If you’re flying it all starts in the airport. You CAN bring your reusable water bottle with you, just make sure it’s 100% empty when you go through security. To emphasize the emptiness, I usually leave the lid off. Find a drinking fountain and refill once you get to the other side. To further cut down on waste, bring your own snacks (we had some delicious pumpkin bread) — most of the food options in airports, especially smaller ones, are crappy anyway. Security seemed to have no issues with our wooden utensils.
Unless you REALLY need that 4 oz. of soda, juice, etc., say “no thanks” to the in-flight beverage. Is it really worth the plastic cup? Ditto on that little packet of peanuts.
In the midst of packing the night before our departure, I decided to grill some peppers and eggplant that would have gone bad if we left them (and I HATE to waste good food). I packed the grilled veggies, along with some random assorted other food, in an insulated bag that went into one of our pieces of checked luggage. I also included some ice packs, which I’m pretty sure would NOT make it through the carry-on screening.
Our hotel room had a small fridge and microwave. When we arrived to find limited food options accessible by foot, we enjoyed some of our far superior food (clearly I’m not a food snob, AT ALL), heated on the small glass plates we brought for just such a purpose.
While a free breakfast is sounds good in theory, hotel continental breakfasts are rife with waste and low quality food. In addition to our water bottles, bamboo utensils, real plates, cloth napkins, and glass bowl, I brought a baggie of rolled oats and a jar of peanut butter. I combined my food with a hotel bagel to round out breakfast and snagged some of their dry breakfast cereal for a later snack.
On morning #2, we used our complimentary wedding champagne glasses as juice glasses.
Despite all that careful planning, there was still some waste involved — not only the plastic (pictured above*), but a couple of small cardboard food trays.
I know I haven’t covered everything here. What are your tips for greener travel?
*You can read more about the plastic trash I collected in Week 1 of the Show Your Plastic Challenge very soon, but it’s not posted yet.