Amy from AConciousTraveller shares her Zero waste travel tips with us!
I admit, as soon as you read “Zero Waste Travel” anything I write will be filled with irony: ‘Oh, you fly? That’s not very zero waste’ and ‘there’s no way that’s possible’. Although travelling whilst maintaining a zero carbon footprint is incredibly difficult, if you regard zero waste travel as not sending anything to landfill, it suddenly becomes more feasible. Here are 5 ways you can start travelling whilst not creating any rubbish.
1. Take your own reusable thermos/water bottle.
This is a great way to reduce waste - you can fill up your water bottle from a restaurant, for example, or if the water is not drinkable, you can boil some water in a kettle and keep it hot in your thermos (this is at your own risk, I’d always check how advisable drinking the local water is).
2. Use your phone for etickets.
Downloading your plane, bus or general travel tickets onto your phone not only saves paper but it also means you’re less likely to lose your ticket, can have lots in one place and easily flick through your tickets. I’ve found the ‘Wallet’ app on Apple products to be particularly useful. Just remember to pack your charger!
3. Cloth bags.
Taking reusable cloth bags with you are a great way to reduce your waste when travelling. From using larger ones as organisers for clothes and laundry when travelling to smaller ones to buy food from bulk.
4. Refuse hotel ‘freebies’.
Let’s be honest, as great as that soap/shampoo/conditioner/toothbrush/shower-cap/sewing kit is (has anyone actually ever used a hotel sewing kit?!), you probably don’t need it. You hardly get any product in them and by using it, you are telling the companies that you like tiny products so they should drill more oil to make the containers and products, only for you to throw it away. Taking your own toiletries doesn’t really take up that much space in your bag (especially if you switch to solid shampoo and soap) and you know it works with your hair and skin. Also, the products come in so much plastic, it’s just unnecessary.
This is arguably difficult but I’ve found taking a few minutes to prep for my travels before leaving has really helped me assess what I need, as well as plan snacks and food for the trip. A quick trip to the bulk store or local supermarket to pick up plastic free snacks doesn’t take long but can stop a growling stomach making you buy a more unhealthy, packaged snack. I like taking a sandwich in a cloth bag and then snacks such as carrots and homemade hummus in a small container. Preparation can also mean you don’t forget to take something that you wanted to. For reference, here is a quick reference of what I took with me when I travelled to China:
- Reusable water bottle and thermos
- Lunchbox and snack box that came with it
- A bandanna that served as a napkin
- Bamboo cutlery
These tips are fairly easy and you don’t need to specifically buy anything to start transitioning into a lower waste lifestyle. I have found taking these things and being more mindful about what I buy has really helped me to significantly reduce my waste. In my mind, it’s not about being perfect but at least trying.
Amy - aconscioustraveller