01 Oct 20

Green travel – goodbye single-use plastics

Birte Moliere Community

Here are the RAW Travel team’s green travel hacks for saying goodbye to single-use plastics.

Only 9% of the nine billion tonnes of plastic the world has ever produced have been recycled! Most ends up in landfills, parks, along trails, or in our oceans. Plastics take over 1000 years to decompose and eventually break into tiny pieces that will be around forever. Many hiking destinations don’t have the appropriate infrastructure to deal with waste, so it’s up to us to eliminate plastic as much as possible.

Single-use plastic waste has surged due to the COVID-19 pandemic – even more of a reason to consciously phase out any unnecessary items on your travels.

Here’s how:

  • Bring your own bag: pack a ‘stuff it’ type bag and carry it with you wherever you go. They are tiny and light and can easily go into your pocket or day pack. If you want to make even more of a difference, use it to collect rubbish along the way.
  • Hydrate in style: bring your favourite light-weight, insulated water bottle or bladder which keeps your water cool and eliminates the need for single use. If you need to, you can either boil water at your accommodation or bring a refillable bottle with a filter.
  • Re-usable straws: “it’s only one straw!” (said eight billion people). If you love straws, bring a re-usable one from home.
  • Toiletries: we get it, most of us want to bring our own but don’t want to carry full sized ones! Bringing small refillable containers rather than buying single use miniatures is the way to go. And if you must ever open a bottle provided in your hotel and you don’t finish it – take it with you, use it up and then use it for refills.
  • Prepare for take-aways: bring a knife/cutlery, reusable container and a bees wax wrap from home for snacks or leftover lunches. With a bit of prep, there’s no need for single-use takeaway items.
  • Snacks: if you’re bringing snacks from home, buy bulk instead of individual items wrapped in plastic. As long as they are in large unopened packets, they are ok to bring into most countries. Supplement with delicious local snacks.
  • Bring a waterproof bag instead of plastic ziplock/garbage bags to keep your gear dry.
  • ‘Wipe’ away: while wipes are super convenient, most are made of plastic and have a huge negative impact. They can clog up drains of our local accommodation providers or unnecessarily add to landfill. Embrace travel without wipes or use sustainable cotton wipes or a good old fashioned facewasher.

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