Traveling Zero Waste No Matter the Destination

zero waste travel

The travel bug hits a lot of Canadians in the winter. After months of short days and cool temperatures, we feel the need to fly the coop and relieve some of the cabin fever (or frostbite) we have been experiencing at home. And while travel is a wonderful way to relax and gather inspiration, it's also poses it's own challenges when trying to maintain a #zerowaste lifestyle.


The real key to living zerowaste is 1) being aware and 2) being prepared. If you are reading this post, you have at least brushed on number 1, but remember that the place you are traveling tomight be lacking. And it's much easier to be prepared when you are living at home and have an orientation of your day to day. When you have limited baggage and living adventurously, it's not as easy.


So here are some of our tips for keeping #zerowaste in your travels!


 Find "bar" alternatives for your toiletries.

Traveling with liquids like soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, etc., is not only precarious, but all come in containers (most of them plastic). Avoid issues at airport security and wet luggage by replacing what you can with bars and powders. There are now shampoo and conditioner bars, soap bars, toothpaste powder, and even solid colognes and lotions.

 BYOC for Food & Drink

"Bring Your Own Containers" for food and drink for your travels. Some basics include a straw, cutlery, a drinking vessel, and some sort of container that could hold leftovers or street food to avoid using disposable plates and containers. Even if you are going to an all-inclusive resort, many of them offer plastic cups at certain bars, and a reusable cup would be a much more "earth-friendly" alternative, especially as you look out into the ocean. Maybe someone else will be inspired?!

 Bring Your Own Bag

You might want to do some shopping while you're out exploring. And that's when a string bag, or a tote that folds small, really shines. You can fit a lot inside, it's light, and when you aren't using it, it doesn't take up much room or weight in your suitcase. It can also double up as a beach bag or even something for gathering sea shells during the low tide.

 Look Up Sorting Policies Before You Go

Before you leave for your destination, research the policies about garbage disposal. Take pictures of the different signs and explanations so that you will know how to sort garbage at your destination. If you are visiting a place that doesn't seem to have developed policies, make a point of suggesting it at your hotel or place of lodging. You never know, maybe your concern will spark an internal program.


When choosing souvenirs to bring back home, continue to look through the zerowaste lens. Is it repurposed? Second-hand?  Is it something that supports the zerowaste life? How is it packaged? What is it made of?

If you challenge yourself this way, you're more likely to end up with something that you will actually like and use, not something that will eventually end up at a dump?


When traveling, there's a good chance that you'll be offered some "offenders", be that on the trip or at your destination. From airplane food wrapped in plastic through little shampoo bottles at your hotel, remember that you have the right to refuse these. This of course is easier to do when you come with your own zero waste alternatives, like snacks packed in stainless steel containers or your own reusable cutlery.





In addition to these tips, there are others that are location-specific, and depend on the method of transportation. Remember that waste is in part the legacy that you leave, so think again before traveling the world and leaving a negative impact on the places you visit.


How are you planning to travel this year? How are you going to keep it zerowaste?


Image via: The Rogue Ginger

Green livingTravelZero waste

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published