How to travel plastic-free?
Traveling abroad this summer, taking a staycation in your home country or remote working at the beach? Here are a few tips to travel plastic-free!
Plastic consumption and waste are some of the largest concerns for our world right now. More than 8 million pieces of plastic find their way into the ocean each day around the globe which is around 15 truckloads, and it’s creating a massive negative impact on our ecosystems, not only endangering millions of animal species but also communities of people all over the world. Reducing plastic consumption is something that should be in everyone’s minds right now as it is a collective problem that everyone has to deal with, and that will only get drastically worse for our future generations. It is estimated that in the next thirty to forty years, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
Plastic takes hundreds if not thousands of years to completely decompose, and as most of the plastic in the world ends up in our oceans, our whole marine life finds itself in danger and will continue to find itself in danger if we don’t start taking a more drastic approach to our plastic product consumption and disposal.
Traveling for work or leisure tends to increase our plastic consumption by a large amount due to several factors. Food and drinks in airports, small single-use plastic bottles in hotels, or ordering delivery, all leads travelers to consume more plastic than they usually would in a normal day to day basis. Sometimes, it is difficult to find eco-friendly options while traveling as your options might be limited, but at least by being aware of the problem, it is easier to make the responsible decision once the options are available. When plastic is the only option, make sure to find the right spots to where recycle that plastic properly.
An article from VOX talks about how there are many places around the world that are facing a plastic pollution crisis and their situation is only getting worse as the number of travelers keeps increasing. This is not necessarily a problem of travelers; it is a problem with the number of plastic products being bought and how they are getting disposed of. The solution is not to reduce the number of people traveling globally, but rather to inform people on the plastic crisis the world is facing, propose solutions and be mindful of the things we buy when traveling abroad.
Western countries ship their plastic waste every year to poorer Asian countries for recycling. Most of these countries can’t handle their own plastic waste to begin with, which creates a very large problem for their local communities and wildlife. As travelers, we have a responsibility to do our part in helping decrease this rapidly increasing problem.
There are many ways in which travelers can take steps into a sustainable and environmentally friendly way of traveling. Starting off by simple tasks such as carrying a reusable water bottle, staying away from plastic straws and cutlery, and being mindful about buying products abroad that contain less or no plastic at all will create a very large positive effect on the world but specifically on the local communities and ecosystems we as travelers are visiting. Next time when packing before an important trip, make sure to have all the necessary products that will help you stay environmentally friendly. Some good examples of products that are helpful are the following:
- Bring a reusable water bottle. 500 billion plastic bottles are used around the world annually. Please. Don’t. Use. Them. If you already have a reusable water bottle at home, bring this one and don’t buy a new one. If you don’t, we highly recommend Lifestraw reusable water bottles: These water bottles are not only reusable, which means you will not be contributing to one of the largest sources of plastic pollution in the world, but they also use a BPA fiber membrane filter that removes all microplastic and bacteria from your water. You can put unfiltered water in the bottle, and the filter straw will purify it for you to enjoy.
- Bring your shampoo and soap to avoid using tiny hotel toiletry bottles. We highly recommend The yellow bird. They are a company that focuses on making products that are natural and have organic ingredients that are less likely to irritate skin or harm the environment. Their products also contain zero plastic and are perfectly sized to take on a trip. Products like these would highly help with the reduction of small-sized plastic toiletries found in hotels.
- Pack your own cutlery and reusable straw. Ecotribe is a company that focuses on making straws and cutlery out of bamboo with zero plastic and waste, perfect sized for traveling and carrying around. These are a must for any traveler that is looking for an easy and very affordable way to help the environment reduce the amount of plastic waste.
By being mindful of using reusable products when traveling abroad, you will be contributing to reducing a very large global problem. Even taking your own environmentally friendly soaps and creams will also help your personal reduction of plastic. All of these things help the environment by using fewer resources to get made, which in turn is a process that emits fewer harmful gases into the environment and is much less likely to end up in a landfill or in the oceans. As travelers, some of the greater joys in life are to be able to visit a new country, a new city, and enjoy all the beauty they have to offer.
The next step you can take if you want to know more about your personal plastic footprint and find some ways in which you could help greatly reduce your plastic consumption to help combat pollution, we suggest you visit RePurpose global and calculate your carbon footprint. Their calculator is free and takes 3 minutes. You'll be able to offset your plastic footprint. Repurpose works with vetted environmental organizations in India to ethically collect and recycle an amount of low-value plastic waste equivalent to your plastic footprint. They also give valuable advice and tips on how to reduce your personal plastic footprint, how to properly recycle, as well as helping you learn more about the subject and get familiarized with some of the important charities and institutions around the world which are making the fight against pollution their number one priority.