Top 10 Zero Waste Travel Tips
PLANNING A TRIP AND WANT TO LOWER YOUR IMPACT?
Ever noticed how much waste is created whilst travelling? From plastic packaged inflight drinks and snacks, to single use boarding passes and free travel size plastic toiletries sets offered by hotels. Then there's the carbon emissions from transport to consider especially when flying.
It can be pretty challenging to avoid single-use waste and lower your impact whilst travelling. I find preparation is key and by changing your habits step by step you will become more prepared for when you need to travel and wish to lower your impact.
Read on to discover my Top 10 Low Waste Travel Tips.
1. TAKE YOUR REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE AND COFFEE CUP
Avoid being caught out when travelling by simply popping a reusable water bottle and coffee cup in your bag. Within the UK, look out for Refill Stations across towns and cities. Refill is designed to help you reduce your plastic pollution, by making it easy to refill your reusable water bottle. Download the Refill App to find your nearest station. If you can't find a local refill station most shops, cafes and restaurants won't mind refilling your water bottle. Just ask! The same goes for popping your take-out hot drink in a reusable cup (lots of coffee shops actually offer you a discount!!).
When travelling abroad the most reliable way to purify water is by boiling it. Most places in Western Europe have safe drinking water although it's worth checking beforehand if the tap water is safe to drink in the country you are visiting.
2. DON'T FORGET YOUR REUSABLES
Ensure you have extra bags to carry all your reusables and snacks (particularly good idea if you have children who need to snack regularly). Produce bags are so handy if you want to buy snacks on the go such as pastries or fruit. Remember to include reusable cutlery for snacks and meals. When travelling in the UK I just grab some from home (no need to buy more!) however if you’re travelling abroad reusable bamboo cutlery is advisable due to safety restrictions on flights - they'll also be lighter to carry! I find a cutlery pouch is handy as I can add some reusable straws for my children.
Along with my filled cutlery pouch I find it really useful to take some reusable napkins. Again, there's no need to buy new, just use what you already have. I tend to take some table napkins from home to avoid using single use disposable napkins. Great for both meal times and for storing food items on the go!
3. TAKE YOUR OWN TOILETRIES
Avoid the mini plastic bottles offered by hotels by bringing your own toiletries. Many low waste plastic-free toiletries are easy to transport and will prevent the waste created by single-use disposable freebies. I love taking my Beauty Kubes Shampoo and Conditioner cubes as you can just take a few for your trip and pop them in a tin along with a soap bar. Tip: rather than take a whole soap/shampoo bar just cut a section large enough to last you for your trip. Same goes for our Georganics Mouthwash Tablets! If travelling abroad having solid bars are ideal as you won’t have to worry about liquid restrictions on flights and you’re less likely to have spillages in your bag!
4. NO HOUSEKEEPING PLEASE!
If you’re staying in a hotel for more than a night remember to hang your towels after use to avoid them being replaced and laundered. Same goes for your bedding. You wouldn’t change your bed sheets every night at home! By popping the no housekeeping sign up you’ll also avoid the free mini plastic toiletries.
5. TAKE YOUR OWN ENTERTAINMENT
Consider your holiday entertainment before you go away (especially if you have little ones!). Check out your local library for holiday reads and save yourself some cash at the same time or if you struggle with motion sickness, download an audio book. You can also take playing cards or travel games to keep you entertained. If you’re flying remember to take your own headphones for inflight entertainment. The complimentary ones always come plastic wrapped and for hygiene purposes are not reused. If you do end up with complimentary headphones save them for next time or give them a clean and offer them to family and friends who are travelling.
6. IF TRAVELLING ABROAD DOWNLOAD YOUR TRAVEL TICKET AND BOARDING PASS
7. REFUSE THE INFLIGHT SNACKS AND MEALS
Ever noticed the sheer volume of plastic used for inflight meals and snacks? Want to minimise waste? By bringing your own snacks and meals you’ll not only avoid the plastic waste but it will also be far tastier and more nutritious. If you do choose the meal you can reduce your impact by refusing the plastic cup of water, the cutlery and napkin by bringing your own, and any food that you know won’t be eaten. Ensure you refuse it before it’s given to you as it will be binned if accepted, even if it’s not opened! If you are taking a water bottle through airport security, make sure you empty it beforehand as it may be taken off you if it's over the liquid limit. When through security you should be able to refill your water with one of the cafes/bars at the departure gates.
8. OFFSET YOUR FLIGHT
Flying isn’t always avoidable so consider offsetting your carbon footprint. A Carbon offset is a way to compensate for your emissions by funding an equivalent carbon dioxide saving elsewhere. Take a look at https://www.carbonfootprint.com where you can calculate / measure your carbon footprint, start reducing your carbon emissions and offset any remaining or unavoidable carbon emissions via their high quality carbon offset projects.
Consider who you fly with… Did you know that budget airlines are more carbon efficient per person because their flights tend to be fully booked?
9. REMEMBER TRAVELLING IS ABOUT EXPERIENCES NOT SOUVENIRS
Take a moment to reflect on your favourite holiday…
What was your favourite memory of that holiday? Was it the what you experienced there or a souvenir that’s gathering dust in the attic? Avoid the tacky souvenirs and spend your money on experiences instead. Ironically many souvenirs are actually made in another country! If you do want to buy souvenirs or gifts, buy from local handicraft shops, this way you give back to the local economy. Remember, memories themselves are the prefect souvenir.
10. DON'T FORGET TO PUT YOUR HOME 'TO SLEEP' BEFORE LEAVING
Did you know that up to £80 a year is wasted in the average home due to appliances left on standby? Before your set off on holiday take a walk through your home and unplug your electrics. Even if it’s plugged in and not on it will draw energy so by taking the plug out of the socket energy will be saved!
Here’s some fantastic suggestions by the wonderful @plantedinthewoods
Eco Beau x .