“Our oceans should be full of water, not plastic”
While #plasticfreeJuly may be over, I hope we all can continue to find ways to reduce our plastic consumption all year long! I’ve rounded up 12 ways you can reduce your plastic usage both on your next vacation and at home. As someone who loves exploring the outdoors from glaciers in Argentina to snorkeling in Aruba, I am to reduce my plastic consumption where possible in hope of being able to see these destinations around our planet plastic-free now and years to come! I hope you are inspired to incorporate a few or all of these sustainable swaps in your life.
1. Bring your own reusable tote
Say no to plastic bags and bring your own reusable tote! Thankfully, reusable tote bags are small, light, and easy to pack! If there’s only a few items that you can carry or throw into your purse or backpack, you just saved the planet from another plastic bag! When I’m on the road, I keep a reusable tote in the outer pocket of my suitcase to always have it on have and it makes use of the flat, small space in my bag!
2. Opt for a glass bottle or an aluminum can
If you are purchasing a drink, opt to buy a glass bottle or aluminum can over a single-use plastic bottle. This way you can reduce your plastic consumption and the glass/aluminum will be way more likely to be recycled and have a lower impact to the environment
3. Pack your reusable water bottle
This one is obvious and there are endless options for a reusable water bottle! My favorites that are spill proof and have wide mouths are Swell and Hydroflask. Other options that are supposed to be great include LARQ and Klean Kanteen.
4. Opt for snacks NOT wrapped in plastic
For example fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, various items you can buy in the bulk section can help reduce plastic while you get your snack on! I’ve also gathered a list of my top 10 healthy travel-friendly snacks that are my go-tos at home and on the go!
5. Use reusable produce bags
When buying produce for your trip or weekly grocery run, remember to take some reusable produce bags! If you only have one item or the item has skin like avocados or bananas, skip the bag all together! You’ll wash it when you get home anyways.
6. Choose to enjoy your meal at the restaurant instead of getting takeout
Avoid the extra plastic bags, containers, cups, and utensils that come with takeout. Enjoy the moment and sit down at a restaurant when possible.
7. Bring reusable utensils
Light and travel friendly, I always pack my reusable utensils! If you get takeout, let the restaurant know you won’t be needing those silly plastic utensils wrapped in more single use plastic.
8. Skip the straw!
Another well talked about eco-friendly switch that can be applied on the go and in your everyday life. You can skip the straw all together, opt for a paper one, or use the straw that probably came in your reusable utensil kit.
9. Return your hotel key
Okay this one is only while traveling, but still important to mention! This tiny plastic key card may seem small, but the cards can be reused by the hotel so consider helping the planet from another plastic card in the landfill, help the hotel reduce their footprint and costs, and avoid cluttering up your bag and having to throw it away later anyways.
10. Choose more eco-friendly restaurants
Some places offer food in plastic or Styrofoam containers, while others offer their food in compostable containers. Seek out the more eco-friendly options in the area and reduce your plastic usage!
11. Pack a reusable sandwich bag
Avoid single-use plastic bags and invest in a usable sandwich bag like Stasher bags! They are 1000% road trip approved, lightweight, perfect for on the go, and storing food in the fridge at home. I’ve used them for years now and use them literally every single day, highly recommend purchasing some Stasher bags.
12. Wear your clothes more than once, if possible
If you are able to reduce the amount of laundry, you will reduce the amount of microplastics that go into the ocean! If you didn’t know, your clothes shed microplastics every time you wash your clothes and by simply wearing your clothing items more than once you can reduce the amount of laundry you have whether you are on a trip or at home. For more information about microplastics in our laundry, check out coraball.com! I personally don’t own one yet, but they do a great job at giving a concise overview of the problem and how they are addressing the microplastic issue with their product.
I hope this list of various ways you can reduce your plastic usage and consumption will inspire you to apply these alternatives on vacation and at home. Happy and safe travels everyone!