Our unsustainable demand for single-use plastic is a problem, and it poses particular challenges in the tourism industry. Because plastic is both light and easily disposable, it’s treated as a travel staple. However, only 9% of plastic is recycled, and all the rest ends up in landfills and the ocean, emitting methane and breaking down into microplastics. It’s a problem we need to take action on, and movements like #PlasticFreeJuly are changing the way we think about and use single-use plastic.
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Even though Plastic Free July is coming to an end, our efforts to minimize our single-use plastic consumption don’t have to! In fact, all the ideas generated by the thousands of people participating in #PlasticFreeJuly creates the perfect jumping-off point for the rest of the year.
We believe in global connectedness, and we’re passionate about getting involved in communities and finding solutions for problems like tourism’s plastic overuse. While it may seem simple to reduce plastic consumption while we’re on our home turf, implementing these habits on the road can prove a little more challenging. Whether you’re a beginner or a zero-waste veteran, here are some of our favorite zero-waste travel tips for Plastic Free July and beyond.
It can be hard to get through your three meals a day without encountering an enormous amount of plastic. First, pack some collapsible tupperware to store your snacks for the plane – and avoid plastic-wrapped airplane meals.
Once you arrive in your destination, you can use these containers when you shop at local markets for food and snacks – which is the best way to experience fresh, healthy, and local flavors, anyways! Avoid snacks like bags of chips and opt for nature’s packaging – like a banana. When you’re out and about, pass on single-use plastic utensils – because you packed a travel spork!
Hydration is important, especially when you’re on-the-go in a hot climate. Fortunately, there are so many reusable water bottles out there to match your needs. If you’re headed to a place where drinking tap water isn’t an option, there are lots of water bottles that contain built-in filters to make sure you stay healthy!
Dying for a coffee or iced drink? Sit down at a local cafe and take a break, instead of taking your drink in a plastic to-go cup. Don’t forget to say no to plastic straws (one of the Big Four most wasted plastics). You can pack a reusable metal straw if really want to level-up your drinking experience.
Approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used every year, so pack a light and compact reusable bag for your grocery and souvenir shopping.
Nothing is quite as fun as travel-sized toiletries – but nothing is quite as wasteful, either (just take a look at how many travel-sized bottles this CEO collected from business trips). Pass on the hotel toiletries and rely on your own, instead.
Use refillable travel containers for your liquids, or step it up with soap, shampoo, and conditioner bars (both Lush and Ethique carry these). Switch your plastic toothbrush to a compostable bamboo toothbrush, and your razor to a brand that uses recycled plastic (like Preserve).
Sustainability starts with you, but it doesn’t end there. Picking up plastic trash on the ground when you see it will reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in our oceans and harming wildlife. And if someone asks you what you’re doing, tell them about why reducing single-use plastic waste matters to you.
What are your favorite strategies for reducing your single-use plastic consumption while you travel? We would love to hear your travel tips for Plastic Free July and beyond! Happy #PlasticFreeJuly!
Here’s a peek at the Prontopia team – including Prontopia locals – cleaning up communities in Venice, Rome, Florence, and Santa Barbara on World Oceans Day! Download the Prontopia app today and follow our Facebook page for updates on how to join fun sustainable service events when you are traveling, or to connect with a Prontopia Local to learn about the best Zero Kilometer markets and food choices in the area. For more ocean-friendly travel tips, pay a visit to our friend Julia at Snorkels and Fins.