Lots of people live environmentally conscious lifestyles; but, going zero waste is a much bigger challenge, especially while travelling. So what does going zero waste travel involve? Much like being sustainable, it encourages you to reuse and recycle as much as possible, so that you can attain the goal of no trash being sent to landfills.
Travel often involves a lot of plastics and disposable items, making it a challenge for those looking to go green. But there are some simple zero waste travel tips you can follow to help you be mindful of your waste, even when on vacation.
1. Pack light, and pack smart
Travelling light is an essential way to simplify and ensure that you only carry what you need. You can also travel only with a carry-on bag, meaning you save both time (waiting for checked-in baggage) and paper (all the tags and stickers put on these bags).
2. Paperless transactions
Whether it’s your boarding pass, train tickets, or receipts for your sandwich, you can get them all on your phone. Also, avoid printing documents and maps. Instead, you can download them to your phone or tablet to save on paper. You can even do this for your books.
3. Do your research
Research the place you’re going to, so that you know about local recycling regulations, places to buy food, and any activities you might want to participate in. You can also explore local farmers’ markets, delis and other places to buy unprocessed food.
4. Take reusable items with you
Bring reusable items with you so that you can avoid using single-use plastics. Things like water bottles, utensils, shopping bags, straws, napkins, and even reusable containers are compact and easy to carry.
5. Avoid unnecessary plastics and disposable products
While travelling, we tend to use lots of disposable items, from razors to tampons and toothbrushes. You can find eco-friendly alternatives for all of these items, as well as additional eco-friendly alternatives, such as solid soap and shampoo bars so that you avoid using plastics wherever possible.
6. Consider carbon offsets
Consider paying an extra fee for a carbon offset. This cost is added to your airline tickets and is invested in renewable energy projects, planting trees, and other methods of offsetting the carbon emissions involved in flying. However, carbon offsets can be a controversial issue, so do your research.
7. Try to walk or take public transport whenever you can
Speaking of reducing your carbon footprint, walking is an excellent way to do so. It’s also a wonderful way to explore any destination. If you can’t walk, consider cycling or using public transportation as it reduces your carbon footprint.
8. Eat locally
By eating at local restaurants and street food places you can avoid the use of plastic takeaway containers and utensils. Also, look for businesses that use locally-sourced and/or seasonal produce.
9. Try to stay at Airbnbs or similar accommodation
Staying at an Airbnb instead of a hotel can make it easier for you to recycle and compost. You can even make your own meals and save tons of water on laundry and housekeeping.
10. Make snacks for yourself
Especially when travelling on a plane or train, pack your own snacks in reusable containers. This way you know both what’s really in the food you’re eating, and that you’re not creating any unnecessary trash.
11. So what should you pack?
Some things you can include are:
- Bamboo toothbrush
- Makeup removing cloth
- Menstrual cups
- Wooden hairbrush
- Metal safety razors
- Solid Shampoo Bars
- Solid Conditioner Bars
- Recycled or fully biodegradable toilet roll
- Read more here and here
- Reusable water bottle
- Metal or wooden reusable utensils
- Glass or metal reusable straws
- Laundry soap
- Reusable shopping bag