True zero-waste travel is impossible. (And we won’t even start on how detrimental to the environment flying is!)
With planning ahead, however, we can at least limit the amount of waste created when we’re away from our homes and regular schedule.
Here’s what to pack to for zero-waste travel.
Reusable water bottle
This should be a given but we’re always surprised by how many people we see with single-use plastic water bottles. Remember your own bottle to fill up with water (or other beverages) on the go. If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, invest in a reusable thermos or coffee cup to cut down on disposable takeaway cups and lids.
Beeswax wraps & food containers
When you’re travelling, you’re likely eating out and buying food to go more often than when you’re at home. Stash some snacks or quick meals to go in eco-friendly beeswax wraps, reusable cotton produce bags and reusable food containers (tin ones tend to be light!). When travelling, we also rely on our Waxed Baggees, which are our beeswax wraps in bag form! They store and protect your food like a beeswax wrap, but you can stuff more into them.
When flying, refuse the offered beverages or pre-packaged snacks and enjoy ones that you’ve prepared in advance.
Reusable shopping bag
Throwing one or two thin reusable shopping bags into your purse or suitcase doesn’t take up much space and will save on disposable, single-use shopping bags whether you’re picking up groceries or souvenirs.
Whether you’re travelling by car, bus, boat or plane, you’re likely to be getting takeaway food at some point, which often means disposable packaging and plastic cutlery. Remember to request no plastic forks, spoons or knives with your order then use your own. Bamboo or light metal utensils don’t weigh much and can be used again and again. Don’t forget a couple of reusable straws (like these bamboo ones) if you can’t live without them or have kids!
Soap, shampoo & conditioner from home
Travel-sized toiletries may be cute and complimentary hotel amenities can be tempting, but they also reinforce an unsustainable product ecosystem with small quantities of soap, shampoo and conditioner packaged in disposable plastic. They’re also completely unnecessary. Before you travel, simply put small amounts of your usual toiletries in small, reusable containers to take with you. (Pro tip: we use an old beeswax wrap to wrap up our bar of soap when travelling. The wrap doesn’t stick to the soap or get slimy!)
Eco-friendly toothpaste tablets that come in reusable or recyclable containers are a smart, more sustainable choice over conventional tubes of toothpaste any day but especially when flying…since the tablets aren’t a paste you can pop them in your carry-on! Find SuperBee’s incredible Eco Toothpaste Tabs here (you’ll love them!). While you’re at it, make the switch to eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes as well.
Don’t use the provided – and plastic-wrapped – headphones an aeroplane provides. Use your own instead!
Large scarf or light blanket
For long journeys, especially on flights, skip using the packaged blanket provided and make do with a large scarf or light blanket you bring from home. You be cutting down on plastic and the resources used to launder, plus your own will just feel nicer anyway.
Find some of our travel-friendly zero-waste products here and let us know your own zero-waste travel tips in the comments below!