While traveling by air isn’t the most eco-friendly means of transportation, sometimes it’s the only viable option to get us where we need to go in a highly globalized world. However, even if you do travel by plane, there are still ways to reduce the environmental impact of your trip (that go beyond buying carbon offsets).
With modern technology, you don’t need to print your boarding pass. Every airline has an app that makes it easy to download any travel document you may need to board, or at the very least you can request that your passes be emailed or sent via text.
Even things like hotel confirmations and routes to your destination can be downloaded or saved in a screenshot so that you can access them without an internet connection. Plus, it’ll be more convenient to have them all in one digital folder rather than dealing with the mess of real paper all jumbled up in your bag. Just remember to keep your device charged.
Instead of relying on those tiny plastic-wrapped peanuts or vending machine bags of chips, plan to bring your own snacks. You can even bring food through security and onto the plan, as long as you follow TSA’s guidelines.
To ensure you’re wasting as little as possible, prepare your food items in reusable containers and resealable bags. Before packing fresh produce like fruits or veggies, double-check that you’re not flying internationally or to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands.
Bring a water bottle
Protect the earth and your wallet by bringing a reusable water bottle that you can fill right after the security checkpoint. If you’ve ever had to buy a water bottle at the airport, then you know that the prices are extravagant anyway, so it just makes sense to spare yourself the painful fees and plastic waste.
Transfer liquid personal care items to small containers
Yes, we know those tiny travel-sized toothpaste tubes and cute shampoo containers are super cute, but they’re also a source of unnecessary plastic waste. Instead, invest in reusable travel-sized containers so that you can refill your personal care items from the regular-sized bottles you have at home. These can be equally adorable and much more eco-friendly. Just remember to label the bottles to avoid confusion once you get to your destination.
Switch to solid shampoos, conditioners, and soaps
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of pouring liquid products into reusable travel-sized containers, a quick fix is to switch to personal care bars. You can get shampoo, conditioner, body wash, facial cleansers, and regular soap at most grocery stores and pharmacies. Mouthwash and toothpaste tablets along with lotion bars are becoming more common as well!
Put together a zero-waste travel kit
Make your zero-waste lifestyle organized and convenient by prepping a little kit to make all your items easily accessible. This will depend on your own needs, but great options to stack your zero-waste travel kit include cloth napkins, reusable cutlery, reusable straws, and resealable food containers.
If you know you’ll be doing some shopping at the duty-free, perhaps think about packing some reusable shopping bags, too.
Say no to single-use items
Depending on your flight, the cabin crew might offer you a variety of single-use items, ranging from prepackaged snacks, meals, earbuds in plastic packaging, or drinks in plastic cups. Instead of mindlessly accepting these items, politely refuse and dig into the zero-waste snacks you’ve prepared for yourself. If you do forget a reusable water bottle, consider asking the flight attendant for a full bottle or can of whatever beverage you need. While they might not always accommodate your request, it’s certainly worth trying.