Easy ways to travel plastic-free
August is the month for taking holidays. Whether you are lucky to be having a UK staycation, taking a flight to warmer climes despite the uncertainty on isolating or staying at home and enjoying days out, we should all aim to reduce our plastic waste every day, not just while we are travelling.
Many busy and popular holiday destinations struggle to manage waste effectively so plastic-free travel becomes even more important.
If we apply the same principles of reducing plastic pollution when we travel as we do in our everyday lives, we can help protect the planet and save money by choosing not to use plastic.
Here are some easy ways to reduce plastic waste while travelling on your holidays.
Choose a refillable, reusable water bottle
Since the security regulations banned liquids over 100ml, the sales of plastic water bottles in airports are a huge contributor to plastic waste.
Did you know that you can take an empty refillable water bottle through airport security to fill up air-side? While regulations restrict liquids over 100ml if you take an empty, refillable water bottle this would save millions of plastic bottles every year being purchased.
Some airports have a water fountain where you can fill up your bottle, or you can ask at any food outlet or restaurant to fill up your water bottle. Alternatively check @refill.org for thousands of refill points.
Use a cotton shopping bag
When you’re shopping at the food market or for souvenirs carry a reusable shopping bag for life with you.
Some countries, such as Thailand have now banned single-use plastic bags, so carrying your own is essential. Cotton bags are also handy for separating dirty laundry and for taking to the beach too.
Ditch plastic straws and stirrers
While some restaurants and bars are by not offering straws with their drinks, while others still add them automatically.
Make sure you order your drinks with paper straws. Many restaurants and bars are already reducing their plastic use but it’s worth checking and an easy swap to make.
Eat and shop local
One of the enjoyable things about travelling is eating the local cuisine and visiting the local food shops to enjoy the culture. Shop in local markets where the fruit and veg is loose and not pre-packed. Imported foods are often heavily packaged to survive travel so choosing local foodstuffs can be found without the extra wrappings.
Just pop your purchases into your own bags for life to carry back, so limiting your impact on the environment.
Choose a reusable cup
Coffee or tea lover? Takeaway coffee cups can’t usually be recycled, and even if coffee cups aren’t plastic then the lids are, so invest in a good quality, leak-proof reusable coffee cup and it is money well spent.
It will reduce your waste and save you money as a lot of coffee shops now offer discounts if you bring your own cup, so it is a win-win for everyone.
Picnic plastic free
Reusable food containers keep your picnic perfect and sand- bug-free and remove the toxic cling film. Invest in a travel set of bamboo cutlery to always carry with you when eating on the go and make an easy swap for single-use plastic knives and forks, especially at street food venues. You can even take your own containers in case the food stalls still serve in plastics.
Plastic free toiletries
The market for solid shampoos, conditioners, soaps and many other beauty products is vast and growing.
Ditch the single serving sachets or travel-sized bottles of toiletries as they are a major contributor to plastic waste. It’s better to take your own refillable beauty bottles with you, or better still use solid products, including deodorant sticks.
So many make up wipes contain non-biodegradable plastic fibres and cause blockages when they’re flushed down the toilet, especially overseas. So, pick plastic-free reusable makeup wipes. Many eco brands supply washable cotton pads that can be used again and again with a lotion that can be refilled.
Reuse and recycle
Of course, it’s impossible especially when travelling, to avoid plastic and find viable alternatives. Supporting the principles of reuse, repurpose, recycle, we can still reduce our waste and by refilling your hot drinks and sports bottles you can easily avoid single-use plastic waste. Choose to refill.