No doubt, 2018 will go down in the history of the plastic-free movement. Shocking images from around the world, especially in coastal areas, show the decades’ ongoing production and the waste of plastic and its impact on our environment. While pictures of cocktail glasses with plastic straws have been symbolising relaxing vacations, it is has become now an alarming signal: That people need to change their consumption habits to protect the planet.
Take the aviation industry as an example. Ryanair has made a pledge to become plastic-free by 2023, eliminating all non-recyclable plastic. Rwanda even banned single-use plastic bans in 2008 and its environmental agency confiscates them when travellers ignore the rules at the airport. The Guardian also reports that airlines produced more than 5.2m tonnes of cabin waste, an issue that has been hardly addressed by activists or within the industry.
In the hospitality sector, the reuse of towels to change customers’ behaviours have been implemented for a long period. And while there’s a potential to improve the use of resources in hotels, airlines and airports, one doesn’t need to spend more in order to ‘go green’, or to reject travels after all. The offset between environmental impact and travel is likely to remain in the next few years while major improvements and innovation continues to drive the industry.
We can’t change people, but behaviour
In order to make a change in the ongoing fight against plastic waste, and to make a turn to a more responsible consumption, industry leaders need to offer alternatives to improve travellers’ travel habit. Just take the example of water supply at airports and train stations. In the end, spending some dollars on a 0.5l water bottle, which is per se a bit more expensive than in other places, is still the only alternative for travellers than providing free water fountains.
The increasing awareness of the plastic issue raises one question: If there are no incentives being offered by corporations and other travel companies, then how can you make a positive impact?
The answer lies in one thing: changing your behaviour! Here are some examples on what you can to instantly:
- Use reusable bottles while you travel. Fill them and refill them, for example after you pass through the security lane at the airport.
- Choose your accommodation wisely: Either use hotels that have a proven track record of environmental driven measures, use Airbnb and take care of your own amenities and food.
- Choosing your mood of transportation: Sometimes it makes more sense to catch the train than a short flight to your destination.
- Plan and prepare your activities thoroughly: There are plenty of opportunities to help the environment by putting some time in making the necessary preparations, e.g. pack your lunch in reusable boxes that you bring from home when you want to do some hiking. Also, there are some free resources that you should check out.
You don’t need to relinquish travel to make a positive impact
There’s one school of thought who praises the non-use of carbon-intense activities and mode of transportation. How much does it make sense to not take domestic flights, or to travel to far destinations, or simply not to travel at all?
Here’s a fact: Movement and transport are unavoidable. It is pretty much the backbone of innovation, economic and personal growth. We need to travel from A to B in order to get our job done. We need to travel to other places because we want to see our loved ones. We travel to other places to expand our horizons. Changing your own behaviour and become aware what little steps you can take in order to decrease plastic waste is the first step, your own contribution for a better course. On the other, you can also determine your personal carbon footprint, such as with the WWF Footprint Calculator, You can also determine how much you can donate for the offset of those travels, e.g. with initiatives like this.
Sometimes, it seems like as if we are not able to change things that we simply can’t – but there’s always a path to make a contribution.
Header Source: Anggoro Sakti (Stocksnap.io)