Lazy, hazy holidays are made for rest and relaxation, as well as fun and frolicking. And while vacations should be carefree, you can also travel in a way that's kinder to the environment by making sure you reduce your carbon footprint while you're away.
Here are 4 smart ways you can be greener on the go:
1. Cut Out the Cars
Yes, it’s heavenly to get in an air-conditioned private car from the airport to your hotel. But those cars also emit almost 20 pounds of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere for every gallon of gasoline burned. Taking the local airport shuttle is one way of reducing your carbon footprint. Many cities have trains, metros and great bus systems as well, which can eliminate the need for a car altogether. There are also plenty of fun and inspiring ways to limit your carbon footprint by cutting out the driving altogether. Pick destinations with the great outdoors in mind and say goodbye to all that gas-guzzling. Learn how to paddleboard in Hawaii, travel by traditional jukung in Indonesia, cycle your way around Norway’s fjords and embrace Alpine walking in the French Alps. Get creative with your choices and ditch the car when you’re on the go!
2. Recycle and Be Resourceful
Recycling keeps waste products out of incinerators and landfills which release devastating carbon emissions and methane gas into the atmosphere. Although we all know to recycle our glass bottles and paper goods, there’s plenty more that we can do. At home, it’s possible to recycle glass, plastic and paper goods just by depositing them in the appropriate bins, and it’s also easy to recycle larger appliances such as freezers and dishwashers – because of this, 378,200 tonnes of electrical appliances are traded in each year in the UK alone.
But if you’re keen to go green while on the go, how do you make sure you’re doing your bit by recycling while traveling? Some of the easiest ways to do this are by carrying recyclable toiletries, always taking a reusable water bottle, ensuring you have bags for the local supermarket shopping and being mindful to buy loose fruit and vegetables. You can check out my curated list of favorite sustainable travel products here. Producing less waste so there is no need for trash in the first place is also pretty smart. Instead of printing your boarding pass and tickets download them on your phone and say no to straws, napkins and plastic waste when on airplanes and at restaurants.
3. Feast on Local Food
One exciting element of traveling is immersing yourself in a new culture and a big part of that is trying new food. But food’s enormous carbon footprint comes from producing, growing, processing, transporting and cooking the food you eat. In an effort to reduce your footprint try to eat fresh fruits, vegetables and grains while on holiday and avoid imported foods flown in from other countries. Choose eco-friendly hotels that have their own vegetable and herb gardens and are run with a sense of responsibility in mind. Sustainable hotels often only cook local, organically grown produce and also have systems in place to only use renewable energy. If you’re self-catering, or even better camping, shop at farmers' markets and buy seasonal food that hasn’t been artificially ripened with toxic gases.
4. Forgo Fast Fashion
It’s easy to think you need new clothes for a holiday and the quickest and cheapest way to buy these is to opt for fast fashion. But fast fashion is poorly made and only ends up in landfills that again produces that lethal methane gas. The price you pay might be cheaper but the cost to the environment is huge. Instead, shop more consciously when at home investing in clothes that are well made, will last longer and are ethically produced. Or, take it one step further and save that suitcase space for picking up locally made brands that haven’t been imported, and skip those mass produced souvenirs when you're in the destination too. Unique, hand made items from local artisans or a great postcard has a lot more meaning behind it, and your friends and family will appreciate it more.
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