6 ways you can be plastic free when you travel

written by Amy Foyster June 14, 2018
girl in front of waterfall

In recent years, the war on single-use plastic and the negative impact it has on the environment has really amped up. 

With Plastic Free July approaching, as a responsible travel company, we’re passionate about helping people reduce their plastic use when travelling, and at home. Here are some tips for how you can tread lightly when travelling.

1. Accessorise your shopping bag

shopping in Turkish market

Market shopping made easy with reusable bags. Image by April Love Creative.

We all walk around wearing our favorite clothing brands, shoes and watches, so don’t be seen carrying a drab, throwaway plastic bag. When you’re travelling you’ll likely have a bunch of stuff to carry around (including shopping!) so you may as well, carry a beautifully made, reusable shopping bag.

2. Ditch the plastic bottled water

In a foreign country, you won’t always be able to drink the tap water, which can lead to buying a lot of bottled water. But you don’t have to. Pack a reusable bottle (we recommend metal so your drinking water stays cool) and either sterilise the tap water with a Steripen or similar, or buy water in bulk and re-fill your metal bottle every day.


3. Treat yourself to a coffee at a cafe

travellers drinking coffee

Relax for a moment. Image by April Love Creative.

Most types of disposable coffee cups are not recyclable or compostable. So, if you want to grab a coffee when travelling, use it as an excuse to relax at a cafe and watch the locals go about their business. It’s also a great opportunity to make friends with fellow travellers.

4. Say no to straws

No holiday is complete without the occasional cocktail or coconut, but they are almost always served with plastic straws. Say no, but if you can’t go without, pack your own stainless steel straw in your bag. Same goes for plastic cutlery and plates – where possible, ask for a ceramic alternative.


5. Go natural

Monkey eating a banana

Yum! Image by Lando Argentieri.

When you’re a tourist on the go, it can be tempting to grab plastic packets of chips or other snack food when the munchies hit. But, it will be better for the environment (and your waistline) if you grab a natural snack like a banana that has no plastic wrapping attached. And, you’ll have more energy for sightseeing too – win/win.

6. Pack sustainable toiletries

Unfortunately, plenty of plastic toothbrushes end up in the ocean, damaging the ecosystem and harming the sea creatures who live there. But the good news is, there are a variety of recyclable alternatives out there, including wood or post-consumer recycled polypropylene. Something to think about when you’re packing.

Want to help contribute to the war or waste? Learn more about Rehash Trash, a Cambodian social enterprise that recycles roadside rubbish into homewares and fashion items.

Hero image by Zahra Saleki.

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