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Reducing waste when travelling
Zero waste travel is a huge buzz topic right now, and with the focus being on how to reduce the waste we produce, in particular plastic. I wanted to share some simple first steps I have taken to reducing waste when travelling. Although, a lot of these I do use in my day to day life as well. I know there are quite a few blog posts of a similar nature out there at the moment, but the more we share the more we will start making an impact.
How to start reducing waste when travelling
Shampoo and conditioner bars
Using shampoo and conditioner bars is really very simple and definitely not as much of a transition as you might thing.
Lush have some great options, and they will recommend bars to suit. Two recommended are the ‘Honey I washed my hair’ shampoo bar and ‘jungle’ conditioner bar. You can also buy two metal tins to keep them in. While it is an initial expense, they last much longer than traditional bottles, so will save you money over time. It might be slightly less convenient, and I do find the conditioner more of a challenge, it is not enough to go back to bottled hair care.
Plus, when you travel, they don’t take up as much space in a bag and if you are going hand luggage only they don’t count as a liquid!
I was actually way ahead of the trend here – check me out! For years I have been using a metal, re-useable bottle I was given one by our amazing accommodation in the Selous game reserve in Tanzania when I was on safari (you can read about this trip here). It is insulated so kept my water nice and cool when out on game drives.
Taking a re-usable water bottle with you when you travel is such a great way of reducing waste when travelling.
For insulated bottles I highly recommend S’well. My family all use them and swear by them. For various reasons, I would only buy these over competitors and urge you to the same. When flying with hand luggage only, they do a great smaller version. Take it through security and then fill up using the water fountains in airports. Sometimes the larger ones are tricky to fit under the taps!
However, for longer trips you might want to consider taking a larger one. They are useful to fill up in the morning and can last you the good part of the day. Again I would recommend S’well, their larger ones are the same size as I use. Have a look at my recommendation HERE.
The other bottle you might want to consider investing in, is a life straw bottle, have a look HERE.
This excellent bottle removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, and filters to 0.2 microns; surpasses EU and EPA filter standards. It removes E. Coli, Giardia and Cryptosporidium oocysts, and many other waterborne contaminants.
Perfect for when you want to stop using bottled water, but don’t quite trust the local water supply.
While some might simply say no to a straw, others do like the idea of sipping cocktails with a one. If is you, then a metal straw is definitely something to bring with you to help with reducing waste when you travel.
If straws are something you feel you can’t give up, invest in one of these and keep it in your bag!
The easiest one on the list! Make sure you have a few canvas bags in your house, your car, your office, wherever you might need one. But also always make sure you pack these when you travel. If you are staying in an airbnb or the like and are going to be doing your own food shopping, then definitely use one of these for groceries.
Some countries, including Kenya, have now banned bring in plastic bags to the country, so a canvas tote bag is an excellent solution to this.
Shopping for clothes
Always try and go into a shop to buy any clothes, shoes, bags, swimming wear etc you want to get before going on new trip. By going into the shops themselves, not only do you get to try the clothes on, but you reduce plastic waste. Think of how much packaging retailers send their clothes in – and often it is plastic. By going in to the shop, with your canvas shopping bag, you are eliminating this.
Even better is to buy your clothes second hand from charity shops etc. This way, less items are being produced.
Collapsable coffee cups
We are all guilty of getting a take away coffee in a disposable cup, and even more so when we travel at airports, train stations etc. Reusable coffee cups can take up a fair amount of space in a hand luggage bag. So this one below is a really great solution:
These cups fold down, into a much smaller size ready to pop in your hand luggage. Perfect! Plus some chains such as Starbucks and Pret have started charging 5p more if you use one of their cups, so a good way to start saving money.
There are some items that still aren’t easy to find a good way of reducing waste when travelling. In particular some liquids. But instead of always buying the small travel items, invest in some bottles to decant the liquids into.
This is for things like make up remover, suncream and moisturisers. The little bottles to decant into save on space, money and also help with reducing waste when travelling! These silicone bottles are really handy.
Another great tip is to always carry some of your own cutlery with you, such as a spork. This spoon / fork means when you are eating a salad or street food when travelling, you don’t need to use plastic disposal cutlery. Some even has a little knife edge, so you can cut things if needed. Find one HERE.
Alternatively, if you like to eat with actually cutlery consider investing in a wooden cutlery set:
Every single plastic toothbrush that has been manufactured on this planet, is still on this planet. By using a bamboo toothbrush when you travel, you will be cutting down on this.
My one advice – do your research! The first one I purchased arrived in two plastic seals and then fell apart in my mouth on the third use.
Reusable make up pads
Instead of using wipes or cotton pads to remove make up, invest in some reusable, washable make up pads which can be used to remove make up. They can be washed so can be used time and time again.
When staying in hotel rooms, put the do not disturb sign on the door. As much as hotels have the ‘hang up your towel if it doesn’t need changing’ policy, they often do still give a new towel. But not allowing the room to be cleaned, you am cutting down on the amount of washing needing to be done.
Reusing the plastic bags for liquids in airports. Again, by using an old one each time, it reduces the amount of plastic bags that are being wasted. Plus, it means you can do all the packing it all in advance, rather than trying to sort it out at the airport.
Next steps to further reducing waste while travelling
Even with these changes there are still further steps towards reducing waste when travelling.
Firstly, I am looking for a package free deodorant. I am still a little dubious about this, so if anyone has found a good one they can recommend – please let me know!
I also want to investigate a way of not using toothpaste tubes. If anyone has got any tips on this, let me know!
Have you got any tips for reducing waste when travelling? Or will you implanting any of the above? I’d love to hear from you!
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