Reducing plastic waste both at home and while traveling doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice convenience. In fact, reducing your plastic footprint can be achieved through adopting some very simple habits — the most all-encompassing of which is to be more aware of what goods you purchase and use.
World Turtle Day (May 23), and World Ocean Day (June 8) are excellent opportunities to spread awareness and talk about the small but mighty ways we can reduce or eliminate single-use plastic.
Christine is the marine biologist who became well known when she removed a straw from a turtle’s nose in a video that ultimately went viral. If you haven’t seen the video, it’s a heartbreaking expose on how our daily plastic consumption negatively affects marine life. Due to Christine’s sustainability efforts, Footprintus.com has presented her with a Footprint Hero Award.
Joining in on Footprintus.com and Christine’s efforts to help spread awareness of the negative effects of plastic consumption, here are some of our favorite actionable tips to reduce plastic waste while traveling!
Tips to Reduce Plastic Waste for Sustainable Travel
Stop Using Plastic Cutlery
Each year, billions of plastic straws, forks, spoons, and knives are used once and then thoughtlessly thrown away. Eventually, these plastic items end up in landfills and rivers, either polluting our air and soil or making their way to the world’s oceans.
One easy and obvious way to reduce our plastic cutlery use is to purchase reusable or biodegradable straws and cutlery. On June 8, Footprintus.com has launched an e-commerce site where people can go and purchase biodegradable straws.
Additionally, as part of the endeavor, Footprintus.com will be launching a microsite where anyone can send a free starter/ tester package of paper straws to any business or organization.
Carry a Reusable Tote
Just like plastic cutlery and straws, billions of single-use plastic bags are used and discarded every single year. A great way to combat plastic bag use both at home and while traveling is to carry a reusable tote. A simple tote bag will be flexible enough to fold and carry in your purse or backpack, is inexpensive, and will save you from using plastic bags. This one will easily fit in your pocket and is washable.
Remember, you never know when you’ll need a tote, so I recommend stashing one in your day bag at all times.
Ditch the Travel-Sized Bottles
Travel-size shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste tubes are a huge issue when it comes to eco-travel. These tiny plastic bottles are used once or twice and then thrown away, giving them a narrow window for usefulness while polluting our planet for years to come.
While it’s not usually practical to travel with the full-sized versions of your favorite toiletries, putting them into smaller, reusable bottles will save you from using a lot of plastic in the long run.
Further to that, instead of traveling with the liquid forms of your favorite toiletries, try purchasing them in solid form. Solid shampoo bars, conditioner bars, and toothpaste tabs generally use less plastic packaging, won’t spill in your luggage, and tend to last longer. Additionally, using Bee’s wrap to wrap these items is a great alternative to plastic ziplock bags.
Bring a Reusable Bottle
Instead of purchasing plastic water bottles and single-use coffee cups, consider purchasing one single reusable bottle that will keep your hot liquids hot and your cold liquids cold. A reusable bottle with high insulation is an awesome tool for refilling on the go and will act both as a water cooler and as a thermos, depending on what temperature liquid you pour into it.
At the same time, if you do end up purchasing a coffee on the go, try and support a company that values sustainability. Footprintus.com works closely with companies to provide them with biodegradable coffee cups and lids, helping you make a purchase you can feel good about.
Use Compostable Products
From toothbrushes to trash bags, so many of the day-to-day products we use both at home and while traveling are made of plastic, yet have sustainable alternatives. Before purchasing your next plastic every-day item, do a quick search to see if there is a compostable/biodegradable version of that item.
Read more: The Best Travel Backpacks For Every Budget
Re-think Your Snacks
This tip is two-fold, as not only will re-thinking which snacks you buy help you use less plastic, it has the ability to help you choose healthier snacks as well. Instead of choosing processed goods with plastic packaging, try packing fresh fruits and veggies with you on your travels, or pick them up at local farmers markets.
This is also a great way to try local produce. Just remember, depending on where you travel, eating a fruit or vegetable that has been washed in the local, untreated, water might not be the best idea. If you’re concerned about this in your destination, try and purchase goods that come with their own removable skins, such as oranges and bananas.
Carry a Container or Food Box
Further to the idea of bringing your own snacks, it’s highly useful to carry a container or food box with you on your travels. During the day, fill up the food box with snacks that will keep you on the go, and then if you purchase street food or need a to-go box, you’ll already have an eco-friendly one in your bag.