Flight to Bali for a beach weekender? Check. Flight to Bangkok for meeting on Thursday? Check. Girl’s weekend to Hong Kong? Sign me up! How unbelievably privileged we are in Asia to hop between countries so quickly and affordably but have you ever stopped to think about the carbon footprint your jet-set lifestyle leaves behind? While we might not trade a one-hour flight for a day on the train anytime soon, what we can do is travel light, travel zero waste and offset our carbon emissions.
Did you know that the aviation industry contributes 2% of human-related CO2 emissions? It’s certainly ironic to be zero waste and travel, but we have to explore the world somehow, right? Traveling is extremely important, be it for work, vacation, or family – it’s difficult not to in this day and age. But, that doesn’t mean that we should turn a blind eye to the emissions that travel creates. By travelling zero waste, you can help offset your emissions while being extra conscious of the environment when exploring a new country. If you’re like us and travel a lot, you might want to go the extra mile to offset your carbon by doing things like planting trees (or supporting the initiative anyway).
Curious to know the impact of your travel? Check out this carbon emission calculator to see exactly how much carbon you’re contributing. Concerned? Don’t fret! If you’re looking to offset your carbon footprint made from flights, you’ve come to the right place. This is a compilation of products, recipes, apps and more that can help you achieve your zero-waste goals and travel with a little less guilt in tow.
Here to help you eat and drink zero-waste
DEEP BLUE STRAWS
Reusable straws for days full of coconuts by the beach
(SGD $3.50-12 | HKD $20-69)
Have all seen that traumatizing video of a single-use plastic straw lodged inside of a turtle? The silver lining to videos like this are that they generate a lot of awareness and the result has seen a lot of alternatives pop up. There is no need for straw guilt when you have reusable straws at your disposal (metaphorically…). Deep Blue Straws’ carries environmentally friendly straws for all your needs, even ones big enough for your bubble tea addiction.
Reusable rip-resistant bags to carry fruits, veggies and more!
(SGD $14 | HKD $80)
The beautiful Peco Bag is made of recycled plastic bottles and can hold up to 10 kgs worth of whatever your heart desire. Go wild buying that extra-large watermelon because unlike flimsy plastic bags, you can rely on the Peco bag to be tear-free and keep your goods intact. They can also be used as emergency pouches for when you end up with too much in your luggage. Buy them this month for free shipping within Singapore in honour of #plasticfreejuly.
An app for Singaporeans that allows you to out without having to carry around your own reusable dishware
barePack is changing the game for reusable tableware. Since so many people are not bothered to carry around their own reusable bowls (we don’t blame you), barePack looks to solve this problem. Go to a barePack restaurant partner and eat from their reusable containers, then return them at any other partner when you’re done. Yes, it’s that easy.
Reduce the carbon footprint with this extremely lightweight reusable bottle
(SGD $8-75 | HKD $45-432)
The -0.08 printed on the bottle reminds you how every time the bottle is filled, you save 8g of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere (that’s the CO2 emitted in the production of one single disposable 500ml plastic bottle). It is also extremely lightweight, weighing only 116 grams. And since many airports have water refill stations, it makes them cost-efficient and convenient, too.
THE SUSTAINABILITY PROJECT
Adorable wooden cutlery set for the plane
(SGD $15 | HKD $86)
No need to use disposable cutlery on the plane when you have this Asian birch wood cutlery set from The Sustainability Project. And they come in beautiful pouches so you’ll be more inclined to whip these babies out and show them off, too.
Keep it real clean
LIVE LOVE LUNA
Reusable menstrual products save luggage space AND the earth
(SGD $9-80 | HKD $52-460)
Opt for a menstrual cup for both convenience and sustainability whilst traveling for a little extra zero-waste effort. Check out the Lily Cup Compact for a collapsible menstrual cup (tampons can’t do that btw). But if the thought of using a menstrual cup still scares you, Live Love Luna has other options like cloth pads and period underwear to comfortably ease you into a waste-free period.
Natural zero waste soaps handcrafted in Singapore that are vegan and free of palm oil
(SGD $8-50 | HKD $46-288)
Looking for a convenient zero waste soap option so you don’t have to use little bottles of hotel soap? Mira has curated the perfect travel kit including a soap bar, a bug repellent lotion bar, a peppermint lip balm and an essential oil roll-on, all packaged in cute reusable pouches and containers.
For when you’re flying high
Blankets that look and feel like wool, but are made of recycled plastic bottles
(SGD $46-120 | HKD $265-687)
You know the blankets they give to you in flight that come packaged in a plastic wrap? Well, it turns out that most of the time they aren’t washed anyway. Bring your own blanket for a plastic-free, super sanitary and extra comfy journey.
Use these bright 100% cotton towels instead of tissues
(SGD $25-38| HKD $140-218)
I mean, how cute are these 100% cotton towels? Their prints are bright, colourful and are extremely versatile – perfect for wicking away the summer sweat or as a cute picnic handkerchief. They’re also ultra-light and easy to carry around, too. Check out Marleys Monsters for more cool zero waste accessories like the Unpapers Towel Set, which is a GITNB favourite.
For when you need help from the WWW
This app will locate the closest water refill station to you depending on your GPS location
The RefillMyBottle app makes it super easy for us to travel with a reusable bottle and still manage to stay hydrated. The team at RefillMyBottle believes that water is a human right and everyone has the right to water like one has the right to live. RefillMyBottle has stations at over 1,600 locations all over Southeast Asia, as well as other countries around the world, and count on its user to add entries when they find them, too.
Offset your CO2 emissions by helping to restore Earth’s tropical rainforests
ClimateForce is on a mission to offset 360 million tons of CO2 by 2025. So you’re looking to offset your emissions, you can do your part by planting trees with their help. Cool Earth is running a campaign supported by ClimateForce that relies on remote sensing technology and deep relationships with local communities to target rainforests that are at risk of destruction within 18 months, especially in Papua New Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Peruvian Amazon. Another one is Classy, that for every dollar spent they will plant one tree. A tree that grows for 40 years sequesters 1 ton of C02 and they have so far planted 2.5 million.
ZERO WASTE APP
Satisfy your zero-waste needs overseas easily with this app
Finding restaurants on vacation can be extremely difficult (we feel you vegans and vegetarians), even more so when you’re going zero waste. The Zero Waste app compiles restaurants and resources all over the world that might come in hand on holiday. This includes grocery stores, restaurants, farmers markets, second-hand shops, composting locations and more.
DIY recipes for those always on the go
Let’s be honest. Plane food doesn’t taste the best (okay it generally is just horrible), and it gets annoying when the flight doesn’t have any vegan options that aren’t potato chips or peanuts. Skip the fuss and the waste by bringing homemade granola for a healthy snack on the go. This recipe is delicious and simple and uses common ingredients you may already have in your cupboard.
Think of all the waste produced from those little travel-sized tubes of toothpaste, not to mention how store-bought toothpaste is expensive and often contains unnecessary ingredients that could be harmful to your health. See this recipe to DIY homemade toothpaste and bring it with you in a small pot to save space while keeping your pearly whites clean with little waste.