Plastic is wreaking havoc on our planet, and not much seems to be done for it. Part of sustainable, responsible travel is reducing your plastic footprint. Because plastic almost never ever decomposes, it has already poisoned our planet. We feel terrible about this, and are trying hard to reduce our plastic footprint, in the hope of traveling responsibly. There is an excellent twitter thread about reducing plastic usage here. Here are some things we try to follow. Please feel free to advise on more ways to reduce plastic usage and try and become more responsible travellers:
One of the biggest plastic waste generators on travel is packaged drinking water. We saved ourselves from buying 100s of plastic water bottles ever since we started carrying aluminium water bottles, all 5 of them, on road trips. Refill them at every night’s halt-over. Most places these days have safe RO water anyway.
Carry some cloth bags with you all the time in your rucksack so you can refuse the plastic grocery bags.
When paying for anything by credit card, avoid taking a receipt, as you will get one anyway via email on your card bill. Receipts offered at most stores are difficult to recycle. Read all about it here. This also cuts down paper usage, and hence fewer trees are cut.
Do not use soaps, showergels, shampoos, toothpastes etc which have a granular texture. Chances are, it’s plastic microbeads which end up in our oceans. Read about it here.
We refuse plastic straws in our drinks. The experience of a drink doesn’t change much if you drink it straight from the glass. If you must have a straw, consider carrying a personal stainless steel or bamboo one. Many people have switched over to bamboo straws, toothbrushes and spoons, eco-friendly soaps and detergents etc. You can find an excellent source for buying such stuff here at The Better India. In fact you can also buy bio-degradable sanitary pads at their store. The shop at Bare Necessities is excellent as well as Almitra Sustainables. Bamboo spoons and forks can be carried easily for eateries which offer plastic ones (though, most dhabas offer steel cutlery).
Refuse the plastic cover on your takeaway coffee. The paper cup by itself is fine.
We try really hard to carry only recyclable and bio-degradable products with us in the hope of leaving behind as small a plastic footprint as possible, all in the hope of some responsible travel.