Is zero waste travel possible?

Is zero waste travel possible?

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If you are considering travelling, then you might be wondering whether zero-waste travel is possible.  Is it one or the other?  Or can you achieve both?


We spent 9 months travelling around the world as a family of four, and before we left we were very much zero-waste.


On our travels, we learnt a lot about how other countries do and don’t manage their waste.  We also learnt a few tricks to make zero waste travel life easier.

Things to consider

There are some parts of travelling where it is almost impossible to avoid creating waste.  It is the same at home really, but when travelling it can feel even harder.


The aim of the game is not to be perfect.  The trick is to be the best you be in the situation you are in.  What might work in our country might not work in others.  The same goes depending on your style of travel too.


Zero waste travel is much easier in Europe, where you can travel overland and take your favourite zero waste products with you.  If you are travelling in Southeast Asia or South America and need to take regular flights then it is going to be more challenging.


The struggles

Our main struggle when it came to zero waste travel was with drinkable water.  In many countries the tap water was undrinkable so the only choice available to us was bottled water.


On top of that, because we were moving around a lot we found ourselves getting food on the go.  This notoriously bad for unnecessary packaging all over the world it seems.


Finally, we found that flying meant that we had to regularly reassess what we were travelling with.  Occasionally, we would buy some luxuries and then realise that we couldn’t take them with us.  We got better at it, but it was a learning curve.


What you can take with you

There are a few things that you can take with you that will minimise your waste on the way.  I’ve written a whole post about this, but I’ll summarise here for you.


A water bottle was fantastic.  Where we could drink the tap water, this meant that we didn’t have to buy bottles at all.  When we couldn’t drink it, we would buy bigger bottles fill our own bottles each day.


We also took with us our reusable shopping bags.  When we could go to markets, we could grab fresh unpackaged produces and put them straight in our bags eliminating plastics and waste entirely.


Toiletries in solid form were a real help too.  We took bars of soap, shampoo, conditioner and deodorant.  This meant that we didn’t have to buy bottles that were thrown away every time we had to grab a flight.

Minimise the effects

It is going to be different from whatever you do at home.  It is likely that is isn’t going to be as successful as at home either.  What you can aim for is to minimise the effects and reduce your waste as much as possible as you go.

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

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