It’s Not Easy Being Green…
These days, it seems that we are constantly in search for something to do. Really, anything that can keep us busy while we stay home and flatten the curve. As travelers, we are certainly all getting a severe case of cabin fever! So what’s a traveler to do when we are stuck at home? Well, how about a nice and easy, green filled showcase of some ecofriendly travel products? Read on!
I remember when local garbage collectors released the new and exciting information that they would be handing out fancy new recycling bins so that we could all love the Earth a little bit more. We were all so excited to start being good stewards of our environment! Then I had kids. I don’t know if you have noticed but it seems that absolutely every single kids thing ever is made out of plastic! Don’t get me wrong, I have nice maple blocks but did I perhaps contribute to deforestation? Did I take away from the world’s maple syrup supply?!
Every bottle, toy, spoon and plate was made from evil plastic. Backs of bibs were lined with it, crib mattresses are covered in it, when will the insanity stop?! Then, when I came home with a second plastic trash can for my kitchen and lovingly labeled it recycling, my kids looked at me like I had three heads. ‘Throw your paper in that one’ I would proclaim only to have to yell ‘don’t put napkins in there, you can’t recycle those’. Then there was: ‘No, no, you have to put the water bottle without the cap in the recycling’! Needless to say, I gave in! I did! I admit that I am not a very good green parent.
Years later, we learned about the big plastic blob floating in the ocean and vowed to start neighborhood watch groups pinpointing exactly who were the culprits not snipping their six pack rings before recycling them. Yesterday, I found out that I have killed dozens of birds because I did not snip the rings left by the caps on gallon sized milk jugs. I am going to have a panic attack if I unknowingly kill one more creature!!! (Except for spiders and snakes- sorry animal lovers, I have no love for either!)
At work, students come around and put our recycling in huge plastic bags and drop them into the dumpster marked recycling. I keep wondering if that’s counter productive. Is that really doing us any good? You know, big huge PLASTIC bags filled with paper that may or may not be sorted into what could possibly be the absolute worst categories. I was recently working with some kids on a ecology project that was looking at what happens to those flimsy plastic bags we use.
The kids were interested in it when they found out that San Fransisco banned them altogether. It turns out that the county I live in does not recycle one plastic bag. Not one! We learned that it takes an extremely expensive machine to recycle plastic bags- one that our small county can not afford. Which means that every plastic bag that is trashed is headed for the landfill! The kids were not impressed with the adults.
So, how does all of this green, eco-friendly chat concern the globally literate citizen? Well, for starters, thinking globally means thinking about our environment overall. We do need to live our daily lives with Mother Earth in mind- that means not giving in like I did! We also need to be aware of what is expected when we travel. For example, in Japan, you are not going to see many public trash cans. They just don’t have them. Instead, people are expected to carry their trash home and dispose of it responsibly. In France, it seems that they could care less, trash overflows many public receptacles by the end of a busy day and it’s not uncommon to find dog droppings around the Eiffel Tower.
Both Antarctica and Namibia have what some term as an eco constitution which requires a significant amount of green funding to ensure fragile biomes stay safe and reduce the human carbon footprint overall. Singapore has HUGE fines for littering or defacing the community. They also will famously fine you for chewing gum. No matter where you are, a global citizen certainly knows to use that old boy scout slogan “leave no trace behind”. But traveling isn’t the only time to be eco-conscious. What can you do at home besides fuss at kids to put the bottles WITHOUT the caps in the recycling? Well here are a few environment friendly products that can help you out! Note that some of the links below are affiliate links. I only recommend products & brands I love and that I think you would love, too!
Bamboo is the newest trend in disposable products and can be quite the friend to the traveler. From bamboo toothbrushes to bamboo straws, this super green product has all of your needs covered.
At the grocery store…
We all know that we can avoid plastic bags by asking for paper but in all reality, paper are not that much better. Instead, collect a few canvas totes during your travels and enjoy remembering your trips as you unpack your groceries. Also, there are some great food bag options for the produce section that allow you to gather up things plastic free.
To your health!
We all have done it! We walk down the travel product aisle at our local mega store and picked up those pesky travel bottles. They are filled with toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and everything else that is (or maybe isn’t) part of our daily routine. Feel guilty no longer! There are better options that reduce your plastic intake and your TSA liquids bag down to nothing! I am such a fan of the new beauty bars that have come out that I have even started using them outside of my travel bags! From shampoo to toothpaste, bars and tablets are the latest green travel trend- and an easy one to get behind! While your at it, check out the assortment of travel friendly water bottles that you can use at home or abroad. I love my metal one so much that it has found a permanent place in my bag.
If you are looking for even more great green finds to reduce your travel footprint, check out The Sustainable Travel Store where customers can shop responsibly!