employee later on, who said they had read Ellie's letter and would consider her advice.

The letter six-year-old Ellie O'Hara penned to the Ramada in Olds, Alta. (Ryan O'Hara)

"She had initially thought, she's just a kid and that it wouldn't have any input and it wouldn't matter. But I think she realized that kids as well as adults have a voice and it's kind of up to you to use it," Ryan said. "And she realized there was an impact in her speaking what she thought and sharing that with the hotel chain."

Ellie, along with her dad, spoke to the Calgary Eyeopener.

"So at breakfast there wasn't reusable plates and cups, and at the end of breakfast, I thought about it: 'How come they don't use reusable plates? It could go into the garbage land, and in the ocean, and the animals could get sick. So I said to my mom and dad, 'Can I write a letter?'"

Ryan described the person he heard from as a Ramada spokesperson, not an owner.

The person he spoke with, a manager at the hotel in Olds, later told CBC News they haven't committed to phasing out plastic dishes, but it's something they're considering for the future.

It was a message Ryan was happy to pass along to his daughter.

"When you see those things from kids, it's sometimes the nudge that you need to get going on things and sometimes puts a bit more attention on it," he said.

"In the end, hopefully that is something that they are able to implement and she can feel that she did maybe make a little bit of a difference there."

Listen to the full interview with Ellie O'Hara and Ryan O'Hara here:

A 6-year-old environmentalist gives a hotel chain a hard time about serving breakfast on disposable plastic plates. 2:15

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.


  • An earlier version of this story stated incorrectly that the hotel chain would be phasing out plastic dishes in southern Alberta. In fact, according to a manager at the Ramada in Olds, it's something the hotels are looking at but have not yet committed to doing.
    Apr 02, 2019 11:17 AM MT