ROAD TRIPPIN' SUSTAINABLY
Summer in 2020 is unlike any other we have yet to experience. This year the meaning of travel has changed from getting on a plane to go somewhere, to making sure you bring your mask on that trip to the grocery store.
Being sustainable has also changed this year. As plastic and single-use items become a form of protection, we're putting sustainability lower in the totem pole of importance.
These are generalizations that I've noticed in my own life, and those of loved ones.
Yet - it's because of these reasons that it is even more crucial than ever to take a break, leave our confined spaces, and do so with the environment in mind.
One way I have been able to do this is by taking road trips!
Road trips done right can be an opportunity to enjoy the natural landscape, leave the house, and have a minimal impact on the world's resources.
Here are some tips for being plastic-free, having a sustainable travel mindset, and reducing your road trip waste!
1. Plan out your meals.
It is so much easier to be plastic-free when you pack your meals and snacks. One way to do this is to think about the foods you eat during the day, make a list, and see what is not perishable and easy to pack.
Before you go on your road trip, stop at your local grocery, and pick up snacks in bulk. Some options include; chips, nut mixes, plantains, dried fruit, and cereal. These are perfect when you are on the road or on a trail and need something to tie you over.
When you are ready to pack these, keep it in the bulk bag. Then, bring a small snack bag where you can place a smaller portion of these for your nature walks.
As for main meals, it all depends on how long your road trip adventure is, and what you can tolerate. I am happy eating sandwiches for a week straight, but I also know that this doesn't work for everyone. Bring canned food or dried foods for main meals, and make sure you have the necessary cooking tools. Keep in mind the weather of where you are going and consider how long the food could withstand the heat in a cooler.
2. Fill up as many water bottles as possible.
I drink a LOT of water during the day. So one of the easiest ways I create waste during road trips is by purchasing plastic water bottles.
To reduce this, I find all possible water bottles in my house and fill them all. Then, I look for jars or other vessels that can hold water, and fill those too.
One hack is to save old plastic juice bottles, clean these out, and use those.
You never know when or where you may need water. This idea has saved me in times when we can't go to a grocery store, need water for cooking, for the dogs, or to clean something up.
This idea doesn't eliminate the fact that you still may run out and need to get more. BUT, it does reduce the chances of that happening.
3. Bring a travel mug.
Just because you are camping or glamping does not mean you don't still need your morning caffeine. With a travel mug, you can make your own drink and avoid single-use coffee cups. This is something I've learned not only about road trips but any time I travel in general.
Prior to Covid-19, there were places that you could take your mug to when purchasing coffee or tea. This doesn't happen anymore, but you can still be proactive by bringing a travel mug with you.
4. Keep recyclables (and maybe some trash).
All of your food and consumption throughout the road trip produces waste. This is when it is critical to keep Leave No Trace principles in mind and think about where trash and recycling can be discarded.
Principle 3 of Leave No Trace is to Dispose of Waste Properly. This principle is the inspiration for this road-tripping sustainably recommendation of keeping your recyclables and (sometimes) trash.
For the most part, trash can be tossed in any bin, but recyclables and compost are challenging. Every county and city has its own laws and regulations for how, where, and what items can be recycled. If you are in the wilderness, there may not be a place for you to discard your rubbish or the bins may be overflowing. Notice your surroundings, what signs say, and the after-effects on animals and people coming into the space next.
5. Take care of our planet.
This is an essential tip for everything you do. Taking care of our plant needs to be a priority. Whether we stay home, go on a road trip, or are doing any other activities. When we think consciously about our actions and their effects on nature and the surrounding landscapes, we can make better choices.
Going to beautiful untouched places is one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors. But it only stays intact and beautiful if we all work together to protect it. So next time you go on a road trip, consider these tips and think of new ways to plan and reduce your waste.
If you have other ways you recommend we road trip sustainably, comment below!
Till next time!