In order to make my kid think I am a better person than I am, I have made a lot of earth friendly changes since he was born. Ok Ok I know I am suppose to say I am trying to save the Earth and create a better environment for future generations, but we are all motivated by different things right?
After mainstream media constantly rambling on about plastic waste, I started to believe them. Images that really hit home were captured by Caroline Power off the Caribbean Island of Roatan. One news article literally described “garbage island” as the ocean choking on human waste. It left me speechless to know this was one of many garbage islands found in our oceans, and that I WAS contributing to it…daily.
I am by no means a minimalist, and can’t say I am passionate about the environment, but I can say I appreciate the outdoors and there is no doubting the admiration I have for animals in the wild. Some of my fondest memories have to the with the ocean like the time I saw dolphins in the wild jumping alongside our boat.
Therefore, I made small changes that made a big impact. On my travels, I saw so many cultures exercise less wasteful behaviours that I could handle. One thing we need to remember is change does not have to impact lifestyle. Here is my list of zero waster travel essentials:
Reusable food bags:
Toss out the ziplocks, reusable wet bags are an every day essential. On our most recent trip to Trinidad, one leg of the trip was 5.5 hours. EEK! In order to keep baby Leo patient also meant stuffing his face with his favourite snacks. We packed a handful of bags that contained strawberries, blueberries, popcorn, cheese and crackers. Our brand of choice is Colibri, simple because it’s a Manitoba company and widely available. I also use these bags to pack liquids in my suitcase, giving me the option to use it as a snack bag when we get to our destination.
I get it, water bottles are hella annoying, especially when travelling. It’s easier to grab a plastic bottle from the nearest convenience store and keep to stepping. Take a minute and think how much money you spend on water over the course of 1 vacation, how you could save that money and put it towards an activity or a nicer meal at a bougie restaurant. AND yes before your say something, there are countries with water advisories, and I have noticed many hotels and common areas offering free water sources to fill up your reusable water bottles.
I purchased these bad boys about a year ago and they are a damn game changer. I use to use cotton pads and go through a tube every 14 days. I have replaced those 26 tubes with these three washable pads. I use 1 for make-up removal, 1 for toner and 1 for mascara. These guys are made from hemp fibres, and I find them very gentle. I picked this up at Portia-Ella for $13 and have not looked back.
The bain of my existence are plastic straws. The most unnecessary plastic product to ever hit the market. The image that is etched into my brain is the one of the turtle found with a straw half way down his nose. I mean can’t we all just put our mouths on our cups? Either way, my reusable straw of choice is the stainless-steel straws with silicone tips that are a bit more comfortable on the lips. I pack these bad boys in a reusable wet bag and keep them in my purse/backpack at all times.
I grew up in the era were brown bags were still a thing. In the past 30 years single use plastic has become the staple grocery bag. On average my little family used 7 bags at our bi weekly grocery trip, for those of you who struggle in math, that is 182 bags on average that my 1 family throws away a year. Let that sink in. (note shopping/markets are not included in that total). I have since started using a grocery box and reusable bags. Many reusable bags crumble up into pint size pockets that can fit into any crevasse available in my suitcase. My box was a one time purchase, I think mine was maybe $5, and it makes my life so much easier. I can stack most of my groceries in 1 box, and do you know what that means, 1 TRIP FROM THE CAR TO THE HOUSE. Mic drop.