Plastic Free Travel Guide
While travel brings exploration and excitement, it can also come with a hefty plastic footprint. And with over 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the ocean, it’s time to rethink our relationship with plastic. In honor of Plastic Free July, we’ve put together our favorite Plastic Free Travel tips!
1. Reusable Water Bottles & Coffee Mugs
Filtered water is increasingly available in public areas (especially airports!!). Filling up a reusable water bottle can reduce the number of water cups you use on airplane flights or single-use water bottles used throughout your trip. The same is true of a coffee mug. Today, many insulated water bottles can double for coffee and tea. In many cases, retailers will give you a discount for bringing your own reusables.
2. Pack Your Own Toiletries
Single-use shampoo, conditioner, and lotion bottles can add up to a lot of plastic waste – especially if you’re switching hotels frequently. Instead, pack your own toiletries using refillable GoToobs. If you’re concerned about leaks, pack your refillable containers in a reusable silicone pouch.
3. Skip the Straw
Straws are one of the most common plastic pollution items collected during beach cleanups. While dining out, remember to tell your waiter “no straw, please!” Final Straw also offers a collapsible straw option. Easy to stow, a collapsible straw ensures that you always have a reusable straw on hand.
4. Dine In and Minimize To-Go Meals
To-go meals may be convenient, but they come with a hefty plastic price tag. A sit down meal reduces the need for single-use cups, plates, and cutlery. Even better, support the areas you’re visiting by dining at local restaurants and coffee shops.
5. Reusable Dining Set
If a sit-down meal isn’t an option, reusable cutlery is another great way to reduce single-use plastic. You can find many options for reusable cutlery sets that come in their own carrying case and include a fork, spoon, and knife. A bamboo or titanium spork (fork + spoon combination) is another easy option.
6. Pack Your Own Snacks & Reusable Containers
Worldwide, 40% of the plastic produced is packaging. Skip the airplane and airport snacks in favor of your own snacks packed in reusable containers. Cut vegetables (carrots or celery) and fruits are healthy, simple to prep, and easy to transport. Many fruits (oranges, bananas, and apples, for example) come with their own packaging. You can also buy bulk trail mix, nuts, or granola to transport in your reusable containers. Reusable snack containers come in various shapes and sizes. Some good options are containers made from stainless steel or silicone.
7. Avoid Airplane Blankets & Headphones
Airplane blankets and headphones are wrapped in single-use plastic. To keep warm on a long flight, skip unwrapping the blanket and instead dress accordingly (long pants and socks). You can also pack a lightweight sweatshirt. Investing in your own reusable set of headphones allows you to avoid a using a new set of headphones each flight.
8. Bring a Reusable Bag
Americans use an estimated 100 billion plastic grocery bags each year. A reusable bag is easy to stash in your suitcase and can help you avoid using plastic bags during your travels. The Chico Bags brand offers a compact, reusable option that is small enough to fit into a purse but big enough to carry your purchases.