- Reusable water bottle (for every day and travelling): this is an obvious but important one, you are always going to need to drink water, so bringing a bottle is key for both hydration and not resorting to using those pesky plastic bottles. There are more and more water fountains these days so it is easy to fill up on the go. As long as it is empty, you can take your bottle through the security check points at airports too (don’t make the mistake I did on a trip once and get to the front of the line with a full bottle by accident, the security lady made me drink the entire litre of water to prove it was water + so it could go through!)
- Wash clothes less + wait for sunny days to dry on the washing line: this is much easier in the summer than the winter, but it uses way less energy and makes your clothes smell better too.
- Second hand clothing and hand me downs (except underwear/activewear if needed!): I made a pact to myself sometime last year to only buy clothing second hand (or from a sustainable company) as the fashion/clothing industry is one of the most polluting and there are so many clothes already made that people don’t want. This has saved me money and I’ve found some of my favourite clothes on ebay or in charity shops. I feel like my wardrobe feels much more like me as I have only bought things I know I will love and use.
- Using Beeswax wraps: this act as an alternative to foil or clingfilm and are perfect for travel. They are made from fabric that has been rubbed with beeswax and are fairly easy to make yourself.
- Making my own yummy snacks or taking some from home: my go to favourites are date balls or dates with a bit of almond butter, I also keep a little tupperware with nuts, dried apricots & raisins in my bag for those emergency snack moments, it saves money, the environment and stops me wanting a mid afternoon chocolate fix too.
- Microfibres cloths instead of kitchen roll: we stopped buying kitchen roll over a year ago with the idea that by not having it around we would find an alternative to use. For us microfibre cloths have been the answer to this and you can just wash them straight after if needed.
- Using my craft for impact: I’m a filmmaker by trade and at work, I am always trying to find climate change projects and research to draw attention to, luckily there is lots to cover and it’s great to make films I am really passionate about.
- Beach cleaning whenever I go to the worst affected beaches: I have both noticed and been told about the huge amounts of plastic both big and micro on the beaches nearby so each time I have visited recently I have tried to take a bag of some sort to collect rubbish or little microplastics where I can. It’s hard to feel like you are making an impact when there is just so much waste on the beaches, but every little helps.
- Carrying a reusable fork or cutlery set: I keep a little bamboo fork in my bag for lunches on the go, but I know you can also get little travel sets of knife, fork and spoon that come with a little bag. I think this would be perfect to have in your bag for a trip so you are never without.
- Saying no to straws or having a reusable alternative at the ready: Straws are an easy one to say no to – I know drinks are better with straws, but think of the impact of using one has on the marine environment? I always try and pack one of my metal straws as a substitute or when I am drinking a nice iced coffee at home. They are so light and take up hardly any room so very easy to pack if you are travelling too. My mum recently got me a collapsible one so it is even smaller and easier to carry around.
- Choosing to eat in rather than take away: we are always rushing and thinking about the next thing we need to do. Rather than getting a take away in disposable packaging, you could eat in and take a moment to yourself as well as adding a little bit of slowness to your day.
- Cycle or walk or get public transport where I can: always better than using the car, and getting a bit of exercise gets the endorphins going too.
- Buying in bulk/from a store that stops food waste: I don’t have a zero waste store near to me but this is a great way to use less packaging and also stave off food waste by only buying the quantity you need.
- Planning ahead: this involves taking a fork with me, packing snacks for the day, taking a canvas bag for any extras I may pick up from work or the supermarket and trying to think about what I might need.
- Buying less stuff/using up what I already have: I try and look through what I already have before going to the shops and making sure I don’t duplicate on things I already have. I’m very conscious now about what I buy and bringing stuff into my home.
- Make snacks in advance.
- Carry a water bottle/straw/beeswax at the least – there are all manner of reusable items these days, but with hand luggage space being sparse, the three things I would recommend taking are a reusable water bottle; you will always need a drink, a straw (for those inevitable holiday drinks/iced coffees) and a beeswax wrap (they fold up really small, and can be used for leftovers, a take out snack or a receptacle for all sorts of things.)
- Try to shop at local markets or stalls when buying in your destination; the food is less likely to be wrapped in plastic and the money is more likely to go to local people.
I hope this has given some inspiration/ideas and not been overwhelming. I am definitely no expert in sustainability or even close, but I think it is just about making small changes where we can to minimise our impact and send a message to industry that we want more eco-friendly options and that we are not cool with single use items ending up in the sea.
Please share any of your sustainability tips below if you wish, I’m always looking to learn!