‘Tis the season for many things; reconnecting with family, giving thanks for making it through the year, and making preparations for the year to come. With all this excitement, environmentally responsible habits when travelling tend to fall by the waste side (hem hem hem, excuse the pun).
Being an eco-warrior isn’t easy (which is why many are happy living negligently) but it is possible to enjoy your advent calendars and festive roasts without harming Mother Nature. Environmentalists travelling this festive season can reduce their carbon footprint by considering some of the zero-waste tips we’ve shared.
Remember, zero-waste is largely about planning ahead. If you have everything you might need on you, not only do you save pennies but you’re absolved of having to dispose of the product materials.
If you’re reading this, I assume you care about how your lifestyle affects the earth. You might carpool to work and encourage your kids to walk or cycle to their friends house two blocks down instead of calling them an Uber. So it comes as no surprise that airplanes guzzle gas like a parched prisoner trapped in the desert. But before you click out of the page because you think I’m about to persecute you, we can both agree that air travel is sometimes unavoidable. So when you do, try pack everything into a carry on bag. A swollen suitcase weighs the entire aircraft down thus requiring more fuel.
TRACK THE WEATHER
I admit, this isn’t an exact science but I imagine Mother Nature rolls her eyes whenever she sees vaalies only pack shorts and vests when heading to the coast for the festive season. I imagine she’s tutting over her balcony saying, “when you assume, you make an ass of you and me.”
Assuming that the weather is going to be sunny and tropical all holiday long is folly. There will be summer rains, and they are extremely unpredictable, icy breezes and cold fronts. Check the weather forecast for your travel destination and pack for what that prediction is. You’ll kick yourself when you have to spend un-budgeted money buying jerseys and raincoats when you could’ve just packed appropriately.
Note: dress smart when you’re travelling too. It’s easier to peel off layers of clothing and than shivering on the plane or in the bus.
The easiest way to minimise your waste is in the catering department. If you pack travel snacks into reusable plastic containers, you’re less likely to purchase a muffin or sandwich wrapped in single-use plastic. Having a reusable container on hand is great because you can save your apple cores and soft citrus skins for when you get home and can pop them in your compost bin. Decant juices into glass bottles and keep your coffee warm in a travel mug or flask.
TAKE CARE OF CUTLERY
Since we’re on the subject, a decent set of reusable eating utensils will certainly work in your favour. Though you can’t insist flight attendants serve your in-flight meal on plates you provide, at least you can decline those awful plastic sporks (spoon+fork) that are completely useless anyway.
If you don’t have one already, buy a reusable straw. Restraw has a great bamboo straw set that comes with a hemp carry sleeve and a cleaning brush.
CARRY A HANDKERCHIEF
Planes are incubators of germs. For 1.5+ hours, horribly sick and perfectly healthy humans share the same air until the cabin doors are disarmed. Buses can be just as bad because the travel time tends to be much longer and, in many vehicles, the windows don’t even open. Instead of reaching for the drink’s napkin on your neighbours tray table, or buying disposable facial tissues at the next refreshment stop, you can use and reuse a handkerchief that you can wash.
‘Tis the season to share eco-friendly advice. If you have zero-waste travelling tips, let all of us know by commenting below.