Updated: Mar 30, 2022
The plastic crisis has reached an all-time high with over 35 million plastic bottles being used every day along with all the other waste we produce and a large amount of this will never get recycled. Although it may seem like you wouldn't make a difference just making a few small easy changes can make a huge difference to your impact. With supermarkets wrapping everything in plastic and single-use items being so readily available and cheap it is impossible for 99.9% of people to cut plastic out of their life completely.
I am far from living a plastic/waste-free life but if everyone is making an effort in at least one area of their life to reduce waste then imagine the difference it can make.
"We don't need a handful of people doing plastic free perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly"
When travelling, reducing waste can be especially difficult, so focus on what you CAN do, here are a few easy ways to reduce your waste with minimal effort!
Reusable Water bottle
This is one of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce your plastic waste yet I see so many people still buying bottled water. If you are in a country where the tap water is safe to drink or you have filtering systems available to use then I cannot stress enough how much of a huge impact this would make.
You do not need to go out and buy a new bottle if you already have plastic bottles around the house then don't throw them out just because they're plastic reuse them until they break, otherwise you would be putting that plastic into landfill when there is still life in it.
Remember: Use what you have first before buying new items!
If you are looking to purchase a new bottle or any other single-use alternative then check out 4Ocean, for every item purchased they pull one pound of plastic from the water systems so you can maximise the positive impact you make.
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The average wash bag is full of plastic bottles and single-use items, there are loads of ways to reduce waste in your wash bag but of course, use up what you have first and then replace it with a more sustainable alternative. So whether you like to pack a minimal wash bag or be prepared for every occasion there is no reason you have to sacrifice any of the luxuries that you travel with. Three ways to choose a 'better' alternative:
Only buy what you will use rather than hundreds of products that will go out of date before you have a chance to use them up.
Try and buy products that have no packaging (often labelled as 'naked') or if they do come in any packaging that it is as minimal as possible and in a widely recycled material.
Is the product made locally? When looking at sustainable products we have to look at the full life cycle so if there is a local company it will reduce the footprint of the product before it ever reaches you.
Shampoo / Conditioner Bars
What is a shampoo bar?
A shampoo bar looks very much like a hand soap bar, it contains products like any liquid shampoo but it has been concentrated and had the liquid removed to produce a solid block.
How long does it last?
This often varies depending on the bar, hair type etc but I typically find that one shampoo bar lasts the same as 2-3 bottles.
Where can I buy them?
I am really happy to see some big supermarket chains stock them but they have a very limited variety so if you're looking for maximum choice then online is your best option for now. Personally, I am loving Foamie's coconut shampoo and conditioner bars and would highly recommend them. I have used bars for a couple of years now so have tried a lot...and I mean A LOT of different brands and Foamie has blown the others out of the water! (For reference I have normal-oily straight hair).
Unlike the shampoo, plastic-free toothpaste is relatively new to me and I have to admit that it has not been as easy to transition. The main alternative that people turn to are tooth tabs, personally, these are not my favourite, they are very convenient for travel but I do usually find my teeth are not as clean as when using a 'normal' paste.
What I love to use is a powder form, this way it forms a paste much easier and performs more like regular toothpaste. The only downfall of this is while you get used to using it it can be a bit messy especially when it gets chucked in a bag. I am currently trying one from Georganics which I do really love but I don't feel as though I have found the perfect match for me yet.