It can be difficult to prevent waste while traveling. Here are some tips to help you cut down on waste while you are on the road:

  • Download travel tickets on your phone instead of printing them. You’ll save paper and will be able to skip the check-in line!
  • Buy or make your own luggage tags before you head to the airport.
  • Instead of buying magazines for entertainment, consider downloading new music or podcasts, bringing a kindle or tablet, or looking for second-hand book options.
  • One million plastic cups are used on American airline flights every six hours. Bring your own Mason jar or reusable cup instead. You can also pack your own bulk bin snacks to reduce packaging waste. Download the Zero Waste Home Bulk App to help you find places to sustainably shop in new destinations.
  • Create your own “zero waste traveling kit” to reduce waste from travel-sized toiletries. Click here for ideas on what to add to your travel kit.

Air Travel
The use of disposable items has become a large part of air travel which can be frustrating if you are trying to get to zero waste. All those disposable bags, wrappers and containers, plastic-wrapped headphones, and blankets, and more can really add up to a lot of waste. While many airlines are recycling some of the more common materials, recycling is not as comprehensive as it is at home, and compost is very rare. Airline companies give out plenty of things that are neither recyclable or compostable and that is why the rule of thumb for air travel waste reduction is “REFUSE.” Refuse those disposable bags of snacks, headphones, and any other items you may be offered. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean there isn’t a cost…. consider the cost to the environment for landfilling it.

Pack to Reduce Waste
You can reduce waste by packing essentials for the flight beforehand. Bring an empty reusable bottle or cup but remember the security liquid restriction. Did you know you can still bring food on a plane? It’s true, so bring your own snacks or meal if you need one. Since many airports and airplanes do not offer recycling and most do not come with compost (organics) service, take this into consideration as well. For more details, check out the Transportation Security Agency (T.S.A.) rules.

Consider packing a reusable box/container to store extra food and reusable utensils for use during your trip. Instead of using disposable luggage tags which get thrown away after your travels, bring your own luggage tag. A custom tag can make it easier to identify your bag even if you are not checking it in.

More on Zero Waste Travel
If you want to find out more about going zero waste while traveling, check out the website Trash is for Tossers, run by Lauren Singer, that has a great blog with Zero Waste Travel Tips and more. Singer says, “Trash is for Tossers is my attempt. It will document my Zero Waste journey and show that leading a Zero Waste lifestyle is simple, cost-effective, timely, fun, & entirely possible for everyone and anyone. If I can do it, anyone can!”

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