While initiatives to reduce carbon emissions are rising in popularity among hotels, airlines, and cruise lines, there are a number of ways that we as travelers can lessen our carbon footprint. It may seem daunting to make “green” lifestyle changes while on vacation, but here are 4 easy ways to cut down on waste without detracting from your trip.
Plant Trees When You Fly
As flying is the activity that releases the most carbon when traveling, it is important to be conscious of the effect our flights have on the environment. This isn’t to say that we should pass on flights entirely, but instead be aware of the ways we can give back to the environment through the purchase of carbon offsets. One way to do this is to pay to plant trees for each flight you take -- each tree planted absorbs about 10 times the carbon released during your flight and only costs about $1 to plant.
Create a Waste-Free Travel Kit
Rather than clutter your travel bag with single-use plastic supplies, invest in some durable and reusable items. For food, consider buying reusable mesh bags for groceries, stainless steel containers for snacks, and reusable utensils for eating on the road. In addition to staples such as reusable water bottles, consider eco-friendly alternatives for your toiletry kit. Fill reusable containers with shampoo, sunscreen, etc. Too, consider investing in eco-friendly alternatives to your current staples, such as biodegradable dental floss or toothpaste tablets that require no plastic tube.
Consider the Length of Your Trip
Because planes use most of their fuel during take-off and landing (and even more fuel is used on long flights carrying a heavy tank of jet fuel), both short flights and really long flights end up being the least fuel-efficient. The ideal length of a flight is in the four- to five-hour range.
Never Check A Bag
The heavier the plane, the more carbon emissions will be released into the atmosphere (more specifically, for every additional 6.5 pounds of luggage 20 pounds of carbon dioxide will be emitted). By following a strict “carry-on only” policy, you will not only save yourself some cash in baggage fees but you will also do your part in reducing environmental waste.