As an environmentalist, it might sound counterintuitive to get on a plane which significantly pollutes our environment. But for some of us, traveling comes with the job we have, or it’s the only way to see our distant family members, or we simply love exploring new places (guilty). While flying makes me feel a tad shameful, I do my best to avoid waste in several other ways like avoiding plastic packaging, keeping meat off my plate, or buying carbon offsets. Keep reading to find out ways to be a more mindful traveler for your next trip!
Ditch Single Use Plastic
One of the easiest ways to reduce your waste at the airport is to avoid single use plastic. That means ditching the plastic water bottles, straws, plastic forks, spoons and knives and even the packaged food items that are way too expensive to begin with. Bringing your own set of utensils, a metal straw, a reusable water bottle, and container filled with snacks is a great way to avoid waste at the airport and even saves you money!
Bring Your Own Snacks
When’s the last time you left the airport and thought, “Damn, that microwaved pasta they served on the plane was delicious and fairly priced.” I’m gonna guess never?
Did you know you can bring your own food through airport security even on international flights? Most solid foods such as dried fruit, nuts, bread, veggies etc. are a go. Here’s a list of foods you can bring on the TSA website.
Bringing your own snacks in a reusable container avoids unrecyclable plastic packaging that comes with expensive airport snacks.
Download Your Boarding Pass
This ones a no-brainer. Technology has definitely made everyday life a lot easier with the help of GPS, Yelp reviews and even downloading your plane ticket before your flight. You may be thinking, “one piece of paper? you really think that will save the planet?” To which I would respond, ” Maybe it won’t save the planet, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.” Imagine if everyone on your flight decided to download their ticket, how much of an impact that would make? Well we all have the power to make that choice 🙂
Bring a Reusable Bag
I don’t know about you, but I find that statistics really motivate me to make changes, like the fact that 160,000 plastic bags are used globally every second. And that plastic will only start degrading after 700 years and will only fully degrade in 1000 years. This means that all the plastic that has ever been produced has not degraded yet. You can clearly see the problem here.
A super easy solution that just requires some preparation and mindfulness is bringing your own bag with you! One you can use as a grocery bag, a day bag or even a carry on.
Offset Your Flight Emissions
Don’t get down on the fact that traveling comes with big time carbon emissions, instead look for ways to offset the exact amount of emissions you produced on your flight. Check out these websites that calculate the Co2 you produce on your trip and your offset options(think planting trees, investing in solar, and clean water projects):
Stick to Plant Based Foods
One of the biggest contributors to climate change is animal agriculture. A study conducted by environmental specialists at the World Bank concluded that livestock production is responsible for 51% of annual worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Meaning the production of meat and animal products is heating the planet more than the entire transportation sector combined. Interested in more reasons to go vegan? Click here.
A quarter-pound vegan Beyond Burger produces 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 46% less energy, 99.5% less water, and uses 93% less land compared to the production, packaging, and distribution of US beef.
Overall, plant-based foods produce significantly less greenhouse gas emissions than animal based foods.
Eco-Friendly Hygiene Products
There are so many plastic free alternatives to our soaps, shampoos, conditioners, etc.
To find plastic alternatives to your hygiene products read more here.
While this isn’t always possible, packing minimally helps alleviate the weight on the plane. The more weight the plane is carrying in luggage, the more fuel is needed to transport it all.
Traveling is made easier when you have less to worry about. Less stuff = more peace of mind.
Remember that traveling eco-consciously isn’t about perfectionism, it’s about the process and the enjoyment that comes with figuring out how to live a little more eco-consciously everyday!