As travellers, holidaymakers, and adventure-seekers visiting and wandering foreign lands it is our responsibility is to leave a place the way we found it. Leaving footsteps and relationships built and not our trash.
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Together with travel expert Erin Green we explored ways of travelling responsibly covering aspects of culture, volunteering, selecting responsible guides, tipping basics and more. Here my aim is to look at it from an eco-point of view and the impact a tourist can have on foreign lands.
It is good news that many countries are adopting or planning to adopt a plastic ban. This means that it gets easier for us to avoid the situation altogether. However, this is easier said than done. When we are packing our bags, how conscious are we on the waste we can potentially produce and how can we reduce that?
Whilst travelling altogether increases our individual carbon footprint (You can calculate yours here and offset your carbon here), do you look into taking shorter flight routes? What actions can you take to reduce your waste production?
When planning your trip check out the eco-efforts of your hotels. If you’re not sure what kind of sustainability measures they are taking, this post will help you have a more sustainable hotel stay.
The transition to zero-waste living is not easy. And it wouldn’t happen overnight. It is a transition that can happen over time, to break old habits and introduce new ones. Consider the following mindset:
Anticipate / Plan. What items would you need to throw away, re-purchase, consume? What re-useable alternatives are available that you can use to avoid all of this?
Think twice. For example, when you’re buying a drink, ask if they have a re-useable straw or refuse it from the beginning (BEFORE they bring the drink!)
Review. Try to keep all the waste that you have consumed (throughout the day/week) and analyse it.
Find Solutions. What items could you have done without if you were better prepared? What if you had asked for an alternative?
To anticipate, start with: “What’s in my bag?”
Consider the following items that would drastically reduce your waste on your travel and ask yourself the questions each one poses.
- Re-useable water bottle & Travel Cup for those coffees on-the-go. How many plastic water bottles would this reduce? Find out if the hotel/s you are staying has/have a re-fill water station.
- Prepare your in-flight or en-route meal/snacks in a re-useable sealed container or snack bag. According to the International Air Transport Association, airlines produced 2 million tons of waste last year, and will produce over 10 million tons annually by 2030. Check out these tips for packing a zero waste lunch.
- Organic re-useable napkins and food wraps reduce the amount of paper napkin waste and disposable food packaging. Plastic litter from takeout orders, such as cups, plates, cutlery and straws, is a prime source of the estimated 269,000 tons of plastic pollution that gets washed into the waterways and oceans (we’ve all seen the horrendous images of this impact.)
- Beauty Bag: Swap disposables with bio-degradable ones or re-useables such as organic cotton pads, cleansers and lotions in travel size re-useable bottles, organic cotton buds …
- Use Organic Sunscreens and lotions. Is your sunscreen eco-friendly? Each year, about 14,000 tons of sunscreen end up in our oceans.
Think Twice. 3 Mindful Zero-Waste Tips
- Consciously dispose of trash. Seek recycling bins, composting opportunities, re-useable opportunities.
- Collect a few items of trash every day.
- Refuse disposable packaging and straws.
Naturally Hannah’s Top 10 Zero-Waste Travel Essentials
(Images courtesy of vendors)
- Water bottle
- Snack bag
- Re-useable Napkins
- Beeswax Food wraps
- Bamboo Cutlery set
- Bamboo toothbrush
- Natural Fibre body scrub
- Soap nuts or biodegradable soap paper
- Organic Re-useable Cotton pads
- Menstruation Cup (aka moon cup)
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