Plastic pollution has a significant impact on our planet, from a build up of chemical pollutants entering our environment, to physical impacts on wildlife such as choking and entanglement. There is no doubt that plastic is harming our planet. As a result, there is growing movement to reduce the amount of plastic we consume, and consider the life cycle of what we do use. However, plastic is a useful and durable material, and personally, I believe we need to focus on single-use plastics which cannot be recycled and end up in landfill or worse, into the environment.
Reducing our consumption of this material is difficult, especially when we are on the go and our purchase choices are limited. So, I’ve put together some useful tips to help you avoid plastic on your travels no matter which country you visit! Lets get to it!
Bring your own travel snacks
I remember getting so frustrated at an airport once because I was trying to find a snack for the plane that was both healthy and not packaged in single-use plastic. I didn’t have much luck and unfortunately, I hadn’t come prepared. Spending just a little bit of time putting together some snacks for your plane journey (and the rest of your journey) will help you avoid having to buy expensive food at the airport or on the plane.
Personally, I love to take some homemade granola bars and some fruit, and pop them into a container or cloth bag ready for my journey. This allows me to save money, eat healthier and avoid single-use plastic.
Take a reusable water bottle with you
In many countries you are advised to buy bottled water, as the tap water is considered unsafe to drink. Not only can this eat into your travelling budget, but it’s not exactly environmentally friendly, especially if you’re in a place where recycling bins are hard to come by! Instead, I recommend using two large thermal, stainless steel water bottles (to keep water cool), and filling them up whenever you can in cafes, shops, restaurants or hotels. You can then use sterilising tablets or a Steripen to kill any pathogens that may be in the water. When you do have access to safe drinking water, make sure to utilise it whenever you can! That way you can avoid plastic water bottles and also stay hydrated.
Pack your own toiletries
Many hotels provide each of their guests with tiny shampoo, conditioner and soap bottles which can add up to a lot of plastic and generate a great deal of waste. Instead, why not travel with solid shampoo and conditioner bars? Not only can you buy bars that are suited to your specific hair type, but they contain no plastic. You will also find that most natural bars are both palm oil free and cruelty free too. Then of course you have the added bonus of not having to worry about bottles leaking in your bag (yep, I’ve been there!). I like to travel with Beauty Kubes and the Funky Soap, which I pop inside some metal tins for easy transport.
Avoid take out food & drink
Eating street food or take-out can often be the cheapest option for eating when travelling, but chances are it will be served in some non-recyclable container or plastic bag. To avoid this, try to eat and drink in whenever possible and enjoy taking the time to sit and enjoy what’s in front of you. However, I know that sometimes it’s preferable to just grab some food from one of the street vendors. If you’d prefer to do this then try to look for vendors that serve their food on paper plates or in reusable containers. I remember grabbing some rice and beans from a street vendor in Costa Rica once, and it came served in a banana leaf! Win!
It’s also a good idea to take some key reusable products with you so that you know you have a sustainable option. I love to take a couple of metal straws, bamboo cutlery (that I can use on the plane), and a steel lunch box which also comes in handy when I make my own food at hostels and want to go out for the day.
Bring your own plastic-free sunscreen
Don’t wait until you’re abroad to buy sunscreen; chances are it will be expensive and come in a plastic bottle. Instead, I recommend taking a plastic-free sun lotion with you to avoid having to buy some abroad. Before you buy any, I always recommend checking the label to see if it is reef-friendly, as some sun lotions contain ingredients which can be harmful to marine life. I personally love to use the brand Shade, as it only contains natural ingredients and comes inside a handy tin too!
Avoiding single-use plastic when travelling can actually be pretty easy with a bit of forward thinking and preparation. It’s so important that we consider the environmental implications of every choice we make, and that we do everything we can to lessen our impact on our beautiful planet. I hope this article has been useful and helps you to travel plastic-free! Happy travels!
Find me on instagram: @_beckyprice_
Co-founder of: @doitfordavid_
Image credit: plasticfree-uk.com