Plastic Free Travel and Zero Waste Vacation Tips

Green, plastic free traveling

Those who want to enjoy eco travel know that waste can be a massive problem. Reducing plastic use and aiming for a zero waste vacation is one, wonderful way to become part of the solution rather than part of the problem. In this article, you will find a range of tips for a zero waste vacation.

Choose Plastic Free Bathroom Products

Your journey to a zero waste vacation begins long before you leave home, when you are planning what you need to pack for your adventure. One great place to begin is with the bathroom products that you will require while you are away. Within this area, the items that you should choose for a zero waste vacation are the same items that you should choose for zero waste living at home.

Plastic-free alternatives for common bathroom products include:

  • Bamboo and natural bristle toothbrushes.
  • Toothpaste/ toothpowder in plastic-free packaging.
  • An organic cotton cloth or flannel rather than disposable plastic wet wipes.
  • A wooden and natural bristle hair brush.
  • A wood-handled or bamboo handled safety razor.
  • A reusable silicone cup to replace female sanitary products.

There are plastic free alternatives to many of the products you will require while you are away on your green vacation. Another thing to consider is that simplifying your cleaning and beauty regime can help to reduce plastic use in general, and will also allow you to pack lighter when going away.

Things to consider include:

  • Replacing shampoos, conditioners and other haircare items with a ‘no poo’ system. (For example, using just bicarbonate of soda and apple cider vinegar to wash and condition your hair.) Interestingly, bicarbonate of soda can also be used as a dry shampoo on your green travels.
  • Replacing plastic bottles of shower gel, cleanser etc. with a simple, natural bar soap. For traveling, you can place this in a natural wood or bamboo soap case.
  • Going make-up free, or using only a few simple, natural ingredients to make your own more eco-friendly beauty products.

Pack Eco-Friendly Travel Clothing to Reduce Textiles Waste

You may not be aware of this, but every time you wash synthetic clothing, tiny micro-particles of plastic are washed down the drain. Such clothing also poses a waste problem at the end of its useful life. And that is not to mention the harm caused to the environment throughout the process of making such fabrics in the first place, as fossil fuels are extracted from the ground and turned into synthetic fibres.

If, therefore, you plan to buy some more travel clothing before you set off on your zero waste adventure, be sure to chose natural, organic textiles like cotton or hemp, or semi-natural materials like Tencel/ lyocell, rather than polyester, nylon, acrylic or other plastic clothing.

Reduce Plastic Use While Eating When Out and About

Saying no to disposable plastic plates or cutlery, polystyrene containers and plastic straws is obviously a big part of reducing plastic use while eating when on your eco travels. But reducing plastic use can also begin before you leave home. Consider packing items that will help you avoid single use plastics – such as a reusable, plastic-free water bottle, and a plastic-free box for take-outs and picnic lunches. You could also consider packing a few beeswax wraps, which will be good for packing sandwiches, or keep leftovers fresher for longer and help prevent food waste.

Select Plastic Free Options When Shopping For Souvenirs

Another think that is important if you are aiming for a zero waste vacation is being careful about the souvenirs or other items you choose to buy while you are away. Try to pick local, hand-crafted, natural items rather than mass-produced tat (that might very well just end up in landfill further down the road).

If you do expect to shop while you are on vacation – either for your own food, or for other sustainable items, then you should also consider taking a strong, durable, reusable shopping tote with you to use while you are away. In terms of materials, hemp can be a sustainable and eco-friendly choice.

But why should we be trying to reduce plastic use on our eco travels? Why is aiming for a zero waste vacation a worthwhile goal?

The Problem with Plastic

Around the world, people are waking up to the problem of plastic pollution. The statistics are shocking. Humanity’s annual consumption of plastic materials has increased from around 5 million tonnes in the 1950s to almost 100 million tonnes today. Scientists have shown that up to 12 million tonnes of plastic is entering our oceans each year – an amount that could fill a rubbish truck every minute!

Unfortunately, all that plastic sticks around. Plastic does not usually naturally biodegrade in the environment. It will remain there, in every ecosystem of the planet, for hundreds of years. By living without regard for the waste we generate today, we are creating a massive problem not only for ourselves but for many generations to come.

Plastic waste is a massive problem. It is easy to become overwhelmed, and to wonder what we, as individuals, can really do to mitigate the problems. The truth of the matter is that much of the power is in our hands. While governments and big business do have to do their part, there is still plenty that individuals can do to reduce the waste burden on our planet. Little steps that we can take on the road to a zero waste lifestyle can really add up to a surprisingly big difference. That includes taking the steps above to enjoy a zero waste vacation.

Author of our ‘green’ articles is Elizabeth Waddington – a professional writer and a consultant on topics related to permaculture, sustainability, green living and eco travel.

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