Each and every day, more and more people are getting on board with taking care of our beautiful planet. The main aim; to reduce our single use plastic consumption. This is a global issue we are facing and it is one which we need to act on, NOW!
In day-to-day life, we need to be prepared in order to reduce our plastic use. It requires a lot of thought, prior planning and even some sacrifice. Whilst on the road, this can be even harder! We have definitely learnt some lessons along the way and aim to improve these as we go. Here are just some of the steps we have taken to reduce our on the go plastic consumption.
Bring a Reusable Water Bottle
It’s amazing to see how many people still buy bottled water when they’re out. Not only do they pollute our beautiful oceans, but they cost MONEY! Ever heard the saying “water water all around, so let’s all have a drink”? Well it will never fail to amaze me when people choose to buy something that flows directly from the tap, FOR FREE.
Yes of course, there are areas of the world where the water is not as potable as in the western world. For this, we have Lifestraw filter water-bottles! These babies literally never leave our side. Especially when travelling in hot weather it is vital to keep hydrated, therefore it comes everywhere with us.
When it comes to filling it up however, it can be difficult in some countries. We have found so far that many places won’t want to serve you tap water and aren’t willing to fill up your water bottle, just so they can SELL you a bottle of water.
This is where it becomes handy to have a filter water-bottle as you can fill it up in a bathroom (if you can find one that you don’t need to pay to use). Of course, some cities have water fountains in the street, allowing free access to all. However, these are rarely well sign-posted and are lucky to stumble across them.
Bring a Reusable Cup
If you’re a morning coffee drinker (like Campbell), or even if you’re not (me), it is handy to carry a reusable cup. This means if I order a smoothie or another fresh juice I can take it away in my KeepCup instead of using a plastic one. In the UK, most large coffee chains even offer a discount on your cup of joe if you bring your own cup! That’s another money-saver, just for loving the environment!
Choose an Ice Cream Cone over a Tub
It’s a hot day, you’re exploring the city and drinking in the culture. It’s time for some gelato! When you find the best aka cheapest) ice cream stall, make sure you opt for a scoop in a cone, rather than a plastic tub. Can you eat a plastic tub? NO! So why are you wasting your money on it? Even if you don’t like the cone, give it to someone else and make a new friend for the day.
Bring a Reusable Mesh Bag
Something that takes up next to no weight or space in your bag. If you’re buying rolls or any loose veg from the supermarket, the only option is to put it in a plastic bag. We make sure we always carry one mesh bag out with us to avoid any need for single use bags. The rest of them we use to store opened packets of food, as we are fed up with getting pasta all over our rucksacks! Sometimes we’ve needed more than that one and we’ve had a to use a paper one, but this is just something to learn from.
Reusable Carrier Bag
If you’re doing any shopping at all whilst you’re away, its handy to carry one of these with you. Even if you have a rucksack with you, this is another thing that takes up little-to-no space in your bag.
Bring a Reusable Straw
Something that we have been finding quite frustrating since we’ve started our European adventure, is just how much they love to give out straws. We got into a habit of asking for no straw when ordering a drink, just to avoid getting one. However, despite this fore thinking, many places will still give you one regardless.
One time, I asked for no straw with my drink, so the simply server smiled and proceeded to give me one anyway. Even when I went to take it out the glass he gestured me to take it with me. I’ve learnt to take my reusable straw to the bar and put it in the glass, before they get any chance to stick a plastic one in it.
Toiletries are a main downfall for many wannabe light-packers. They make your bag heavy, take up a lot of room, require expensive hold-luggage for liquids and are normally wrapped in plastic!
We have been travelling with Lush plastic-free toiletries. The lack of liquid in these have managed to make our trip a lot more bearable. A bar of soap, shampoo bar, conditioner bar and deodorant bar all live in our toilet bags, and we can recommend them all! We also use toothpaste and mouthwash tablets, both of which are delicious, and come in recyclable plastic tubs which last a lot longer than a tube of toothpaste..
Bring Your Own Cutlery
If you are planning to buy any food from a market, or even some restaurants, its handy to bring your own cutlery as, chances are, they will give you complimentary plastic ones. The feeling of frustration of going an entire day without touching any single-use plastic, only to have it brought to you with your dinner is unbearable. Be prepared and don’t let it ruin your hard work!
Dispose of Your Rubbish Correctly
Sometimes there will come a time when we need to buy plastic. We’re not perfect and there are times when being on a budget means we are torn between saving the money and saving the planet. We try our best to do a bit of both, as we selfishly love travelling and want our journey to continue, however we want to try and do this leaving nothing but footprints.
Times when we do make a plastic purchase, we try our very best to find a recycling bin, even if this means holding onto rubbish for a while longer. Unfortunately, during some of our recent trip around Europe we have really struggled to recycle. This may just have been down to being in the wrong area, who knows. Again, we can only do our best.
If recycling is not an option, then another is to stuff all your single-use plastic into a plastic bottle. The bottle can no longer be recycled, however by compacting the single use plastic we are reducing its volume and making it less likely to be lost to the sea.
The swaps we have made to our lifestyle has not been overly expensive, or difficult. In fact, if anything, some of our swaps have saved us money! Let us know in the comments below what swaps you have made, or if you have been inspired to make some changes. There’s no time like the present to make a change and the little changes all add up to a big difference! Let’s work together to protect our beautiful planet.
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