Making gradual but hopefully permanent changes in the home to support a zero waste lifestyle is challenging but thankfully there are countless places you can visit to learn how to best make these changes. Today however, I want to discuss an area that is not thought of so commonly. This blog is about traveling while incorporating some ideas to stay zero waste, even when not at home.
My personal experience is packing everything in plastic containers and/or buying items either at the airport or at my destination then throwing any left over items before my trip back home. Some of the most common challenges are due to the airport security requirements. We can only take small amounts of liquids (3.4 oz, basically a small travel sized bottle), the containers must be durable so they don’t break from being thrown around in the airport, they should be leak proof and preferably light weight. On top of all these specifications, the items must also pass security checkpoints.
Depending on the destination these might not even be a problem hence travel swap #1. If you are visiting family, chances are you don’t have to take body care items. Or swap #2: if you are going to be staying in an hotel then you might not mind using the small items provided for you. However, there are exceptions perhaps you have sensitive skin and must use your own body care items. Also, hotels will discard these items whether they were used or not.
Zero Waste Travel Swaps
Therefore, I’ve said it before and will say it again, we must think creatively to come up with solutions. As I was brainstorming suggestions the main focus was, what can I replace, reduce, or recycle? I began by thinking the pros and cons of glass vs plastic vs tin cans or maybe some other material entirely (my boyfriend suggested wood, I was thinking silicone). It just depends on what the purpose of the container will be, what is it meant to hold.
Then I thought about the most common items I carry, mostly liquids. I came to the conclusion of zero waste swap #3: if applicable trade liquids for solids e.g. shampoo for shampoo bars, body wash for a bar of soap, lotion for lotion bars. This also gets rid of the heavy and/or bulky containers. Personally, I wrap my shampoo & body bars in a washcloth. If I do need to store a liquid, I consider which material is best this is my travel swap #4.
Glass is heavy but not environmentally damaging, plastic is light but isn’t always leak proof, tin can oxidize with certain ingredients. Tin cans come in different shapes and sizes, my boyfriend said he would be willing to store toothpaste into one of these instead of buying a small tube of paste. I encourage you to use what you have already before going out and spending more money on something that perhaps you don’t really need.
Zero Waste Travel Swaps #5 – #10
- taking your own snacks and if possible making them at home e.g. homemade granola bars
- download your plane ticket to your phone instead of printing it
- dress in layers
- lower the thermostat at home while you are away
- Let your fridge empty as you get closer to the day you leave, compost what you know will spoil by the time you get back
- Pack multipurpose items and reusable items
You know your travel routine best, with time and the ideas I mentioned above you’ll be able to identify changes that are best suited for yourself.
I limit myself to 2 carry on bags, I pack a pair of jeans and mostly tops because a nice pair of jeans will go with pretty much anything. I wear my jewelry as well and make use of my pockets for small items e.g. my chap stick, hand sanitizer, cell phone or other small frequently used items to free up space in my purse. Honestly though, the bulk of my luggage are crafting supplies or gifts I have made that i am going to deliver.
Let me know if you have any other ideas, suggestions, or comments, I’d love to hear!