Want to travel sustainably and reduce your carbon footprint while exploring the world? This post shares 8 practical tips for low-waste travel, including packing reusable essentials, supporting local businesses, and choosing eco-friendly accommodations. Whether it's a weekend getaway or a long-term trip, these eco-travel tips will help you make a positive impact and enjoy a more sustainable adventure.
Prefer Low Footprint Travel
Travel contributes to climate change by producing carbon emissions. Cars and planes have the largest carbon footprint, so consider more sustainable options like trains or bikes for shorter trips. When renting a car, choose electric, hybrid, or smaller models.
To dive into numbers, for example a domestic flight has a CO2 emission of 0,3 lbs (133 g), secondary effects from high altitude of 0,3 lbs (121 g), and a total of 0,6 lbs (254 g). If you want to see other transports, in the below chart, we will compare the different travel options by CO2 emissions.
Minimize Your Plastic Use
Travel generates a lot of plastic waste, and it's getting worse due to the pandemic. Some easy ways to reduce your waste is to bring a reusable water bottle, reusable tote bags, and bar shampoos and soaps. In this way, you can reduce your plastic use while traveling. You can also use your tote bags to store dirty laundry on the way back.
You can choose eco-friendly accommodations that use renewable energy sources and encourage guests to reduce their energy usage. Plus, you can minimize energy usage by turning off lights and electronics when you leave the room and using public transportation or biking instead of renting a car. This helps reduce your carbon footprint and saves money too!
Choose Eco-Friendly Airlines
Opting for eco-friendly airlines is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint while traveling. According to Our World in Data, aviation accounts for about 2.5% of global carbon emissions.
The sustainable practices of airlines include using more fuel-efficient aircraft, reducing plastic waste on flights, and offering carbon offset programs to passengers. Some airlines offer passengers the option to purchase carbon offsets during the booking process, while there are also third-party websites that allow you to calculate and purchase carbon offsets for your flights.
Support Local Businesses
When you travel, supporting local businesses can have a positive impact on the environment and local communities. Research by UNWTO shows that tourism can contribute to economic growth, but it can also cause environmental and social problems. By supporting local businesses, you can help promote sustainable economic development and reduce the negative impact of tourism on the environment.
Choose Eco-Friendly Accommodation
The hotel industry is responsible for a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and waste production. By choosing eco-friendly accommodations, such as hotels with green certifications or sustainable practices, you can help reduce the industry's impact on the environment and support sustainable tourism.
Prefer Natural and Biodegradable Products
Synthetic products often contain harsh chemicals that can harm the environment and pollute water sources. But, biodegradable products break down naturally over time, reducing waste in landfills and the environment. Plus, natural products are usually gentler on your skin and better for your overall health, making them a safer and healthier choice while traveling.
Going paperless while traveling can reduce paper waste and lower your carbon footprint. Use electronic boarding passes, maps, and travel guides, keep digital copies of important documents, and say no to paper receipts.