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Environmental Impact Of Travel
Zero waste travel is now becoming one of the best solution for travelling. Travelling often accumulates a lot of waste; single-use plastics, stickers, tickets, receipts, individual use products and so on. Here we are trying to carry everything we own on our backs or in our suitcases and yet we are constantly amassing items we don’t necessarily want or need. Travelers often end up inadvertently trashing the very place they came to see – so there needs to be a movement towards zero waste travel.
Most of these items are used once and then tossed ‘away.’ But there is no away. Away usually means being buried in a landfill where it will last forever, contaminating the environment around it. Or it ends up in the ocean, where it will (again) last forever or eventually over hundreds of years break down to small microplastics.
It’s a big world, but many of us flock to the same places. Of the 1.4 billion international tourist trips that people took in 2017, half a billion of them were to the 300 most popular cities, according to the World Tourism and Travel Council. Shanghai, Beijing, Paris, New York and Orlando were the five most popular destinations.
Many destinations have already made efforts to combat overtourism. In August, the Italian government announced it would be rerouting cruise ships from the central part of Venice, and earlier this year Venice council voted to impose an entrance fee for visitors to help pay for the upkeep of the much-visited World Heritage Site. Amsterdam removed its iconic “I Am Amsterdam” sign due to overcrowding in 2018. The city has also limited Airbnb rentals and has banned new tourist shops from opening in the city centre. Many traveller is searching for a guide to zero waste travel, too.
Tourism is also one of the greatest environmental threats, above all due to the impact of air travel. Aviation accounts for up to 75% of the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions, while coach and rail travel amount to 13% and accommodation approximately 20%.
In 2017 there were 1.3 billion international tourist arrivals globally, of which the majority (57%) travelled by air, the most polluting form of transport per passenger-kilometre. With the aviation industry producing 2% of human-induced carbon dioxide emissions and accounting for 859 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2017, one of the best things we can do for the environment is to start taking fewer flights. Beside, zero waste travel is also a useful solution for those who love travelling.
Eco-friendly Products For Zero Waste Travel
Although travel generally has a bad impact on this dear planet of ours, there are ways you can get a zero waste travelling in a more eco-friendly way. One of the easiest things you can do to reduce your environmental impact when traveling is to switch to more sustainable products.
1. Reusable Water Bottle
A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021. Switching out buying bottled water for a refillable and reusable bottle is one of the simplest and most effective changes you can make to do your bit for the planet. This way is also the easiest way if you are thinking about zero waste travelling.
2. Antibacterial and Odourless Clothing
Did you know that two-thirds of the environmental impact of a piece of clothing is created at the consumer phase? So opting for clothes which don’t need to be washed as much not only saves you the hassle and cost of laundry whilst travelling, but it’s also bloody great for the environment too.
3. Reusable Shopping Bag
A small reusable shopping bag that folds away will save you having to resort to plastic bags. These bags are always handy when travelling for carrying extra stuff or sorting packing. Want to get a zero waste travelling? This simple thing will help you a lot!
4. Menstrual Cup
If you menstruate I would highly recommend getting a menstrual cup, these things are the best travel companions. This reusable cup will save you having to worry about tampons; you will never run out again and never be in an awkward situation where you have nowhere to dispose of your items.
5. Organic Suncream
You may be protecting your skin but did you know that you are not protecting the environment whilst wearing suncream? Suncream is filled with nasty chemicals that are especially toxic for marine life if you are swimming in the sea whilst travelling. Opting for a natural SPF is a great way to be kind to your skin and to the environment.
6. Solar Charger
Our good ol’ friend the sun is an amazing source of energy – so let’s utilise it! Finding a reliable way of charging your tech can often be a major hassle for travellers. So why not tick two boxes at once with a solar charger that eases both yours and the planet’s problems? It requires just a few hours of daylight to power your devices for several charges.
7. Soap & Shampoo Bars
Instead of buying liquid soaps and shampoos in plastic bottles or using the single sized ones at hotels bring your own bars. Bar soap is easier to travel with and last longer. Better yet, get a soap that doubles as both a shampoo and body wash. Zero waste travel is not that hard!
8. Bamboo Toothbrush
Millions of plastic toothbrushes are discarded every year – not good news for the environment. Care for your teeth and the environment at once with an ever-popular bamboo toothbrush! Bamboo is highly sustainable because it is a fast-growing crop that requires no fertiliser and self-regenerates from its own roots. This means it doesn’t need to be replanted. Using a toothbrush will help you protect the environment while having a zero waste travelling.
The environmental impact of travel is immense and taking that on is a real challenge. But if that we all put in just a little bit more effort, we can really make a change!