As the effects of climate change become more apparent, more consumers are starting to become environmentally conscious. They do this by reducing their carbon footprint and adopting a zero-waste mindset, where they make deliberate choices to lessen the waste they produce, either plastic, paper, or food waste. Because of this, the travel preferences of consumers are also changing. A recent report on sustainable tourism revealed that 53% of global travelers wish to travel more sustainably in the future.
Luckily, you can freely travel the world and still practice a zero-waste mindset. In the popular podcast Zero Waste Travel Packing and Hacking vegan author and speaker Colleen Patrick-Goudreau shared that one of the best ways you can apply zero waste on the go is by following the 5Rs: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot. Following these tips means you don’t have to worry about your waste, even if you plan to go on a long or short trip, domestically or internationally.
But how exactly can you implement the 5Rs during your trip? In this article, we will discuss four ways you can do just that.
In this article, we will discuss four ways you can travel with zero waste in line with the 5Rs.
Use digital tickets and documents
At the start of your trip, you can significantly reduce the waste you generate by using digital tickets and documents. Since most airline and accommodation transactions today are done online, you no longer need to physically print out your tickets and booking confirmations. You can simply download your electronic tickets and show them to the staff or receptionist of your destination. It’s also better to digitally scan your ID, passport, and other necessary documents instead of bringing paper copies. Aside from reducing your paper waste, doing so will make bringing all the necessary documents more convenient, accessible, and hassle-free.
Book accommodations in sustainable hotels
Another way you can lessen the waste you produce from travelling is by supporting sustainable hotels. As a matter of fact, some hotels are already implementing zero-waste policies. For instance, the Opéra Liège Hotel in Paris has abandoned all single-use plastics in exchange for eco-friendly alternatives. Instead of plastic key cards, you’re given wooden key cards to access rooms and amenities. Additionally, all snacks in their mini-bar are plastic-free, while water bottles are replaced with a water fountain and refillable glass bottles. All this shows that sustainable tourism is possible as long as establishments are eager to make the change — and you can do your part to support their efforts by bringing your business to them.
Environmental experts from the OECD recently warned that global plastic waste will triple by 2060 if we don’t reduce the waste we generate soon. That’s why it’s best that you bring reusable bottles and utensils with you on your travels. If you carry your own water bottle, you can save money from constantly buying water outside while reducing the amount of plastic you throw away. Similarly, bringing reusable utensils means you don’t need to rely on plastic cutlery when eating out at restaurants, which can definitely help you cut down on waste as well.
Buy souvenirs wisely
When travelling, it’s normal to buy souvenirs to commemorate the trip. However, it’s important to remember that you should buy keepsakes wisely. Before making a purchase, carefully consider how you will use them. Are you giving it as a gift or buying it for yourself? Is the item practical, or are you only planning to display it at home? Another thing to think about is where the item was manufactured. Our article ‘Sustainable Living’ found that it’s best to buy souvenirs from local shops. Besides supporting local businesses, purchasing regional products helps enrich the value of the local culture. Moreover, it creates a myriad of opportunities for locals and contributes to their social and economic sustainability.