Sustainable travel doesn’t have to be exclusive to certain conscious travellers. We can all do our bit in helping reduce our carbon footprints, especially while we travel. Air travel tends to be an individual’s biggest carbon dump, with more than 8 million people catching flights every day. Even simple acts like constantly changing hotel towels add to an unbelievable amount of water and detergent that is wasted. We also know that plastic items are estimated to take over 500 years to decompose; and landfills are the last thing we want to gift to the next generation. Here are some simple yet effective tips to help offset the environmental karma we’re all guilty of:
Take your own supply
Instead of buying an endless supply of bath and beauty products, have your own set of bottles and pots that you can refill before each trip. Buying large cases of your toiletries is not only cost-effective but also cuts your consumption of plastic. Also, try carrying an eco-conscious travel towel, those really thin ones that pack lighter, dry quickly, is kind to your skin and takes less water to clean.
Use eco-friendly products
There are plenty of brands in the market today that help you save the environment by selling conscious lifestyle products. They’re not just easy on your skin and the environment, but also on your pocket. You can but everything from mosquito repellent, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, sunscreen, detergent, makeup, dog shampoo to clothing and shoes. You’ll find these organic shops in nearly every metro city in India: Green Sattva and the Farmers’ Market in Mumbai, Lumiere and Fresh Earth Organics in Bengaluru, Khadi Natural in Delhi, and Rainbow Organics in Kolkata. .
Use rechargeable, solar charge or wind-up batteries and LED lights whenever possible, particularly for lamps, flashlights and shavers. Turn off the switches when leaving a room, and unplug appliances that will not be used for some time. Conserve water by not leaving taps running in the shower or hot tub, and running a machine wash with a full load.
Avoid vehicles whenever possible
Take public transport, share cabs, a bicycle or better yet walk, when possible. When you travel in a small group, of say 10 people at maximum, you reduce environmental impact. Also since you can’t help but take a flight when it’s needed, at least apply for e-tickets. Avoid taking a print-out; most airlines give you this service.
Eat local and plant-based food
Eat local, drink local. Ideally, your food and beverage will not just be made close to where it is consumed, but will also be fresh, healthy and sustainably grown or raised. Also not eating meat reduces carbon footprint by a huge number, so try and limit your non-veg meals if you can’t totally go off of it.