climate changewaste

How to Stay “Zero Waste” on Vacation

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

According to World Bank researchers, the world generates at least 3.5 million tons of plastic and other solid waste every single day, with the U.S. leading the world with 250 million tons each year.

If you want to contribute the least amount possible, it’s generally easier to do so once you’ve developed a routine after moving into your new house among the Calgary homes for sale or anywhere else. But once you get out on the road and that routine is disrupted in a new environment, how can you continue to stay “zero waste?”

Refuse Items That Aren’t Essential

Wherever you go, think about how essential each item is that you plan to use. If you can refuse things like straws, plastic utensils, plastic bags and cups, it will help minimize waste. When we all refuse to use single-use items, it sends a signal to businesses that there is less demand for the products, resulting in the businesses ordering less and producing fewer of the items we don’t really need. 

Even before you begin traveling you can reduce waste by using downloadable tickets rather than printing them to save paper.

Carry Your Own Reusable Items

Make yourself a kit with reusable items to bring with you, such as utensils in case a restaurant you choose to dine in doesn’t have reusable utensils of their own. A water bottle, small food container and reusable coffee mug can be part of your kit too.

Stay in Airbnbs

Nearly all hotels offer individually wrapped toiletries and soaps and replace the bedding every day, which adds up to a lot of waste. By staying in an Airbnb, you can help minimize that waste and save money too. Plus, there’s a good chance you’ll have a kitchen for making your own meals, which allows you to control food waste. 

Avoid Buying Souvenirs

Many people have the notion that they have to buy something from every destination they visit, like a refrigerator magnet or a keyring, but all the little knick-knacks ultimately produce a ton of waste. Instead, focus on the experiences themselves and capturing photographs that will allow you to enjoy the memories without the waste. 

Bring Your Own Grocery Bags

Just like you do when you’re shopping at home, bring your own grocery bags to use when you’re shopping on vacation. If you carry a mesh bag or some other small type of bag, you’ll always be prepared to pick up whatever you need to buy without having to use plastic bags. 

Say No To Daily Hotel Cleanings

When you do need to stay at hotels, be sure to refuse those daily cleanings. Put up the “Do Not Disturb Sign” as it’s really not necessary to have the room cleaned and fresh towels delivered every day. Instead, go for every other day or less, and ask that housekeeping not change the towels until you really need a new one.

Bring Your Own Snacks

When traveling somewhere you know will have limited no-waste options, bring your own snacks. Think raisins, almonds, fruit or even mini-sandwiches, all packed in reusable containers.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.