My 10 tips on “zero-waste” travels

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I HATE TRAVELLING (SAYS NO ONE EVER.) It’s almost summer travel season and I’ve gathered a few tips for you guys so we can all travel with less waste!

Disclaimer:
Of course flying is not the most environmental friendly thing to do, but I mean, we won’t stop travelling by plane, will we? There are many other things we can do too... this is by no means an exhaustive list, but this serves as a starting point for us "zero waste" newbies. So let's all do what we can to reduce waste!


ON THE PLANE 〰

 If you’re really short of space in your luggage, you can bring your foldable cup and just ask for hot / cold water in it. The downside is that you’ll have to hold it the whole time because it won’t fit the cup holder that attaches to your flight seat.

If you’re really short of space in your luggage, you can bring your foldable cup and just ask for hot / cold water in it. The downside is that you’ll have to hold it the whole time because it won’t fit the cup holder that attaches to your flight seat.

1. Bring your own empty thermos for storing hot water.

Ask the kind flight attendants to pour you a whole bottle *after* take off. You save time asking for hot water multiple rounds, and you don’t have to waste the cups on the plane. Plus, the flight attendants will love you. What’s more - if you can’t finish it, just close the lid. Don’t waste around for the FAs to collect them and hold you immobile at your seat for 30 mins. 

(Please have common sense and do not ask the FAs to fill up hot water in a flimsy disposable plastic bottle…. I’ve heard that they sometimes receive such requests. Not that you’ll drink plastics, but they also burn their hands as they fill the water in.)
 

2. Bring your own cutlery.

Honestly, unless you’re taking business class with stainless steel utensils, I don’t think you’ll enjoy using those plastic ones anyway. Who cuts using those knives? I mean, is there any food that requires cutting on the plane? No.

 

 

 

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IN THE HOTEL 〰

I know, I know these sounds counter-intuitive. We go to a hotel because we want to enjoy 'home outside of home', so why bother bring all these with you? But these aren't necessarily the things you would enjoy using in a hotel anyway:
 

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example:

 

Ditch the toothbrush set

No one likes to use hotel toothbrushes anyway

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Example:

 

Ditch the hand soap

Use your own. You can even use it as your body wash!

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Example:

 

Ditch the slippers

it certainly looks cozy.... so make your own judgement. If the hotel ones are those paper ones, you might as well just walk bare feet.

4. Bring your own slippers.

Never a fan of those flimsy paper slippers. I might as well just walk on the floor bare feet.
 

5. Bring your own toothbrush set.

Those toothbrushes aren’t the softest or the fluffiest anyway. My gums are quite sensitive so I can never use the harsh ones from the hotel.
 

6. Bring your own shampoo & bathing gel.

These are the stuff that everybody uses that everybody hates. Who’s ever satisfied with them? Honestly, if you think about it, you think the hotels are going to give you expensive premium stuff? Just bring your own, that way your hair doesn’t have to get use to the harsh hotel shampoo.
 

7. Bring your own comb.

Hotel ones are the last resort.
 

8. If you order room service -

Just casually drop a line to say you want it ‘plastic free’, i.e. no plastic films wrapping the food as they arrive.
 

9. Don’t use the soap provided next to the sink.

Just use your bathing gel, they are the same. Either you pack the remaining soap when you leave, most probably you’ll just leave it there, right?

 

Exceptions

As much as we want to go “zero waste”, what I will leave as an exception is plastic bottled water. Most of the time, the kettles in the hotel aren’t the cleanest. You can clean it and and boil your own water, but if situation doesn’t allow, the safest would be to drink bottled water.

 

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IN THE CITY 〰

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9. Try not to buy bottled water from the streets. 

Either you get a very light weight reusable bottle and have clean water supply in your hotel, most likely you’ll bring the hotel plastic bottle out. Don’t buy bottled water from the outside. Not safe, expensive, and what’s the point?
 

10. Bring your handkerchief.

I am imagining an adventurous day in Rome or Barcelona. Your hankie comes in handy to get rid of your sweat! Who wants to look for rubbish bins when you should be exploring the city? Plus, a lot of places don't sell tissue packs. So rather than scrambling for some tissue-like stuff to wipe your mouth, what's more hygienic than using your own?


It's a win-win.

We can do so much more to reduce waste, but what I’ve selected above are the ones that are easiest to implement, and causes least inconvenience to the airline and the hotel. In some cases, they actually save money! It’s a win-win situation. Why not?

So hope you will find these tips useful! Have fun travelling!