Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Reducing my plastic footprint: How I cut down on single-use plastic

As a traveller and travel writer, it goes without saying that I love this little planet that we inhabit. There has been a lot of focus recently on plastic and the damage that it does to the environment. I wholeheartedly support the #RefuseTheStraw campaign and believe that we can all do our bit to cut down on the amount of plastic we use.

So, what is it that I am doing to cut down on plastic use in my everyday and travel life, you may ask? Well, I have a little kit that I have put together and I thought I'd share it with you.

Box Appetit water bottle

I drink a huge amount of water, especially when I'm writing, but also when I'm out and about. This means always having a bottle of water with me and I decided to invest in a really nice one. Over the last year or so I've hardly been anywhere without it.

The great thing about this Box Appetit bottle - apart from its sleek look and ability to keep water cool - is its size. Big enough to hold enough water, but small enough to fit into my handbag, I can take it just about anywhere.

My main gripe about my refillable water bottle is the lack of water fountains at airports. It's a common tip shared by travel bloggers that you should take an empty bottle and fill up after you've got through security, but in reality, few airports have the facilities to make this easy.

Newcastle Airport - my local airport - is among them. When asked about it - I've tweeted them in the past - they've said that the bars and restaurants are happy to fill up bottles for travellers. This is true, they have done so for me on multiple occasions, but it does feel a bit cheeky if you're not purchasing something from them.

Surely it could be made easier for people to refill water bottles in airports. This is a call to arms for airports everywhere - from Newcastle to New South Wales - please install water fountains after security. Your planet will thank you very much.

Reusable coffee cup

When I'm not drinking water, I'm usually drinking coffee. After deciding it was time to invest in a reusable coffee mug, I scoured the internet and fell in love with a really classy little one that I couldn't quite justify. As always with me, I didn't want something too bulky, so I could throw it in my bag for those times when it's required. I happened to spot a really cheap one in Tiger and it does the job perfectly.

Many high street coffee chains give you a small discount for bringing your own cup, giving you an even more smug feeling while you're saving the world (or doing your little bit at least). The one downside of having your own cup is carrying it with you before you've had the chance to clean it, so a secure lid is essential to prevent dregs leaking everywhere.

Bamboo cutlery

Now, before you even take the environmental impact of plastic cutlery into consideration, let me make it clear that I hate using it. The experience is always less than satisfactory, as these flimsy utensils are never quite up to the job and often leave you chasing food around your container or snapping them before your meal has finished.

With this in mind, I was always going to be an easy convert to reusable cutlery and I invested in a nice spoon and fork set that came in a handy fabric bag of its own. As well as travelling overseas, I'm often found on trains in the UK and dinner on the go is a common occurrence come the weekend. So bringing along my own utensils was a no-brainer.

Canvas bags

Whenever I go anywhere, I always throw an empty canvas bag into my backpack or holdall. I have them in all sizes and thicknesses, but a relatively small, thin one that takes up hardly any room at all is always useful for those spur-of-the moment purchases or overflow picnic items on the go.


Maddie said...

Great post Em. Water fountains in airports are one of my bugbears- they should just be installed as standard. I am never without my water bottle and a canvas tote, if every single person made a small change it would make a huge difference to the uphill struggle we face with climate change.

Barefoot Em said...

Thanks Maddie. I couldn't agree more. Travel bloggers often recommend taking an empty bottle to fill up after security, but in reality few airports have water fountains. I'm pretty willful, so will ask at catering venues, but I don't think everyone would. It needs to be so easy and so commonplace that everyone does it automatically.

Go on, tweet your local airport!

Alternative Travelers said...

This is fantastic, we carry around a lot of the same things to reduce our waste while traveling. Only difference is we have a metal spork instead of bamboo cutlery. But I think we really need to get some bamboo ones because the spork keeps collapsing on itself while we're using it, lol!

Barefoot Em said...

Yay! It's wonderful to hear of other travellers doing their bit to help our little old planet. Go on, "treat" yourself to some bamboo cutlery. And happy travels.