Packing Tips For The Environmentally Friendly Backpacker
Pack Re-usable Cutlery
The single-use utensils you use to eat street food and airline meals whilst travelling are most likely contributing to the eighteen billion pounds of plastic waste flowing into the oceans each year. Carrying your own re-usable cutlery is a simple way to avoid further plastic pollution. For those trying to pack light a simple spork will do. Alternatively, you can buy mini cutlery sets, some of which include straws and chopsticks, that come in a handy little container so your used utensils don’t smear food on the rest of your stuff.
Purchase Re-usable Food Wrap
If you’re planning on making a lot of packed lunches on your trip consider buying re-usable sandwich bags or beeswax food wrap. Re-usable food bags and wraps won’t end up in landfill like clingfilm as they can easily be wiped clean or put in the washing machine. These reusable items are also perfect for backpacking as they are much easier to slip into your backpack than lunchboxes and you won’t need to look for clingfilm at every stop on your trip.
Swap Plastic Bags for Tote Bags and Packing Cubes
Like disposable cutlery, plastic bags have a devastating effect on the environment and wildlife. It has been estimated that 52% of sea turtles have consumed plastic waste and the east coast of Australia is one of the most dangerous places for turtles to live due to this issue. To make sure your shopping bags don’t damage marine life, carry canvas tote bags for your shopping and use packing cubes instead of plastic bags to separate dirty clothes or shoes from clean things in your backpack.
Pack a Re-usable Water Bottle
In Bali alone over six million plastic bottles are discarded every month, these bottles end up in the ocean or landfill. Although drinking tap water in South-East Asia is not usually recommended hostels, airports and other public spaces often have water stations to fill your bottle with clean, safe drinking water. You can also download the RefillMyBottle app which locates the nearest location where you can safely refill your bottle for free or a small fee. If you're on an Intro Travel Tour you can purchase (or use your own) refillable water bottle which you'll be able to fill up for free at every location on the trip!
Re-evaluate Your Toiletry Bag
Some simple swaps in your toiletry bag can help reduce plastic waste. Swap mini-toiletries for re-usable bottles that can be refilled in hostels that provide shampoo and body wash – a thrifty and eco-friendly solution.
If you’re worried you won’t be able to refill your toiletry bottles or want to eliminate plastic from your shower routine try using soap and shampoo bars. Shampoo and soap bars not only reduce plastic waste but are also a lot more lightweight and won’t leak in your bag – a win-win situation!
BYO Coffee Cup
You may think being environmentally friendly when it comes to coffee is as simple as putting your takeout cup into a recycling bin but coffee cups are a lot more difficult to recycle than many people realise. The mixture of paper and plastic in the lining of disposable coffee cups mean they cannot easily be recycled, as a result, it is estimated that 99.75% of coffee cups in the UK are not recycled.
Packing a re-usable coffee cup is not only a lot more environmentally it may also save you a little money as many cafes offer discounts to those who bring their own cup. If you’re trying to travel light look for collapsible coffee cups that will easily fit into your backpack.
Now that you know what to do to make your travels better on the environment, click here to find your next adventure!