How to travel with less plastic
Look around you. How much plastic do you see? It's nearly impossible to avoid it. So, what can we do to protect the planet we love? Here are some of our top tips on how to travel without single use plastic.
1. Invest in a reusable water bottle
It's no secret - plastic water bottles are downright awful for the environment. They aren't biodegradable, and although many of them claim to be recyclable, most plastic bottles end up in landfill which is where they stay for hundreds, if not thousands of years. We suggest investing in a reusable water bottle that comes with a filter. They can eliminate over 99.9% of harmful contaminants in water, and the filters last for up to two months, making them perfect for a backpacking trip.
2. Ditch soap bottles for bars
Those travel-sized toiletries are handy, we know. But they aren't easily recycled, particularly while travelling. We suggest using soap, shampoo and conditioner in bar form. Our favourites are from Lush cosmetics as they are vegan, last forever and smell amazing too. We know what you're thinking, how on earth are you able to transport these things without getting soap everywhere? This leads us on to our next point...
3. Upcycle old containers
How many times have you got a takeaway, or used up a pot of cosmetics and thought "these containers could come in handy one day"?
Well we have good news... hanging onto containers like these can help in your quest to be more eco-friendly on holiday! That old hair mask pot is perfect for your new shampoo bar. That old foundation bottle could be used to decant moisturiser into. You could use an old Tic Tac box to transport your hair slides. You could even use old jars for breakfast on-the-go. Get creative - the possibilities are endless.
4. Carry a reusable shopping bag with you
According to the Earth Policy Institute, humans use over 2 million plastic bags every minute, every day. Avoid adding more to your collection by taking a reusable shopping bag with you wherever you go. We like Bidbi's as they're fairtrade, sturdy, 100% cotton and can be personalised.
5. Carry reusable cutlery and straws
It's good to avoid disposable cutlery wherever possible, but no one wants to eat street food noodles with their hands. If you're keen to be more sustainable on holiday, invest in a reusable set of cutlery. You can find options made from bamboo, metal or other materials depending on your preference. Fancy trying reusable straws? We suggest checking out Ecostrawz for their selection made from stainless steel, bamboo or glass.
6. Use an Ecoegg
If you're going on a long trip, you're inevitably going to want to wash your clothes at some point. Washing detergent bottles often end up in landfill, and due to their size and bulkiness, they aren't the easiest things to upcycle. You could try taking an Ecoegg with you. Inside the "egg" are mineral pellets that produce a natural cleaning foam, cleaning your clothes of dirt and grime just as well as normal detergent. You don't even need any fabric softener and the egg will last you up to 720 washes - that's three years worth of washing for the average family.
7. Make your own products
It's not easy for us to ditch plastic. Nearly every product we buy comes packaged in it somehow, which can feel pretty disheartening if you're trying to avoid it. If you're feeling creative, try taking matters into your own hands by making your own products. You can make your own make your own deodorant by mixing coconut oil, baking soda and cornstarch. Not only will you be avoiding plastic, you'll also be saving money.
8. Wear clothing made out of natural materials
Polyester = plastic. When we wash our clothes, tiny microplastics end up going into the water, which can get digested by fish, turtles and other ocean creatures. So next time you're tempted to buy a piece of synthetic clothing, think of the turtles and opt for 100% cotton instead. We know that polyester tends to be cheaper than cotton, so you could try heading to a charity shop or visit websites like Depop to get good quality clothes at a bargain price.
9. Ask for fresh food and drink
A lot of beverages come in plastic bottles. Avoid these by asking the waiter or waitress if they have any freshly squeezed juice or tap water that's safe for drinking. Fancy an ice cream? Opt for a cone instead of a pre-packaged option. Visiting a farmer's market? Ask for paper bags instead of plastic, or bring your reusable fabric tote bag. You'll be avoiding plastic and the fresh fruit and veg will keep for longer too.
10. Invest in some eco-friendly versions of necessary products
If you're interested in trying out some eco-friendly products, a bamboo toothbrush is a great place to start. Biodegradable Beeswax food wraps are a fantastic alternative to cling film and foil and can be reused for picnics, shopping trips and packed lunches. We think they look a lot more stylish too.
As for deodorant, Wild offer refillable roll-ons in a variety of unisex fragrances. They're all aluminium free with compostable, plastic-free refills.
Unfortunately, female health products come packaged in a lot of plastic. The average woman uses more than 11,000 tampons and sanitary pads in her lifetime, so switching to a menstrual cup could save a lot of plastic waste.
11. Think twice about airline food
The food you get on the plane is often wrapped in plastic to help with transportation. If your flight is a short one, try filling up on food and drink in an airport lounge before you fly to avoid all of those pesky wrappers. Read our guide to airline food to find out more.
12. Raise Awareness
Remember the five Rs: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, raise awareness. Speaking to your friends and colleagues about avoiding single use plastic is one of the best and easiest things you can do for the planet.
A lot of the time, people aren't aware of what changes they can make to live more sustainably, or how difficult it is to avoid single use plastic. Why not challenge your friend to see if they can go without single use plastic for just one week? How about speaking to your manager about making the office more environmentally friendly? Even using social media to highlight important causes can go a long way. Doing this will not only encourage people to be more conscious about what they're purchasing, it may help big corporations to make changes too.