The average American produces 4.6 pounds of trash per day — yikes! Andrea Sanders of www.bezero.co believes we can make a lot less than this. Whether we’re taking a road trip across the country or traveling around the world, we can all take simple strides towards making less trash.
Keeping your trash and plastic footprint small when you’re traveling may seem a little daunting at first, but with a little bit of foresight you too can shrink the amount of trash your travels produce, for good.
The tips below will help you drastically reduce your trash footprint while you travel. Remember, this isn’t about trash perfection, it’s about massive trash disruption! Try it out, and see how you too can travel light, live light, and ‘be zero!
Refuse Single-Use Disposables
This is your biggest weapon in preventing trash on-the-go. Most trash created comes from single-use disposable waste. These are any items that we use once and toss. Everything from plastic straws, napkins, drink containers, and to-go containers…
Rethink your trash footprint by refusing items that are used once and tossed–even if they are recyclable items. A great place to start is by refusing plastic straws in your drinks when you’re eating out. Over 500 million plastic straws are used every day in the U.S. alone!
Check out Be Zero’s resource page to get your hands on your own zero waste travel goods!
When traveling and snacking, look for foods that are not wrapped in plastics. I’ve found it easier to be zero waste while I’m traveling. Farmer’s markets, deli’s, and small independent shops often have foods you can purchase in bulk or unpackaged. In most other countries, it’s also much more common to sit and enjoy a drink rather than take it to-go.
Bring Your Own
Making less trash on the road means I need to be prepared with some of my own durable and reusable items. I like to travel super light by keeping my essentials compact and functional. That’s why I take small, functional, durable reusable items that will fit neatly into my travel bag.
To help divert trash from the landfill (no matter where I am in the world), here are the 6 things I always have on hand:
- one small glass (or stainless steel container or mason jar) for drinks, snacks, or leftovers
- a small, cloth produce bag
- folding stainless steel utensils
- stainless steel reusable straw
- a small cloth napkin
- a compact, folding, reusable bag
One major part of the zero waste lifestyle is consuming less and living with more intention. By doing this, you’ll keep your attention on experiences rather than acquiring things. Instead of souvenirs, keep a notebook or an oral history (recording) of your travels instead. Collect raw experiences that you can store in your head and heart rather than objects that might end up collecting dust at home.
Making less trash is easy. The more you refuse needless waste, bring your own durable reusables, and simplify your consumer habits, the more it will become second nature to make less trash…even when you’re traveling the world.
Andrea lives in Boulder, Colorado where she helps individuals, families, and businesses reduce their environmental impact. Learn more about Andrea and her zero waste mission at www.bezero.co. She shares daily zero-waste inspiration on Instagram @BeZeroWasteGirl
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