Hello everybody! Last night I landed back home, it is always weird when a great vacation has to come to an end, but I am still excited to unpack and get settled at home again. As I spent 12 days travelling, with a zero waste mind, I thought I would share some of my tips with you. Here goes.
1# Don’t bring a ton of zero waste equipment, like jars and cutlery, but try to think creatively instead. There is always the risk that jars will break during transport or that it will be useless because no one understands what you want to use it for. I thought it was even harder to bring my own rather than just avoid places with disposables. Although, I did bring my beloved canvas bag, so a did not use one single plastic bag, score!
2# Check out the restaurants in the area of your hotel, when go for one where they serve with reuseables, it was much easier than I thought. I did not use any plastic cutlery during my vacation. I tried a lot of street food in Krabi and Bangkok, and I handled it great without the use of plastic. Scout out for food stands where they use bamboo or banana leafs, this was quite easy in Thailand.
3# Acknowledge what cannot be changed. Sometimes you will run into a situation where waste is enviable, for instance on planes. Instead, use your energy on what you actually can change and not the few situations where you can do nothing about it. That is the case of plastic water bottles in Thailand, luckily, there were places to recycle them, but as I could not drink the water, I had to buy bottled instead. Another example is regarding straws. I said ‘no straw’ before and after every order I made, but not everyone understood my request that meant that I got a straw half the time anyway. Do not go crazy on the poor staff for not understanding your ways. Instead, I learned to thoroughly explain when ordering. Try saying ‘no straw’ or ‘no plastic’ something like this, it helped me lots.
4# Find your own souvenirs, my mother was super excited to receive a large oyster shell which we found during snorkeling. Of cause I also hit a few stores where they made jewellery of natural materials and fair trade dresses. I stayed out of synthetic materials and knock-offs.
5# Do not give into free stuff if you do not need it. The same rule applies in my everyday life, do not accept freebies if they are useless to you. On vacation that included snacks, flyers or merchandise.
6# Experience awesome things instead of bringing a ton of crap home. Collect experiences rather than things. We visited a few malls and supermarkets, but we also visited national parks. The national park experiences are something I strongly recommend, also over shopping trips. I hiked on dangerous stairways and paths, I showered in a waterfall and saw animals and bugs I never knew existed. That was so much more valuable than any mall trips could ever be.
7# You can always research eco friendly neighborhoods or hotels, in many cases there are lots of opportunists, so research before you go.