Travelling is one of the great passions of life – taking you to new places, allowing you to meet new people, and creating unforgettable memories. But with all the fun, it’s easy to forget the environmental impact of having such an adventurous time. So, why not join the eco-friendly travellers and learn to travel leaving zero waste behind? With this handy guide to zero waste travel, you’ll be able to explore without worry and reduce your environmental footprint!
1. The Benefits of Zero Waste Travel
Zero waste travel is an excellent way to reduce the amount of waste you generate while exploring the world. The benefits of this type of eco-friendly vacation go beyond reducing plastic waste and hitting the refresh button on sustainable tourism. Here are a few of the top reasons why you should consider Zero Waste travel for your next getaway.
1. A Healthier Earth. Zero waste travel helps to reduce the amount of trash and single-use items like plastic bottles that end up clogging up landfills and our oceans. A single-use plastic bottle can often take up to 450 years to decompose. With more and more travelers becoming aware of the negative environmental impact of single-use plastics, choosing Zero Waste travel is the obvious choice.
2. Money Savings. It might surprise you to learn that cutting down on waste can actually save you plenty of money. Taking a reusable drinking bottle or water filter instead of buying multiple plastic bottles will save you from buying multiple ones. Essentially you are eliminating the cost of each of the disposable items and you are also doing your bit for the environment.
3. Feel Good Factor. Carrying your own shopping bags, water bottles and straws on the go results in fewer plastic items in the environment. Since you haven’t created plastic waste, you can come back feeling like you did your part to help towards environmental protection. It’s a great feeling to come back from your vacation knowing that you did your bit towards making the world a cleaner, healthier place.
4. Get Inspired. Making conscious decisions to reduce waste while on the go allows you to travel more mindfully. This can help give you a renewed outlook on the world. When one begins to be more conscious about the environment, they can become more mindful about the way in which they consume and ultimately shape a better future for the planet.
2. Practical Tips for a Waste-Free Journey
Traveling with one bag, or no bags at all is the best way to minimize your waste. Plan your packing list in advance, and aim for versatile pieces that can be used in various outfits. This will also help you avoid making unnecessary purchases while on vacation. Additionally, think twice before buying souvenirs for friends and family. Support local businesses by buying quality souvenirs that will last, or choose digital memories like photos and videos instead.
Avoid Sachet Trash
Many countries are waging a war against sachets because of their overwhelming environmental impact. From shampoo to condiment packs, these single-use items tend to contain toxic materials and end up in landfills, rivers, and oceans. Bring reusable containers, or stay in a hotel or hostel that offers refillable amenities.
Say No to Plastics
Whenever feasible, opt for foods that are packaged responsibly. Bring a reusable container, or find stores that use paper or cloth bags. Examine your eating habits: for instance, eliminate the use of straws, drink tap water with a refillable water bottle, and opt for more plant-based meals.
Buy Used or Rent Items
Substitute shopping with renting or buying second-hand items. Look for online or local stores that offer items on rent or used products. Buying items that are consciously made of sustainable materials can also help reduce landfill waste.
Small changes can add up to a big difference. There are plenty of ways to reduce waste while travelling. Be conscious of what you produce, reuse packaging wherever you can, and get a little creative with how you can reuse single-use items. After all, the most sustainable journey is the one that doesn’t require any waste!
3. Embrace the “Pack Light” Mentality
It’s usually tempting to go for broke and pack everything in a hurry, squeezing in as many items as can fit in the suitcase. But more often than not, that leads to overpacking. Trying to make the contents of your bag fit in can quickly evolve into a lost cause if you’re trying to fit too much. And when that happens, travelling can easily become a stressful experience.
That’s why it’s important to embrace the “pack light” mentality for your travels. Know what is necessary to bring and leave all anything else that is not essential for your journey behind. The fewer items that you bring, the more enjoyable your experience as a traveller.
Start with the basics: always research the weather and climate of your destination before you decide to start packing. Write a list of essential items you need before you begin packing to help you stay focused. Make sure you bring items that you can quickly mix and match to create multiple outfits. A traveller-approved tip to keep things light is to fold and roll your clothes to make the most of the space.
It’s more comfortable to travel with less, and not just for physical reasons. The time and energy you would have spent rummaging for items in an overloaded bag can be better spent enjoying the view and culture of the place. Choose a heavy-duty, lightweight suitcase that won’t tire you out while walking with it.
- Plan for your packing list before you go (toiletries, clothes, documents etc.)
- Prioritize lightweight items over heavier items
- Pack mix-and-matchable items
- Fold and roll clothes for maximum space use
- Choose lightweight luggage
Follow the “pack light” mentality and see the weights lifted off your back during your next trip. You’ll appreciate the difference and can move around with ease. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the beauty of exploring a new destination without feeling weighed down.
4. Discovering Eco-Friendly Solutions
Making the switch to eco-friendly practices isn’t just about replacing lightbulbs, carrying reusable shopping bags, and participating in recycling programs. It’s about changing the way we think and how we interact with the environment. Here are some easily-implemented ways to step up your sustainable game:
- Eat Consciously. Spend a bit of time researching and planning shopping trips and meals. Plant-based diets are often the most environmentally friendly type of eating. Also, be aware of the type of packaging used and avoid those produced with excessive plastic, chemicals, and other unsustainable materials.
- Improve Your Home’s Efficiency. In today’s digital world, there are many options when it comes to energy-efficient technology. LEDs, timers, solar panels, and motion-sensing lighting are all great ways to bring your living space up to a more sustainable standard.
- Sign Up for Local Programs. Check your local city government website for programs on sustainable living in your community. You may be able to join or start a community garden, swap reusable items, or take part in a bulk purchasing program. There are usually many initiatives that don’t require money or special skills to get involved in.
- Support Local Green Businesses. Seek out businesses in your area that are certified or running programs that prioritize sustainability. You’ll be helping to create a greener future for your community.
Moving to a more responsible way of living can at first seem daunting, but in reality it’s easy to make some simple changes in your daily routines that will have a real impact. Going green isn’t something that requires a big change in lifestyle – even small, everyday efforts can help to make a difference. From installing efficient appliances to swapping single-use products for more sustainable options, eco-friendly solutions are within everyone’s reach.
What’s the best way to explore the world? Zero Waste Travel: a way to explore and discover while leaving a minimal environmental impact. Start small—implementing zero waste travel in your next vacation can be as easy as taking a few simple steps. Together, we can reduce our environmental footprint and make our planet a better place—one trip at a time.