With disposables being readily available and easily accessible whenever we’re on a trip, we have become dependent on single-use items for our everyday needs. This includes bottled water, disposable cutlery, and the list goes on. According to Sustainable Travel International, tourists produce up to two times the amount of waste than the locals in some places.
But living sustainably as a conscious traveller doesn’t have to be difficult.
Swap your conventional disposable items for these reusable ones and reduce your waste as you embark on your travels!
Reusable water bottle
Imagine how much we spend on bottled water on the road and the amount of plastic waste we generate with each purchase. Reusable water bottles have become a travel essential staple for many tourists due to its convenience and waste-free factor!
From hostels, airports, and even restaurants, clean drinking water is accessible in most places for travellers and we no longer need to be reliant on bottled water all the time. Airports around the world have water coolers where you can refill your bottle and many hostels usually provide drinking water at the desk or reception that comes in barrels for their guests to drink.
Those who cannot start their day without a cup of coffee in hand will love this zero-waste swap. Investing in a reusable coffee cup is possibly one of the best sustainable purchases you could ever make. You essentially reduce your waste, it saves resources, and even saves you money. Some disposable cups can be recycled, but the entire sorting process is generally difficult and expensive at the same time.
In order to encourage people to reduce their waste, some cafes have even introduced a scheme where their guests can enjoy a small discount for each time they bring their own reusable cup. Today, the options for reusable coffee cups are endless — there are even collapsible ones now! Once you’re done with your beverage, it can easily be folded into a smaller size and make for the perfect companion for a hassle-free trip.
When travelling, it’s almost impossible to come across a store that does not use plastic bags. Reusable bags are inexpensive, lightweight, and can be washed and reused multiple times. Unlike reusable bags, plastic ones are not durable and are harmful to the environment. In fact, only one per cent of plastic bags are returned for recycling according to Waste Management.
The beauty of reusable bags is that you can use them for almost anything — for groceries, souvenirs, and so much more. Sometimes you don’t even need to buy a new one. Just look at what you already have and you are sure to find something you can use.
When you come across a street food stand at a local market, chances are it’ll be ‘disposables galore’. Majority of plastic cutlery is made from a type of plastic called polystyrene, which is incredibly difficult to recycle and would end up in a landfill more often than not.
Nowadays, you can easily find cutlery sets that include everything from a spoon, fork, knife, chopstick, and sometimes even a straw. Alternatively, you can just bring silverware from your home, put in a pouch, and bring wherever you go. Imagine all the plastic waste you can save just by simply bringing your own utensils!
Ever think about all your boarding passes, train tickets, and bus stamps which generate a significant amount of paper waste? While some may argue that these can be recycled, that actually isn’t advisable. Especially for flight boarding passes, it holds all of your personal data that people can use to access your information or even your identity. While the odds of this happening are relatively slim, it’s still best to be safe than sorry.
Opt for digital boarding passes if you can, to make your journey as seamless and uncomplicated as can be.
Living sustainably while travelling doesn’t have to be difficult. While there are plenty of zero-waste swaps we can make, the easiest way to ultimately reduce your waste is to refuse. Before making a purchase or bringing something along, ask yourself if there really is a need for it and if there is a more sustainable option as an alternative.