Friday, 11 October 2019

How to reduce your use of plastic on a trip

Plastic’s devastating effect on the environment is making ever bigger headlines, yet our pledge of plastic free living is often forgotten on holiday when the convenience can be particularly tempting.

Packing a reusable water bottle and carry bag is a step in a more sustainable direction, but there are many more ways to reduce plastic pollution as a traveller. Here’s how.

Opt for sustainable hotels and eco-friendly accommodation

Hotels committed to sustainability make it easier for you to avoid plastic by providing filtered water for your own bottle (some also provide reusable bottles if you forget your own) and offering an alternative to plastic straws at the bar. To combat the waste created by single-use shampoo bottles, an increasing number of hotels are also providing products in reusable dispensers – many hotel brands, for example, have vowed to replace mini toiletries with wall-mounted dispensers.

Pack plastic-free travel kit

With an estimated one billion plastic toothbrushes ending up in landfill in the US alone every year, biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes are a brilliant alternative. Cotton buds with plastic stems are also extremely destructive, with billions ending up in landfill around the world every year, and millions more flushed down toilets, from where they travel to the ocean. If you’re in the habit of storing your hiking boots and dirty clothes in plastic bags when you travel, consider reusable packing cubes instead – many outdoor clothing brands sell them.

Fly smart

The environmental cost of flying is damaging enough, but many airlines also use unnecessary plastic during in-flight services. As well as asking the crew to refill your reusable bottle during the drinks service, refuse individually wrapped refresher towels, and request drinks sans plastic stirrers. Should you forget your own bottle, hang on to the same cup for the duration of your flight. You may also wish to support airlines working to limit their use of plastic, such as Qantas which has pledged to be plastic-free by 2020 while budget European carrier Ryanair has set a similar plastic-free goal with the deadline of 2023.

Choose responsible tour operators

With the right tour operator, you can feel confident your provider is committed to reducing any negative impact a trip might have on the destinations you visit. This includes helping to minimise your use of plastic, from supplying reusable bags and potable water to serving boxed lunches in reusable or compostable packaging.

Also Read: Solo travel: how to keep costs down

Also Read: Why travel could change you forever

Invest in a water purification device

A lack of clean drinking water in your destination is no longer an excuse to rely on plastic bottles. There are loads of water purification options on the market, from filtration bottles which can purify 150 litres of water with every cartridge, to the ones which use ultraviolet rays to zap the nasties in one litre of water in 90 seconds. The harsh taste of water purification tablets can be masked by vitamin C effervescent tablets.

Overhaul your menstrual products

With the average woman using around 10,000 individual menstrual products throughout her lifetime, the effect on the planet is huge. Organic cotton tampons are the most eco-friendly option, but if you prefer pads, try to avoid individually wrapped items. Reusable menstrual cups are even more sustainable, as they can be rinsed and reused for more than a year until they need to be replaced.

Wear good quality, low-impact travel gear

via Lonely Planet India

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