How to reduce your plastic consumption on your next holiday

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While getting ready for a long awaited vacation, you know all the tricks for packing light and smart - but what about packing zero waste? Tourism is one of the biggest industries in the world and it has a significant impact on our environment. Typically tourism generates huge amounts of waste, which many countries struggle to manage due to poor infrastructure. The onus to reduce this impact does not solely lie on travellers, but also hotels, restaurants and other facilities which use mountains of plastic packaged products. With 80% of all tourism taking place in coastal areas, it’s important to be aware of how much plastic you are using abroad and how you dispose of it.

Eco-friendly travelling has become synonymous with responsible travelling which includes how you plan, prepare, pack and execute your vacation. Having a customised eco-friendly travel kit is a great way to start. Here are some zero waste travel essentials to help you reduce your plastic footprint on your next holiday.

Reusable bottles
Tourists are renowned for going through mountains of plastic bottled water while travelling. Bottled water may be convenient but it results in huge amounts of plastic waste being left behind for the local community to deal with. Reusable bottles or spill-proof tumblers are great alternatives, and most hotels offer water refills. In places where tap water is not safe to drink,  you can carry a bottle with built in filter or water purifying tablets like aquatabs to avoid bottled water.     

Soap bars
Another culprit of excessive plastic waste are the miniature toiletries many hotels provide.   These products are used for only a short time and then end up in landfill. Cruelty-free soap and shampoo bars are not only plastic-free (since they do not come in bottles) but they are eco-friendly, long-lasting as well as travel-friendly (leak proof!). You can store them in tin boxes or old tupperware.

No need for plastic bags
Multi-purpose tote bags or cloth bags not only fold easily in your hand luggage, they can be used for almost anything. Long lasting, lightweight and they most importantly allow you refuse single use plastic bags on holiday. From shopping for souvenirs to packing laundry, these bags are a must have on your next trip.

Plastic free period
Having your period on vacation can be frustrating at times, not to mention it results in a huge amount of waste. Instead, a menstrual cup is your new best friend in these times of need. They are eco-friendly, easy to carry and cost-effective. A menstrual cup can stay in for up to 12 hours, allowing you to get on with enjoying your holiday.

Just Roll With It
Toilet paper rolls and tissues are, for many, standard items to carry while travelling. Even though they are compostable, it still requires valuable resources to make them in the first place. Recycled and/or eco-friendly papers are amazing substitutes. Moreover, carrying a cloth napkin can double as a handkerchief and is reusable.

The key is to leave as little trace as possible while travelling. Remember that any waste left behind will have to be dealt with by the local community, and they may not have the same waste management infrastructure as you have in your home country. Be a good tourist and be aware of how you are impacting the environment. These zero waste travel essentials will stand you in good stead.

The important thing is to do your best. For that plastic you just can’t avoid, you can now offset your consumption using the rePurpose plastic offsetting service. Learn more about it here.