Going plastic-free is a conversation a lot of people are talking about. I’m seeing less plastic bags and more reusable coffee cups in coffee shops, school children are taking a stand, and communities are fighting to go plastic-free. We’re finally taking notice, so what’s next? The fight to reduce plastic in our lives is, unfortunately, a long road ahead, but the main thing is it’s started, and now we need to push on to being plastic-free for good. But what else can we do? Today we’re looking at 5 plastic-free travel tips.
Why is plastic-free travel so important?
We are in a crisis and something needs to be done. According to Surfers Against Sewage, every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans. 8 million!!! Because of this ridiculous amount of waste ending up in oceans worldwide, 100,000 marine mammals and turtles die from marine plastic pollution annually. So we need to really start thinking about how we can stop impacting our waters, and that includes when we travel. When we are on the go, we often opt for convenience, and convenience can mean lots of plastic single-use products.
My plastic-free travel
I travel quite a bit, which I know some people might frown upon as I make a carbon footprint, but I cycle or walk, and if I can’t reach somewhere on foot I get the bus, train or I share a car journey with someone. The takeaway message is to do what you can control, so leave the private jet and get a charter flight, or take the bus instead of the car. Carbon footprints aside, that’s for another post, but what are my big plastic-free travel tips?
Pack a water bottle
Seems quite obvious but you’d be surprised how many people I’ve seen at airports still buying plastic bottles from the airport shops. As you know you can’t take any liquids unless 100ml or less in a printed bottle with the measurements on, so what do you do? I take my steel bottle with me empty, leave it in my hand luggage, go through then either find an airport water fountain or ask a coffee shop for tap water. I’d also suggest if you’re a big coffee drinker like me, the Stojo collapsible coffee cups are the best by far for those who travel – I swear by mine!
Toothbrush to go
I use an electric toothbrush at home but when I travel I use a standard toothbrush, but they’re all plastic? So I’ve got a handy TePe biodegradable brush after falling in love with this brand. It’s actually a good toothbrush, as it says in its name, the TePe Good toothbrush is ideal for your plastic-free travel switch. Make sure you read my review it on the link above.
Did you know 1 single plastic bag can take anywhere between 100- and 300 years to break down! Bet you’re regretting those plastic bags! We have our bags for life when we shop at home, but what about abroad? I know a bag for life you can get from your local supermarket is not the easiest to cart with you, so find a bag that neatly zips away. These ones pack down easily meaning you don’t lose space. I’d strongly suggest, using a backpack for travelling. I love a handbag don’t get me wrong, but in general, for travel, a backpack is far better on space and you can fit any shopping it much better – avoiding plastic bags.
Take your own toiletries
I must admit- I’ve been a bit of a sucker for hotel toiletries, but often they will come in those tiny plastic bottles. Imagine if you can 1 person staying in a room per night, that’s 7 people per week. Thing is once the bottle has been opened they get replaced, can imagine the amount of tiny plastic bottles hotel go through? Get some reusable bottles and fill them up with your fave shampoo, body lotion and shower gel. Whilst you can’t put these bottles in hand luggage (airport security require liquids to have the amount printed on the bottle), they can go in your main luggage. It might be worth checking ahead with your accommodation, as some hotels have refillable bottles for your necessities. Whilst on the topic – what about your sunscreen? Surfers Against Sewage have some options so you can not only go plastic-free you can go cruelty-free too, click here.
Pack your lunch!
If you’re travelling and know you’re going to need some food, pack up a lunch in a reusable tub. This helps avoid the ridiculous amount of plastic rubbish we make from airport food, also if you haven’t paid for food on your flight, skip the temptation of buying on flight (which are notoriously sealed with heaps of plastic waste), and saving some pennies by packing your food up before. Please note that often you won’t be able to leave the plane with your food when you arrive in your destinations… for example, you can’t take fruit sometimes into other countries. So pack your food to eat! Having the container free to use afterwards often comes in handy to pack small gifts, in our case that is usually a fridge magnet, so you’ll often find it can be useful!
Reusable coffee cup
If like me you love your coffee, then you have to get a Stojo coffee cup. These aren’t your standard reusable coffee cups, they collapse down making them super easy to travel with. I got my ages ago and I get so many compliments about it – it’s just genius! You’re avoiding single-use coffee cups and travelling efficiently!
Like the majority of things, planning ahead is the best way to go. We need to plan with travel anyway, so why not map out your plastic-free options at the same time? Trust me, it’s quite easy once you get started!