Travelling is one of the most rewarding experiences. To travel means to learn, explore, and expand your horizons. Whether you’re travelling to Asia, exploring Europe, or wandering around Africa’s plains, there’s one important thing you need to have in mind. You need to be environmentally friendly while you travel. Being a zero-waste traveller is possible and quite easy. All you have to do is prepare in advance and pack all the essentials.
Reusable bottle water
Whether you’re planning a trip to busy Hong Kong or a remote part of Bali, you’ll be drinking a lot of water while you travel. Instead of constantly buying water in plastic bottles, and then throwing them away once you’re done, pack a reusable bottle and refill it with water. Make sure it’s durable, easy to clean, and light.
Plastic bags are one of nature’s biggest enemies for the simple reason that they take centuries to biodegrade. Even in your day to day life, it’s something you ought to avoid completely. So, instead of using (well, in most cases, buying) plastic bags whenever you go shopping, carry a produce bag made of cotton or other natural materials. Many of them are foldable too and fit quite nicely in your purse.
Reusable food containers
Of course, you’ll always be on the hunt for the best food wherever you go. Unfortunately, when you travel, takeaway food can be a major source of waste. The plastic or Styrofoam containers you use for 15 minutes and then throw away are a serious issue. You can easily acquire a collapsible food container if you know you’re going to be taking away your meals or likely packing leftovers.
As with carrying your own food containers, if you’re planning on ordering a lot of takeout during your holiday or are staying in a dorm where certain amenities aren’t provided, pack your own set of utensils instead of using the disposable ones.
Whenever you order food, you’ll probably get a set of plastic utensils, but you can always say you don’t need it. These days you can get biodegradable disposable utensils like spoons, forks, and chopsticks too if you don’t want to bring a steel set. On that note, don’t forget to also pack reusable metal straws and refuse the plastic ones.
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As women, we need to consider how our menstrual cycles will affect our travel plans. If you’re travelling while on your period, one of the most revolutionary products to bring along is the menstrual cup. Not only will this nifty product save you a lot of luggage space, but you’ll also dramatically reduce wastage (plastic and paper of pads and tampons) and save money in the long-run when you use one.
Another way to say no to plastics is to start using a bamboo toothbrush. What’s great about it is that they last for two to three months and completely decompose when you throw them away. Don’t forget to pack your bamboo toothbrush, and whatever it is, don’t use the plastic ones you get at your hotel or the airport. In fact, they’re not particularly hard to find, so if you do forget to pack your toothbrush (it happens to the best of us) you can always pop into a pharmacy to procure one.
Bar soap is better than the liquid soap, and here’s why: It’s not packed in a plastic container and it can’t leak all over your luggage. “Instead of packing the liquid soap, go for the bar version. It’s much more environmentally friendly and easier to carry around,” says Kristin Savage, a travel blogger and a writer for Studicus.
If you want to pack your own toiletries, the best thing you can do is make your own travel-sized collection. Don’t buy travel-size shampoos, face creams, or body wash though (unless you plan on re-using the small bottles). They’re expensive and a waste of plastics. Instead, pour the products from big containers into smaller ones and carry the products that way.
When you reach your destination, try staying environmentally friendly during the whole stay. Transportation plays an important role so make sure that you:
· Don’t rent a car
· Ride a bicycle
· Use shared public transportation for longer destinations
This way, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and contribute less to air pollution.
Plastics aren’t the only thing you should be avoiding while you travel. Paper is another enemy of nature. The more paper you print, the more trees need to be cut down. So instead of printing your flight ticket and boarding pass, use e-tickets on your mobile phone. One or two sheets of paper may not seem like much, but when you consider that there are millions of people who travel daily, that becomes a lot of unnecessary paper waste.