Can we Travel Without Plastic?

Everyone Hates Single-use Plastic…

…But it’s hard to avoid. Especially when you’re travelling.  No one likes to see litter on holiday, least of all on the beach, or floating around in the sea, and since David Attenborough opened our collective eyes to the effects of discarded plastic on wildlife, we like it even less. Despite this, it’s estimated that the equivalent of one whole garbage truck of plastic waste enters the ocean every single minute and as a result there isn’t a beach on earth that isn’t polluted by plastic.  

Cheap, lightweight and durable; polystyrene and petrol-based plastics have become synonymous with our convenience lifestyles and are now very hard to avoid, particularly when you’re away from home.  A medium sized hotel can easily get through half a million individual single-use plastic items each year, much of it just out of habit or because hotel managers think it’s what guests want.  These include things that many would consider excessive, or even unnecessary, like plastic cocktail stirrers, styrofoam toothpicks and even plastic strips wrapped around toilet bowls, proudly declaring them hygienically clean!

Travel Without Plastic works with hotels and destinations around the world to cut single-use plastic and are now calling on travellers to do their part.

Avoiding single-use plastic when you travel takes a bit of planning but there are some easy steps you can take:

  • Cut the plastic in your luggage. There are plenty of solid shampoos, conditioners, bodywash bars and deodorants available now, that come plastic free. As a bonus they take up less space in your luggage and don’t count as liquids – super useful if you are travelling with hand baggage only.
  • If you do take plastic containers with you on your trip, take your empties home to recycle – many destinations have poor recycling or may not even have even waste collection. If facilities are better at home, that’s where you should take your plastic waste.
  • Invest in an on-the-go filter bottle like those from water2go and you’ll never need to pay for water again! You can fill one of these from a muddy puddle in Mongolia and get perfectly filtered water, that is safe to drink. They’re also great for filling up from sinks in hotels and airports, so you’ve always got water on the go. We’ve even arranged a discount for you. Use code TWP15 to get 15% off your order!
  • Take a couple of reusable shopping bags with you. Everyone shops on holiday, even if it’s just for souvenirs. Having a reusable bag handy means you can say no to the plastic bags offered over-enthusiastically in all too many stores.
  • A reusable coffee cup is another essential and can earn you discounts on the price of coffee in many coffee shops these days. Folding cups like this Pokito are particularly handy for travel
  • Say no to plastic straws! If you like to use a straw take a reusable one like this one from  Surfers Against Sewage. Hold it up when you order a drink, or just say ‘no straw thanks’ to help break the common bartender habit of automatically reaching for the single-use plastic option.
  • Let businesses know what you think. Customer feedback can really help drive positive change. If you come across excessive or unnecessary use of single-use plastic let the hotel you are staying in or company you are travelling with know they need to do better.


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By Rachel McCaffery from Travel Without Plastic