We all know that the biggest thing we can do to be more environmentally responsible is to REDUCE – which is why it is the first step in the green mantra, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” But, for many of us, that goes right out the window when it is time for vacation.
People who cloth diaper regularly will switch to disposables, just for the trip. People who can’t imagine using paper napkins at home will suddenly use only disposable items for the trip. People who usually carry their plastic bottles home in their cars to be recycled will suddenly throw away everything they don’t use.
People justify the impact for the convenience it breeds while travelling. Since they are regularly conscious, people feel that the short time while travelling isn’t as important. But reducing waste on vacation doesn’t have to be difficult.
Here are 10 tips to reduce waste while travelling:
10. If you have a child in diapers, pack extra wet bags or a diaper pail and continue cloth diapering. Utilize hotels or campgrounds with laundry facilities, borrow a friend or relative’s washing machine or go to a laundromat to wash every few days.
9. Ditch disposable tableware and stock a picnic basket of travel dishes and utensils.
8. Stock wash cloths and a bottle of water in your vehicle. If you don’t have one for other wet cloth items handy, keep a wet bag or a collapsible nylon bag handy for the wet wipes. This will replace paper napkins, paper towels, and disposable diaper wipes.
7. Don’t buy individually packaged snacks for the trip. Instead, buy regular sized snacks and repackage them in reusable containers.
6. Pack reusable water bottles and refill them instead of tossing plastic ones.
5. Cook your own food while travelling, instead of relying on fast food. Portable grills or camp stoves make this easy, affordable and fit easily in a vehicle.
4. String a clothesline and hang your laundry out to dry. Even in a hotel room, or at a campground, a simple line can be run to dry laundry easily.
3. Utilize electronic maps via a gps unit, laptop or a cell phone instead of purchasing new paper maps or printing out directions.
2. Compost while travelling, too. Keep a bucket with a lid in the vehicle, hotel room or campsite for food scraps. Ask around where you are vacationing to find an area to drop it off. While camping, the owner of our campground has allowed us to use her own personal compost. Relatives have let us use theirs. Whole Foods has composting receptacles in store.
1. Find recycling drop off centers and drop off recyclables instead of sending them to the landfill. While in a hotel room or camping, keep an extra receptacle handy just for recyclables.
What else do you do to reduce your waste while traveling?