More and more people and big influencers start to talk that we are living ‘disposable’ lives. And in some way it is becoming true. Imagine when we are going on a picnic and we take all the plastic plates, knives and forks. Or we are so used to take away food or coffee and consume it on the go. We don’t even think of this as a privilege consumerism act. All in all, almost all food comes in plastic packages. Today main question is how can we reduce waste anywhere in the world and encourage sustainable travel option.
We wrote a concerning article about Bali waste crisis. Where we noticed that tourist or the Westerner world are the main causes for a terrible trash situation on the island. But they can be a solution as well. One of the fundamental thing would be to introduce a sustainable travel model.
It came to me as an idea to apply my daily practices for travels. And then it happened. I became a part of solution. I wasn’t being the cause of the problem anymore. The answer lies in front of us every morning, we just have to recognize it and travel smart with a bit of preparation.
From the young age I was going on a hiking trips for weeks and weekends with my family. And later on with my friends. We always took food, pots, cutlery and gas cylinder if we needed with us or cooked our food on the fire. At that time we were ready to camp anywhere we wanted. In the middle forest, at the mountains or by the river…Truly anywhere where the nature would have taken us.
It was peaceful days. Then I didn’t have to worry where or what I will eat. It was scheduled for a week or weekend in advance. We had discipline and we all stayed strict to it. Later on I remember buying cheap flight tickets for a weekend trip to a foreign country. And of course I didn’t pack any of my cutlery, because I thought that everything will be prepared for me. Cafes, shops and restaurants on every corner could offer me food on my touristic road.
Only after a few year of travelling I realized how much I was contributing to the waste problems our consumerism has created. I changed my travelling habits. And came back to the roots where the preparation was required for any travel.
Let me guide you through a sustainable travel suggestions. For less creating waste on every corner of the world you are traveling. We made these small changes and it helped us to reduce single use plastic and foam during our Southeast Asia trip.
Sustainable Travel Kit
As a sustainable traveller you need to learn few basics. After you are all set up you can enjoy your journey no matter how far you will go creating less trash than ever.
Contrary to the consumerist vision of life we care about our ecological footprint left behind. And wasteful overconsumption, unbridled greed, and short-term myopia must be understood as destructive vices.
1. Water Bottle
Wherever we go we take our reusable water bottles with us. It can be made of aluminum (our choice), glass or plastic. The one we prefer the most has a comfortable handler on it’s cap. So it’s suitable to fix our water bottle with a tiny carabin when we need extra space in our backpacks. We also chose aluminium bottle for many reasons. Some of them are suitable for hot liquids and can keep drinks warm for few hours. Neither glass nor plastic bottles have this option (in general we hate plastic). We always say no to plastic whenever we can.
Sustainable travel requires a bit of preparation as I mentioned. But you will benefit from having your own cutlery in many ways. Eating your own food or fruits straight from market won’t worry you anymore. We had plenty of situations where we happily used our knife or spoon. Especially for peeling a fresh mango or sort of scooping the goodness of passion fruit with your spoon. I am not that kind of person who can wait few hours when we head back home to use the kitchen! In travel shops you can find any kind of light, colorful, heat resistant (any you can think of) cutlery for your picnics, travels or work lunch.
3. Food Container
Food container can vary. You probably remember lunch boxes you used to take to school, but it’s so much different now! We like to use the box which is suitable for hot&cold content. Because you never know what you will get on a cafe or bring from home (hotel, hostel etc.). And it is likely to be a stew, a soup or anything. So it is very comfy! We definitely recommend you to check this site, where they have plenty of other stuff and great metal food containers that last for a lifetime.
What is the most important that instead of takeaway food we simply use our box to fill it with food. And we avoid plastic or worse foam food containers. What else Justinas loves about our food box that it always has a certain place in our backpack. You don’t have to think twice where to put it what is likely to happen if you buy any kind of food from street or restaurant.
4. Bamboo Straw
It doesn’t have to be a bamboo straw, but that’s what we have chosen for our trips. It is lighter than a glass straw and it is very important for us (while we drag about 17 kg of gear!!!). But if it’s a question of fashion and colors then glass straws have more options though.
Those who like power bowls will totally get me. We use our two bowls for soaking morning porridge and chia seeds. And later on we spice it up with fruits. Bowls are irreplaceable in camping when you prepare food on fire. It also has an extra function: we use it as a snack bowl. It is wise (or opposite) to have snacks by your hand when you work on something on your computer.
We use two light bowls made from coconut with glaze inside. Apparently one of them got broken after the flight. They were bought in Thailand, so if anyone is out there at the moment please be kind and send us analogy to replace the broken one 😉
6. Extra bag
Shopping without an eco bag can be a painful if you try to avoid plastic. In markets or shops we use our foldable and extra light bag that we carry in our bag. It still makes people laugh when we put vegetables and fruits without an extra plastic bag packaging to our bag. But only in younger age I imagined I will use those plastic bags by collecting them. Now I know it is totally wasteless. Neither I am gonna use them, nor it’s good for the planet.
7. Cherry on top
It’s not a thing, but a simple attitude. Always be prepared to say no to plastic. Inform restaurants before bringing you a smoothie that you have your own reusable straw or that you will take food to you own box. In the beginning it might be hard, but in a meantime it becomes natural. To sum up, it all makes a sustainable travel and cleaner future possible.
All words by Eisve Treciakauskaite and all images by Justinas Lekavicius, unless otherwise noted.