6 Ways to Achieve Sustainable Travel and Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

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6 Ways to Achieve Sustainable Travel and Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

The travel industry currently contributes around eight percent of global carbon emissions, and that number is only expected to grow if trends don't change. To reduce your carbon footprint and become a more sustainable traveler, consider incorporating these tips into your travel habits and packing list.

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6 Ways to Achieve Sustainable Travel and Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Stay on the Ground

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The argument against flying is not without merit: one long-distance flight emits around two tonnes of carbon, about as much as a half-hectare of forest can absorb in one year, and contributes to more than half of all travel related carbon emissions. If flying is necessary for your trip, consider planting trees to offset your carbon footprint and donating to forestry conservation efforts. Once you arrive at your destination, try renting a bicycle or walking wherever possible instead of hiring a taxi or bus.

Ditch the Motors

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Choose to participate in activities with low environmental impact. For example, instead of joining a whale-watching tour where motorized transport is used, check out kayak rental options and enjoy the water without leaving engine oil or noise pollution behind.

Reduce Your Plastic Use

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Reduce your reliance on disposable plastic products by packing a stainless steel reusable water bottle and cotton-fiber shopping tote. Consider alternative to the plastic products you use everyday - for example, over one billion plastic toothbrushes end up in landfills in the USA alone each year. Switch to a bamboo-handled toothbrush and a wooden comb or hairbrush.

Shop Wisely

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Avoid shopping for items made from nylon, acrylic and polyester, as these synthetic fibers are a form of plastic which are detrimental to the environment when they end up in a landfill. Check clothing labels for natural fibers like cotton, linen and flax, and choose accessories made from jute, paper, stone, straw, bamboo and other natural products. At markets or food vendors where disposable plastics are commonly used, you could even go so far as to pack your own travel kit of eating utensils, bamboo straws and reusable hand towels to minimize your impact.

Support the Cause

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Support businesses committed to making sustainable choices. Many hotels have already shifted towards using large, refillable dispensers instead of single-use plastic bottles and installing card key activated electricity systems to reduce energy consumption. Reduce strain on the local freshwater supply by choosing not to wash hotel linens daily, and dining on room service will save the plastic waste that comes with eating takeout.

Choose Locally Sourced Foods

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Instead of heading for the nearest convenience store or supermarket, check for any local markets happening in your area. Even big cities are happy to host regular farmer's markets, and bringing your own shopping bags means you can forego plastic packing supermarkets are known to overuse. In addition, choosing restaurants which use locally sourced ingredients not only supports the local economy, but reduces the carbon footprint of the shipping industry, as produce doesn't need to travel as far.

In Conclusion

Even a small change in your daily habits can have a huge environmental impact. Consider making greener choices and reducing your plastic waste at home wherever possible, and it'll be easier to keep good, sustainable habits when on the road too.