The zero-waste lifestyle is a rapidly growing trend, especially amongst environmentally conscious millennials who are trying to reduce the impact they have on the planet. There’s plenty of ways to do this, from cycling and using public transport to eating a plant-based diet, but one of the most interesting trends is the zero-waste movement, in which people try to keep the amount of waste that they create to a minimum.
This is difficult enough when you’re living at home, but it becomes even more difficult if you’re traveling and trying to maintain a zero-waste lifestyle while on the move. That’s why we’ve gone out of our way to gather some of the best eco travel tips there are to help you to keep waste to a minimum while you’re on the road.
1. Canvas Bags
The chances are that you’re already using canvas bags if you’re trying to reduce the amount of waste that you’re creating. Still, if you’re not using them already then there’s no time like the present, and they’re great for traveling because they can be packed down to save space. Carry at least one around with you at all times because you never know when you might need it.
2. Metal Straws and Utensils
Metal and rubber straws are a great alternative to single-use plastic straws, and it’s also a good idea to pick up a set of wooden knives and forks. You can carry these around with you so that even if you’re eating out at a fast food place, you don’t need to worry about creating waste.
3. Bottles and Coffee Cups
Reusable bottles and coffee cups can save you from creating waste at Starbucks. The majority of coffee companies are more than happy to allow people to bring their own cups into stores while carrying your own water bottle around can reduce plastic waste while simultaneously saving you money. You’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.
4. Go Lush
One way to overcome the problem of low liquid allowances for air travel is to use cosmetics from Lush. That’s because they sell solid shampoos and conditioners and you can pick up a reusable metal case to remove the need for packaging.
5. Use Diva Cups
Diva cups are medical grade menstrual cups that are designed to replace tampons, sanitary pads, and other feminine hygiene products. As with many of the other ideas on this list, it enables you to replace single-use, disposable items with a single, reusable item.
6. Use Bulk Bins
Using bulk bins at supermarkets allows you to purchase the same essentials but without the packaging. You can typically find everything from fruits and nuts to grains and legumes and you can bring your own bags along and reuse them.
7. Use a Handkerchief
Instead of using single-use wet wipes, tissues and napkins, carry a handkerchief around that you can use as and when you need it. Handkerchiefs are super versatile and remove the need to dispose of wet wipes or to worry about the plastic packaging that they typically come in.
8. Get a Mason Jar
Mason jars are a zero-waste must-have because you can use them to store almost anything imaginable. While traveling, you can save space by using them to store socks or other small items. And if you’re composting, it can be stored inside the jar until you find an appropriate place to dispose of it.
9. Book Direct Flights
This isn’t technically a zero-waste tip, but it will help you to reduce your emissions as much as possible. Direct flights are the best option because airplanes use most of their fuel during take-off and landing. While you’re at it, be sure to go paperless with your boarding pass and your itinerary, too.
10. Get Multipurpose Items
Space is usually at a premium when you’re traveling, which is why it’s a good idea to opt for items with multiple purposes. For example, you can get scarves that double up as blankets or pillows, portable phone chargers that also work as flashlights, and all sorts of other useful gizmos and gadgets. Why own two things when you can condense them into one?
11. Plan Meals
If you plan your meals ahead, you can write shopping lists to make sure that you only pick up the essentials. You can also factor in snacks and leftovers to make sure that you know exactly what you’re going to eat at all times. This stops your food from going off and also stops you from having an excuse to order a take out.
If you find yourself with so much stuff that you’re struggling to take it from one country to another, it’s a sign that you need to get rid of some. Don’t just throw it in the trash, though. Find a charity shop or a second-hand shop that you can donate it to so you can stop your unwanted items from going to waste.
None of these tips are obligatory, and ultimately only you can decide which steps you’re prepared to take to reduce your environmental impact and to cut down on waste while traveling. The zero-waste lifestyle is all about doing your best, and none of us is perfect. If you make a mistake, don’t worry about it – just try again and stick at it.
In the meantime, we hope that this simple guide to zero-waste travel has helped to spark a few ideas and that you’re alreadthinking about some of the different ways in which you can be a more environmentally conscious traveler. It’s all about finding the little things that you can do to reduce your impact on the planet.