Travel with responsibility and leave nothing but your footprints by reducing single-use plastic on your trips.
What’s single-use plastic and why you have to care?
Bottled water, Styrofoam containers for take-away, straws, plastic tea and coffee cups, nylon bags, and literally anything made of plastic that you use only once and throw away are single-use plastic.
The convenience of modern life makes people unconscious of the consequences from convenient materials such as plastics. It takes one bottled of water alone 500 million years to biodegrade. Imagine every minute, there are millions of plastic products thrown away to the environment. Statistics say that shoppers use 500 billion single-use plastic products per year. If you collected them and put them end on end on earth surface, it would cover roughly 4,200 times of earth circumference. If it’s not impressive enough, 100 thousands of marine die a year because of plastic pollution and still going on.
Many travelers might ask why they have to care because they only travel to the destination for a short time, they don’t live there forever. Well, trash litter has a karma. If the plastic trash is affecting the ocean, the water source, the soil, you know that your life will be threatened with food poison and water pollution. Also, when the ecosystem is not balanced due to the impact of the severe damage of marine creatures, the earth will not be a safe place anymore. In brief, the life you have today might not be the same for your grandchildren if you insist that the responsibility for environment protection is not yours; they might have to live on a pile of trash.
Why recycle is not the best solution?
Many people may think that recycle is the ideal solution for the single-use plastics. Indeed, it only helps maintain the duration of the plastic on earth. If people keep using and recycling, the number of plastics existed on earth still increase.
In addition, recycling is not so popular as you might think. There’s only 9% of plastics used ever recycled across the world and over the years. Even though the rate is going up, it will requires significant resources to recycle a single product. There are not many countries in the world can’t afford the technology of recycling without harming the environment once again. Sadly, majority of the plastics then are buried, left on landfills, or float in the ocean.
Therefore, it’s recommended people reduce using single-use plastics at first. However, it’s really hard to disregard a convenient life with many products made of plastics, you name it, a cup a coffee in the morning, a pen, a phone case, a take-away pack, etc. That’s why I’m helping you with tips to give up on single-use plastics and save the planet.
1. Find a cause or motivation
Have you watched a video about how marine animals starved to death or were saved from being death by plastics stuck into their stomach, nose or neck? If not, go watch one of them, you will yourself feel hurtful for those creatures.
Moreover, you can join one of many courses about environment protection, such as Earth Day Network, This is Plastics to get the knowledge of negative impacts plastics have on our life and what you can do to reduce them. You should be aware of what are the right things to do and what are common mistakes to follow to avoid reverse effects from your own efforts to save the planet.
2. Ask for no straw when you order a drink
Using a tiny straw for a drink sounds harmless, but this plastic straw is less likely to be recycled and might cause death for animals when it pollutes the ocean.
Most of the restaurants, coffee shops will automatically use a straw for every drink. So you should ask them for no straw when you order. If you must use one, you can get a reusable one; metal straws are very popular on the market now.
3. Carry reusable water bottle
Bring the bottle with you all the time because you might need a drink any time. It can be either metal or plastic but it should be reusable and safe. In many cities in the world, you can refill the bottle with free tap water from water fountains in the street. Hanoi city recently also set up many public clean water taps to serve tourists and its citizen. Otherwise, you can also have boiled water from your hotel. Imperial Hotel & Spa provides electric kettle that the guests can use to boil water to save for later use.
4. Get a reusable compact
Not only water bottle, you should also get a reusable utensils, including knife, fork, spoon, chopsticks, bowl and cup for yourself, especially for camping or hiking trip. You can easily find a set from online purchase. Collapsible bowls and cups are the wise choice if you find it troublesome to carry them around. For dishwasher, you can utilize a travel size or any small empty cosmetic or medicine bottle for containing. Using your own utensils can also help prevent being infected from contagious diseases if you’re worried about the hygiene standard in other countries.
4. Cut out take-away food and beverage by single-use plastic
In the digital world these days, food delivery and shipping apps are developing significantly due to its convenience and pricing. It’s so easy to get a hot meal just by a few taps on your phone. But containers for take-away food are hardest form of single-use plastic to recycle out of other disposal products. Even though many take-away containers are made of recyclable papers, the huge number of these products disposed everyday will cause pollution over the years. If they are not classified and collected properly, it will end up in the environment and the ocean. Not to mention, many of the “paper” containers and cup contain a portion of nylon and plastic to prevent leakage and absorbance of food and drinks. At the bottom line, environment-friendly single-use products can still betray its own cause.
If you would like to take away your leftover, make sure you bring your own reusable container.
5. Refill travel-size bottles and bring your own toiletries
You should not buy a new small-size containers set every time you travel. Firstly, it’s not friendly to the environment. Secondly, it’s very unnecessary. You can keep the bottles from the previous trips and refill them for your following trips, as long as possible. In addition, you can also utilize empty cosmetics containers and bottles. Many of them have smart packaging, such as anti-leaking caps, 2-way faucets to open and close, anti-shocking bottles, which are very suitable for traveling.
Bringing your own toothbrush, toothpaste, hair cap and razor, or reuse bath towels also help reduce your carbon footprint and save the energy and resources.