Travel is unsustainable by its very nature. This isn’t news to anyone. But as we have started a New Year, and the state of our climate and environment is (quite rightly) at the forefront of many people’s minds across the world, there are simple changes us travellers can make to reduce our carbon footprint. From switching your water bottle to the sunscreen you choose, here are some ideas for simple switches you can make to reduce your environmental impact!
Reusable Water Bottle
I feel like this is a pretty obvious one. But taking a reusable water bottle on your next trip will not only save you money, but it benefits the environment too. Obviously in some countries, tap water is unsafe to drink – but that doesn’t mean you still can’t use a reusable bottle. If you’re staying in one location for a while, try buying a big bottle of water (ideally 5L or 10L) and simply top up your reusable water bottle ahead of your trip out. Today, many companies have created water bottles with inbuilt filters, meaning you can drink fresh water from almost anywhere!
If you fancy going one step further, invest in a reusable coffee cup too! Many coffee shops will offer discounts for customers who bring their own cup – so you can save yourself even more money!
Many travellers will have a razor in their toiletry bag – but the number of reusable razors used by people on the road remains pretty low. By buying an ethically sourced, reusable razor (which are unisex) and blades will save you money in the long run, and will also be kinder to the environment.
Solid Cosmetics and Toiletries
Whether it be shampoo, soap or toothpaste, there are so many cosmetics out there today which can be bought in solid form. In the UK one of the most popular companies for purchasing solid toiletries is Lush, but I reckon if you visit your local high-street there will be plenty of local retailers who sell at least one solid toiletry or cosmetic! Using solid toiletries and cosmetics on the road is an absolute game-changer. Wave goodbye to leaking bottles, heavy suitcases and wasted packaging. These bars are light, plastic-free and make your bags smell great.
Reusable Make-Up Wipes
Sure, disposable make-up wipes are great for life on the road, but they are steadily polluting the environment. Reusable Make-Up Wipes are so simple to use (literally add water or your favourite make-up removal solution and wipe away), can often be used hundreds of times, and many are now made from fully recyclable materials!
If you’re on the road for a long time, or backpacking your way round a new country, bamboo utensils are the perfect option for eating your way around the world. Easy to use, store and clean, bamboo utensils are an easy switch to make.
If you’re needing a new toothbrush for your adventure, make sure you look into bamboo toothbrushes too!
Reusable Food Bags
If you’ve stayed in a hostel before, you will surely recall a time when you’ve cooked dinner for yourself only to end up making far too much….and having nothing to store it in for the next day. Reusable food bags are a great option. Often made from silicone, these pouches can come in all sorts of sizes, are easy to clean, and take up next to no room in your suitcases.
This might seem like a random choice, but we all know how important it is to ensure you’re fully protected from those rays. Choosing a lotion which will protect your skin, not cause any allergies and is eco-friendly too is a simple way to be more environmentally friendly on your next trip.
Reusable Shopping Bag
Last but not least is the essential item for any trip. A reusable shopping bag. If you’re backpacking and need to buy the ingredients for your tea, or just heading out to buy a load of souvenirs for your loved ones, taking a reusable shopping bag with you is the perfect solution for reducing your carbon footprint and lowering your plastic waste.
Carbon offsetting is the reduction of emissions made in order to compensate emissions made elsewhere. An example of this is toilet roll (stay with me on this!). Obviously to produce toilet rolls, we have to cut down some trees – impacting the environment and ultimately increasing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. To make up for this, many companies will plant a number of new trees for every one they chop down – ultimately offsetting their carbon footprint. And we can do the same thing.
Whether it be donating money to charities which work to reduce carbon and offset emissions, or choosing airlines which have more sustainable flight options, there are so many things we can do! If you’re travelling a short distance, try taking public transport instead of flying or taking the car. Eat local food, made with local ingredients. Buy in local greengrocers instead of supermarkets! If we know where to look, we can all steadily reduce our carbon footprints.
Have you already made the switch to any of these products? Let us know in the comments below!