Over the past few months, I had a realization that the amount of unnecessary waste produced on this earth is appalling. With so many environmentally friendly alternatives on the market these days, and the widespread knowledge that the planet is in trouble due to pollution, I’ve made the effort to try and produce less waste. This newfound interest led me to think about the environmental impact of travelling and how to reduce that impact. Which led me to Jenica from Zero Waste Wisdom’s Instagram page.
Instead of attempting to write a post myself on travel and zero waste, I thought it would be best to ask an expert, and Jenica was happy to write a few of her easiest most helpful tips. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did!
Traveling can be such a wonderful and therapeutic experience. It gives you freedom, helps you break cultural barriers, and lets you explore parts of the world distinctly unique from where you grew up. With all of these benefits, it can be hard to admit the negative environmental impact traveling has on the planet. Flying and driving are both huge carbon emission culprits and when tourists are on the go, they often resort to using disposable products. Not to mention that recycling and composting in a foreign country can be really tricky. To combat these impacts and keep your adventures beneficial for both you and the environment, there are a few things you can do!
Bring a “zero waste kit”:
Bringing a few items with you on your trip can drastically reduce the amount of trash you have to throw away. In the U.S.A. each person throws away an estimated 4.5 pounds of trash each day! In my experience, that number only goes up when you’re traveling. Your “zero waste” kit should include items to help you avoid disposable plastic while out and about. I usually recommend the following: reusable water bottle, reusable thermos, reusable utensils, and a reusable container. See a trend here?
Steel water bottles are the best for keeping your beverage cool and are less likely to break compared to glass ones. Stay away from plastic bottles that leach chemicals like BPA into your water.
An insulated thermos comes in handy for hot beverages like coffee and tea. You can also use it to keep smoothies and juices cold in high temperatures. Make sure you get one that has a tight seal to keep the liquids from spilling out!
Instead of carrying a knife, spoon, and fork in your purse switch them out for an all-in- one spork!
Keeping a container on hand helps minimize the need for Styrofoam take-out containers and gives you freedom to get street cart items on the go! Metal tiffins are great for their lightweight and hardy exterior or a pop-up silicon bowl can help save space in your purse.
Research recycling and composting:
Another important piece to reducing waste while traveling is understanding the recycling and composting resources available to you. Before you head out, do a quick internet search to find out whether the city you will be in has a recycling system and what they accept. By knowing this ahead of time, you can avoid purchasing certain materials given its recyclability.
In addition, find out if the city has a curb-side compost pick-up or a community compost pile nearby. You can see if your accommodation has composting by contacting them directly or looking them up on the Environmentally Friendly Hotels website.
Purchase carbon offsets:
The average round-trip flight from New York City to Europe produces two to three tons of carbon dioxide. According to MyClimate.org, that’s equal to the entirety of what a global citizen should produce in a year to keep global warming at bay. To help offset the damage done by flying, consider purchasing what are called Carbon Offsets. In essence, by purchasing these offsets your money is going to a program that works to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere through renewable energy production, forest conservation, or other alternative programs. Carbon offsets aren’t perfect. Reducing the amount you fly is still the best answer. But for those exploring the world, this definitely helps your impact on the planet!
By keeping these simple tips in mind, you’ll help reduce the impact of your next vacation and keep the planet healthier! Interested in hearing more about reducing your impact and a zero waste lifestyle? Head on over to Zero Waste Wisdom to learn more!
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