When we’re off having travel adventures it can be easy to slip into bad habits and find ourselves creating all kinds of excess waste, which means we’re leaving the places we visit a little worse off than when we arrived. With these simple tips for reducing waste while travelling you can still have amazing adventures, just without the detrimental impact on the environment when you leave.
1. Pack a Reusable Water Bottle
No matter what kind of holiday you’re going on you’re likely to need to carry water around most of the time, so taking a reusable water bottle is an excellent way to cut down on the waste you create. I take mine on the plane with me so I can stay nice and hydrated, and then fill it up constantly while I’m out and about. Not only does it reduce waste but it will save you money too!
2. Take Your Own Bags
Reusable bags are useful not only for shopping while at home, but while travelling too! Popping a bag or two in your day pack will mean that you’ll have one on hand no matter what you stumble upon to purchase. In some parts of the world you now have to pay for plastic bags (or they are completely unavailable) so having your own is extra useful in those circumstances.
I love to visit local food markets when in a new place as well, so I tend to pack my little produce bags too, they are light and don’t take up much space but they are most definitely useful to have on hand.
3. Bring Cutlery & A Container
After visiting the aforementioned local food markets I often love to make my own meals to take to a park to enjoy, so having a container for carrying homemade salads or a sandwich, as well as set of cutlery is a great way to cut down on waste. The cutlery is also useful for when you’re buying takeaway food as you can then leave their single-use cutlery behind. They’re only small changes but they really do add up, particularly in countries where they don’t have adequate systems in place for properly recycling the waste that is created. The set I carry is the one below, it includes a fork, knife and spoon as well as some chopsticks, all in a hardy case meaning I don’t have to worry about cleaning them straight away. Perfect!
4. Learn About Local Recycling
Here in Melbourne we pop all our recycling in one bin that is then sorted at the recycling centre, but that’s not the case in most parts of the world. You’ll usually find that you need to at the very least separate the paper from the glass and plastic, and in some countries you even need to divide the glass by colour. In many European cities the recycling needs to be taken to a communal spot on the street to be disposed of, so there are definitely lots of differences to be aware of! Learning about how the waste disposal system works in the city you are visiting is a great way to ensure any waste you do create is dealt with correctly, and therefore stops you from being the culprit behind the recycling being sent to landfill instead. It’s usually pretty easy to figure out, but it’s an important thing to do!
5. Choose Solid Options
Taking solid versions of your skincare and haircare – like a solid shampoo bar and solid soap – is an easy win for reducing waste while travelling as it doesn’t create any excess packaging at all. They are usually much lighter than the bottled option too and take up less space in your suitcase so there are all kinds of wins for making that choice! I love my Lush shampoo and conditioner bars and always use solid soap, so it’s just a matter of popping them in a reusable container and away you go!
6. Take Only What You Need
When out and about on travel adventures there are a million opportunities to pick up things like maps, brochures, menus and the like, so an excellent way to reduce your personal waste is to try to only take what you need along the way. Instead of picking up a paper map of a city, download the offline version of the map through google maps so you can access it even without internet access, and if you just need a small piece of information from a brochure, take a photo of that part instead. Each item like this that you can leave behind the better!