I’m finally getting back to the daily grind in Houston after a two week vacation to Croatia and Turkey. I’m aware that traveling thousands of miles by plane isn’t remotely environmentally friendly. But what I didn’t prepare myself for was the amount of waste involved in air travel. For the past few months, I’ve been steering more and more towards a zero waste lifestyle which basically involves reducing waste, recycling, and reusing products to benefit the planet.
This trip was different from past travel experiences, because I was very aware of the wastefulness associated with traveling. Reiterating what I said before, I know I wasn’t helping the environment by flying across the world, but I definitely noticed some changes that could be made to help reduce waste while flying. It’s about doing what you can, even if it’s something small! I want to be more prepared for my next trip and here’s some changes that I’ll be more aware of:
Remember to Bring
Reusable Water Bottle
Airlines use SO many plastic cups on flights. You get a drink in a fresh plastic cup with a paper napkin every few hours on a long flight. So wasteful! I think it’s a good idea to bring a water bottle to refill or ask to have a whole aluminum can of your drink of choice and avoid the plastic cup and napkin altogether. Not really sure when it was decided that we couldn’t drink straight out of a can…
As soon as we sat down for our flight, we were handed a plastic wrapped set of headphones which I was grateful to have. I would’ve been bored out of my mind for the 10 hour flight. However, I wish I remembered to bring my own pair! That would’ve been such a simple way to reduce waste.
Layers of Clothing
I wore a really comfortable cotton dress for the flight and remembered to bring a sweater because I’m always cold. But guess what? I was STILL cold. So I broke down and used the plastic wrapped single use blanket provided by the airline to keep warm. Next time I will bring a few more layers so I won’t need to break open the blanket.
I actually remembered to bring my neck pillow (1 point for Jessie!). But just a reminder to bring yours on your next flight as well. This will save you having to open the individually plastic wrapped airline pillows.
I definitely ate the plane meals provided, and they were actually not so bad. Sadly though they were saturated with tons of plastic wrap. Plastic container, plastic utensils wrapped in plastic, muffin wrapped in plastic, bottle of water in plastic, etc. I couldn’t help it though; I was starving, and I’m certain the meals not eaten by guests would be thrown into the garbage. Believe it or not, I even ate the little snack packets that contain basically four peanuts or six baby size pretzels… But here’s where I would make a change. The small airline snacks won’t go bad so the airline can use them for another flight. These individual sized snacks are so small, I think it’s a better idea to just bring my own snacks in larger sizes from home that I can share with whomever I’m travelling with.
These are just a few things I noticed while travelling this summer, but I’m sure there are other ways to make air travel more waste free. Let me know if you have any suggestions or personal zero waste travel experiences of your own!