Living plastic-free during your travels becomes slightly more tricky. Plastic has definite advantages due to it malleability and flexibility, low weight, unbreakability, etc. It is easier to carry a plastic water bottle rather than a metal one. Similarly for other things. But one has to compromise on some things if we are thinking about the future. And there are ways and means of living plastic-free even when we are travelling. Many of the tips applicable to the home, the workplace or the restaurant works just as well when travelling. We just have to be a little more conscious because we are away from the comfort zone of our home and probably in a rush for time. Take it up as a challenge. Here are some idea.
1. Give up bottled water
This is the most obvious. Travelling makes you thirsty and if you drink five litres of water a day, you are throwing away five empty plastic bottles out for eternity. Carry your own bottle and fill it up wherever you can. If you are unsure of the quality of water, carry a water purification device like a LifeSaver bottle or a Mini Sawyer. You will be sure to drink good water and you will save the environment.
2. Carry a travel mug and water bottle
Do not depend on the store-offered cup or mug for your to-go coffee ... dig into your bag and offer your own. Many coffee shops will give you coffee in plastic cups or mugs, or at least in paper cups lined with plastic. Same for water. Instead of buying water in a disposable plastic bottle, carry your own bottle and fill it whenever you can.
3. Bring your own snacks
Walking around a new city, looking at the sights and sounds, you are bound to get hungry and feel snacky. Resist the temptation to walk into the closest store to pick up some munchies. Almost all munchies are either wrapped or packed in convenient plastic. Before your leave your hotel room, remember that you will be out for a certain length of time and might feel hungry. Carry your own snacks in non-disposable containers, ready to be used during the next outing.
4. Bring your own utensils
This might seem like a bit much, but is possible, particularly when you are eating street food. Instead of having the 2-minute noodle served in the ubiquitous plastic plate, hand over your plate made from areca leaf, or palm leaf, or sugarcane, or bamboo. You will feel good about it, and hopefully the other customers who are witness to this will get inspired. They might even start a conversation and you will end up making some new friends.
5. Don’t forget your headphones
When you are travelling in an airline, you might wish to listen to music or watch the movie. If so, you will be handed a pair of headphones, neatly and nicely wrapped in plastic. Say, "No thank you." reach into your handbag and take out the headphones you carried from home. Remember, every little bit helps.
6. Bring your own personal care products
A visit into the washroom of almost every hotel in the world, regardless of star rating, will have the mandatory toiletries. A toothbrush, a bottle of shampoo, face wash, etc. Larger the hotel, the larger the number of items. However, one thing remains common ... they are all in plastic wraps or bottles. Moreover, since these are free for the guest, chances are they do not buy the best there is the market has to offer. Carry your own personal care products.
7. Refuse the mini bar
The mini bar in your room is a separate and distinct revenue source for the hotel. DO NOT EVEN OPEN THAT DOOR!!! Remember the time you were feeling snacky during your walk? Follow that same principle. Carry your snacks and munch on them, unless of course you have tons of money to throw around and do not care for the environment.
8. Choose plastic-free camping equipment
Many people like camping and being one with Nature. Just follow that principle a little further and pack your rucksack without any plastic. The advantage of much of camping equipment is that they need to be durable and sturdy, making throwaway plastic a no-no. But, if you look carefully at your packing list the last you went camping, you might find plastic in there. Next time, think environment, think Nature where you are headed and remove as much plastic as you can. Consciously choose plastic-free camping equipment.