While travel nourishes the soul and promotes personal wellness, it can be damaging to our planet. The very ‘on the go’ nature of travel lends itself to single-use plastic over-consumption – items like utensils, straws, bags, and cups, used once, maybe for a few minutes, and then thrown away.
While they are convenient, they don’t biodegrade and can exist for 1000 years, leaching harmful chemicals and polluting our landfills and oceans. Plastic also leaches chemicals into the food or beverage it stores, which in turn, is ingested.
A quick Google search for plastic pollution will give you all the negative data and images you need for motivation…so let’s focus on solutions! You can stay prepared to say, “No thank you” to single-use plastic and similar, unnecessary waste by following a few tips and strategies on the go:
1. Bring your own water bottle: Most airports have water filling stations, but you can also fill your bottle in less obvious places including markets, grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, or any convenient store with soda machines (there is usually a tab for water). Worried about water quality? Purchase a bottle with a filter.
2. Bring a reusable coffee cup: You can ask the barista or flight attendant to put your drink right in your cup. Remember, even paper coffee cups are lined in plastic.
3. Pack your own snacks: Snacks on the go will usually be packaged in plastic. Make your own snacks or shop your favorite bulk section for wholesome, plastic-free treats before you leave.
4. Pack empty food containers: Stainless steel is a popular, durable, plastic-free option and can hold everything from bulk snacks at the local market to scones, fresh fruit, deli salads, leftovers from a meal out, or a to-go order at any restaurant. Just ask for your to-go item to be packed in your own container.
5. Bring reusable cotton produce bags: These bags come in handy for bakery items, bulk snacks, fresh produce or bread, shells, jewelry, or souvenirs.
6. Use your own utensils: Keep a bamboo cutlery set and cloth napkin with you. When you order food or snacks you can politely decline the plastic utensils. Why bamboo? The knife will pass airport security whereas stainless steel will not.
7. Pack a cotton string bag: It will compact to fit in your purse, pocket or backpack, but expand exponentially in use. Perfect for a trip to the market, shopping, or containing items for daily outings.
8. Try stainless steel straws: They come in a variety of sizes for cocktails, tall drinks, or smoothies. Just order your drinks without the straw!
9. Pack Beauty Kubes: Multifunctional, dry, plastic-free, and compact, these shampoo and body wash cubes are a travel essential. To use, bring one with you in the shower, crumble in your hand, and mix with water to form a lather to wash your hair and body. No plastic bottles, liquids, or mess and they are planet friendly.
10. Use toothpaste tablets: Avoid plastic toothpaste tubes, caps and TSA regulations on how much paste you can bring on a flight. Bring a plastic-free container of toothpaste tablets, your bamboo toothbrush, and you’ll be set.
With a little preparation, you can easily refuse single-use plastic, reduce your waste, and feel great about your sustainable travel habits while keeping yourself and the beautiful planet we live on well.
Use what you have, but if you’re looking to purchase, you’ll find most items above at wellearthgoods.com. We are a 100% plastic-free online store to support you and all your zero waste needs. Travel well.
Zero Waste Travel Kit
While these items can be purchased individually, combined they create a perfect, zero waste, on the go kit. To consolidate, the smaller stainless steel containers and produce bags fit inside the two-tier stainless steel food container. Perfect for the eco-friendly traveler.
Linen Utensil Wrap With Bamboo Utensils & Straw
This linen utensil wrap can easily be stored in your purse, bag, back pocket or car to avoid single-use plastic cutlery on the go. It has 3 slots to hold utensils and a small linen napkin tucks neatly inside. Bamboo cutlery and a stainless steel straw are included. Once it is rolled, secure with attached ties.
Jocelynn and Lee Anderson own Well Earth Goods, a zero waste, 100% plastic free, e-commerce store. Created to support and encourage a more sustainable lifestyle, they carry quality sustainable products selected for durability, minimalism, and aesthetics.
At home in Southern Oregon, they are parents to two toddler boys and a teenage daughter. By day, Jocelynn is a speech pathologist and Lee is a digital marketing manager. They combined their complimentary passion and skill sets to create their unique eco-friendly company.