It’s something we have repeatedly heard on the news: using plastic is damaging our planet, and it needs to be curbed.
Unfortunately, this material has found its way into our everyday lives, and even more so when we take to the open road.
It appears in everything from our personal care routine to meals out and even how we plan to travel.
The good news is that companies worldwide are starting to pay attention and beginning to assess how they can deliver their product with far less plastic packaging or what they use in its development, although it may be some time yet before these changes can come into place.
In the meantime, there are many things you can be doing yourself to reduce how much plastic you are using while you’re traveling, contributing to a cleaner, healthier planet.
Say ‘No’ To Straws
Straws are perhaps the most unnecessary application of single-use plastic in our lives.
While in most cases plastic performs a certain role, the need for straws is truly limited to a few, very specific situations. For the most part, you can enjoy your drink the same without needing to use a straw.
The plastic used to manufacture a straw will never truly biodegrade. Instead, it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, becoming microscopic and continuing to live on in water systems, damaging marine life and potentially posing a health risk to humans too.
Next time you’re at a bar or restaurant, ask your server to skip the straw in your drink.
Be Smart At Airport Security
Occasionally, you’ll undeniably require the use of a plastic bag. As a traveler, this may be every time you want to carry small liquids through security in the airport.
Instead of accepting a new plastic bag every time, why not keep hold of the one you have now and maintain its quality to allow you to use it again?
Most airlines are accepting of flyers providing their own plastic bags at security, as long as you can close the bag by the zip or seal.
Carry A Tote Bag Every Day
Single-use shopping bags are undoubtedly contributing towards overwhelming plastic in the environment. There are many alternatives to these bags, however, including reusable and foldable tote bags.
Purchase a canvas tote bag from one of your favorite stores, and you’ll find these environmentally friendly bags stand longer use than plastic ones, while also being a perfect travel souvenir of whichever country you’ve seen!
Purchase A Long-Lasting Flask Or Drinks Cooler
Another widespread plastic issue is the consumption of on-the-go bottled water. It’s important to keep hydrated while you travel, but it’s also key to consider alternative ways of getting your H20.
Try to get into the habit of having a drinks container in your bag or in your car, which you fill up with water before you leave your accommodation for the day, especially if you are traveling long distances.
There are a whole host of different styles and sizes available from many brands, including Norchill, so you’ll easily find one that suits your taste and needs. If you feel uncomfortable drinking water from the faucet, you can also get water bottles with built-in filters.
Switch To Bamboo
You may not think about it, but take a second look at how many of your travel-friendly personal care products are either stored in plastic packaging or made from plastic. If you use disposable toothbrushes, shaving razors, and cotton buds, it’s highly likely these will all be manufactured in the form of plastic.
Give your personal care selection a makeover, and ditch the plastic for bamboo wood. Several brands are innovating with bamboo products, and their ranges are extending all the time, so make sure you check them out.
Ditch Plastic Utensils
On a sunny day, there are few things more enjoyable than eating alfresco. However, it’s estimated that 40 billion plastic utensils are used in the United States every year. That’s a lot of plastic to end up in a landfill or our oceans!
Next time you want to go outside to enjoy your food, either opt for a meal that doesn’t require a knife or fork (such as a sandwich or burger) or consider taking your own set.
You can also petition for your favorite lunch spots to switch to wooden utensils, as this will alleviate the plastic issue somewhat.
Refill Where You Can
While they are currently uncommon in some cities, there are a number of retail outlets now offering refill stations for shoppers to purchase food, and non-food household items, in weight rather than per packet.
Did you know that a proportion of a branded item’s price is in place to cover the cost of its packaging production?
Therefore, buying by weight can save you money as well as helping you cut back on plastic.
Search online to see if any plastic-free stores in existence when you travel through cities or built-up areas.
Watch Out For Plastic In Unexpected Places
For most people, the plastic crisis is solely linked to the food and drink industry, with straws, bottles, and food packaging having been identified as the biggest offenders.
However, did you know that there’s also plastic in clothing fabrics and items such as jewelry and travel souvenirs?
You can dramatically reduce your plastic consumption by shopping at secondhand and thrift stores.
As with the plastic-free shopping, you may find this also saves you money in the long run.
When buying new clothes and accessories wherever you are, keep an eye out for options made from natural, handmade fibers such as organic cotton, hemp, and ethically raised wool.
Reduce Your Plastic Use Day-by-Day
It may seem overwhelming to make these changes, but you can certainly shift your purchasing behavior little by little to achieve a life with less plastic.
If you ever need any advice or support, you will find plenty of bloggers dedicated to a plastic-free way of living, who offer no end of alternatives, tips, and tricks for others looking to be more environmentally aware.
Whichever country you find yourself in, there will always be a way to change your habits.
It’s easy to agree that plastics in nature are unsightly and damaging, and as you travel across the globe, there’s no better way to see the changing attitudes of those environmentally-conscious, who are making our planet more sustainable.
It can also be easy to start contributing to a healthier ecosystem for everyone to enjoy for generations to come.
For more great tips on living a “Zero waste lifestyle” check out this awesome video