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Woman at airport | | © Pixabay
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8 Easy Ways to Reduce Waste While Travelling

Picture of Richard Franks
Freelance Travel & Music Writer
Updated: 1 May 2018
Most of us have heard of or seen the damage that plastic can do to our oceans and its wildlife. With the manufacture and use of single-use plastic at an all-time high, there’s no time like the present to take preventative measures to reduce waste while travelling. Here are eight easy tips on how to do so.

Purchase a re-usable water bottle

Single-use plastic is causing a real strain on some of our beautiful oceans. The next time you buy a bottle of water, think: “Do I have a bottle I could re-use?” Steel or hard plastic bottles can be purchased fairly cheaply, and can be re-used for years. If you do need to purchase a single-use plastic bottle, try to re-use it as many times as you can. You can bring empty water bottles through airport security, and some airports have free water taps.

Rubbish collected from a beach
Rubbish collected from a beach | | © Pixabay

Even better – buy a clean filtered one

Water to Go‘s clean water filtration system bottles are a must-have for travel, particularly if you’re going somewhere where it isn’t safe to drink tap water. Each bottle is fitted with a filter that, when filled up, pushes clean water through to the main part of the bottle. This ensures safe water can be enjoyed wherever you are.

Buy a re-usable straw

A lot of bars and restaurants are now ditching plastic straws for paper ones, or none at all. Always opt for no plastic or buy stainless steel straws, which can be re-used for years.

Shop at local farmers’ markets

Supporting local trade is a must when on your travels, and most cities hold regular farmers’ markets. At these you will be able to stock up on some of the best fresh produce around, and most of the fruit and veg will come without packaging. Handy for a quick snack on the go, which leads nicely on to our next tip…

Local farmers market
Local farmers market | © Pixabay

Bring empty Tupperware or a mason jar with you

If you are serious about saving waste and are visiting a farmers’ market, you’d do well to bring a couple of empty jars or Tupperware boxes with you. They can be used in so many ways, from storing your snacks for the day or leftovers from a restaurant meal to using instead of throwaway plates.

Use re-usable bottles for toiletries

Not only are “travel size” toiletries a complete rip-off, the bottles and packaging they come in cause more waste. Simply pick up a few travel-size reusable bottles and fill them with your favourite shampoos, conditioners and sun creams instead. This will save you money as you’re likely to have these products at home anyway, and you’ll also be throwing less away at the end of your trip.

Do you really need to print your tickets?

Some airlines and travel companies do not require you to physically print off tickets anymore. Check with the companies you’re travelling with to see whether they have an app, so you can just show the ticket on your phone. Ryanair, for example, allows you to show a QR code on a mobile device at the gate, and some train companies in Europe allow you to purchase your train tickets on your phone.

Ryanair doesn’t require paper tickets
Ryanair doesn’t require paper tickets | | © Pixabay

Ladies – try a menstrual cup

A menstrual cup eliminates the need to buy pricey female sanitary products and also enormously reduces waste. The small silicone cups cost around £20 and can last for many years. Think of all the money spent on single-use sanitary products that you’ll save each month!