9 ways to reduce single-use plastic while on holiday

As David Attenborough said: “There is no away – because plastic is so permanent and so indestructible. When you cast it into the ocean, it doesn’t go away”.

Our love for plastic is a known problem. However, things are getting worse when we are travelling; using and leaving more plastic on our holiday destination, not considering the local waste management system. Most of our single-use plastic ends up on the streets or in the oceans and remains there.

If you want to read more about the problem around single-use plastic, visit the Plastic Soup Foundation, Plastic Oceans, or National Geographic' Planet & Plastic. Do you want to be part of the solution? Read this blog!

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9 ways to reduce single-use plastic

The key message of reducing single-use plastic is to aim for prevention, then to re-use, then to recycle. Remember that every little effort helps, and that every measure will have an impact. Let’s stop waste before it starts!

1. Bring your own re-usable water bottle

When you travel to destinations where you can drink water from the tap, bring your own re-usable water bottle! Did you know that travellers use around 30 plastic bottles each per two-week trip? This single-use plastic can easily be saved when you bring your own bottle and re-use it!

2. Use a water filter where you can’t drink water from the tap

When travelling to destinations where water is not safe to drink from the tap, use a water filter. SteriPen and LifeStraw have both proven to kill 99,99% of all bacteria in tap water. By filtering your tap water there is no need to buy plastic bottles every day and still have safe drinking water. Yay for science!

3. Say no to straws

Did you know that over 500 million straws are used every day worldwide? Straws are in the top 10 of waste found on beaches and also showing up in the news more often. The easiest way is to order your drink without a straw to avoid this altogether. Do you really want to use a straw? Bring your own re-usable straw like the ones from FinalStraw.

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4. Bring your own re-usable shopping bag

Whenever you are buying something on holiday, you are automatically provided with plastic shopping bags. They are only used for carrying your newly bought items for a short period of time, where after the bags are disposed. You can avoid this by simply bringing your own!

5. Take your own shampoo bottles from home and take them back!

Not using the mini shampoos in your hotel room and bringing your own from home seems like an obvious one, but did you know that it is very important to also take your empty shampoo bottles back home? The type of plastic these bottles are made of is much thicker than the plastic used for water bottles and takes over 400 years to decompose! Take it home and recycle!

6. Don’t drink the free plastic bottles on your room

It resembles good hospitality, but it is actually bad for the environment to offer (and drink) the complementary plastic bottles in your room. If you do want to have water, you can ask for a jar with some glasses. By communicating this, the hotel may start offering the same to the next travellers and set the right example!

7. Bring re-usable cutlery when eating street food

Street food is an indispensable element when travelling through faraway destinations and getting to know the local cuisine. However, every time you order a meal you’ll receive plastic cutlery to eat it with. You can either ask for wooden or bamboo cutlery if available or bring your own re-usable cutlery like the ones from Bright!

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8. Put trash where it belongs

The plastic soup has not been created by correctly disposed plastic. If you dispose your waste the right way, chances are higher it will not end up on the streets or in the oceans! It might seem like a very simple task, but it will change the world!

9. Pick up trash if you see it lying somewhere

Set the right example and show others how it’s done! By doing this you are not only removing plastic and other waste lying around in the streets, but it will also encourage local communities and other tourists to do the same! Win-win for a cleaner planet!

What about you?

What measures do you take to reduce plastic when you travel? Were you aware of the large impact plastic has on the environment? Is this blog changing your perspective on single plastic use? Let me know on Facebook!

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