We all know by now that single-use plastic is bad for the environment, for wildlife and even for us.
Plastic is a material that by definition was made to last forever – which means that it can take between 450 and 1000 years to decompose – yet we got used to using plastic once and throwing it away. This is a very unsustainable way of consuming these products and can lead to a lot of harm.
According to several studies, plastic is toxic to humans and traces of it can be found in all of us. It threatens wildlife as animals have to live among it and often mistake it for food and it poisons our food chain. Apart from these environmental and health risks, it is also ruining the beauty of many popular tourist locations such as Bali.
Travelling plastic-free is not as hard as it sounds. We have compiled a list of tips that will help you reduce your environmental impact while travelling, and they may even make your trip more fun!
Pack your own flight food
Plane food is never good, especially if you have dietary restrictions. To avoid eating food you don’t like and creating more waste in the process, pack your own zero-waste lunch in reusable tins, mason jars or beeswax wrap. These can be even used throughout your trip as you order street food or pack a picnic. Simply ask the restaurant or street food vendor to put the food in the tin instead of a single-use container.
BYORB (bring your own reusable bottle)
We totally did not just make that acronym up. By bringing your own glass or metal reusable bottle, you can cut down on so much plastic waste. Simply refill it throughout your trip. As a bonus, you can avoid expensive airport water bottles by simply asking the flight attendant to refill your bottle for you. Win-win!
Choose local foods
As we’ve previously discussed, eating local foods is one of the best ways of getting to know a country’s culture. As a bonus, by choosing locally-grown foods, you cut down on a lot of pollution and plastic packaging in transport.
When going zero waste or plastic-free, bulk snacks will be your best friend. Bring along nuts and seeds or even dried fruit instead of a pre-packaged granola bar. You can even make snacks such as granola in advance and carry them with you abroad. As a bonus, these snacks will keep you fuller longer and they will give you a nice micronutrient boost.
Bring your own toiletries
While it may be convenient to use hotel toiletries, they are usually low quality, the quantity is too small and they produce a lot of plastic waste. Bring your own soap bars or refillable soaps in glass jars as well as deodorant and toothpaste. Pack it all in a waterproof bag to avoid leaks just in case. Why not use this opportunity to try out a solid shampoo bar or a natural deodorant?
Learn key sentences in the local language
Learn to say things like “no plastic bag please” and “no straw please” in the local language. This way you can avoid unintentional plastic waste and you’ll get to interact with the locals.
Bring reusable bags
Always carry around a reusable bag when travelling. You will definitely need it at some point as you buy souvenirs from local markets and shops. Make sure to get one that you can easily pack into your handbag or backpack without occupying too much space.
Be a mindful buyer
It can be tempting to purchase a lot of things when on holiday, since it might feel like a unique opportunity. Be sure to ask yourself whether you really need the item or if it will just end up in a landfill later on. If you really want it, then get it!
Lastly, make sure to enjoy your holiday with friends and remember to have fun with all the positive changes you are making to your lifestyle.