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Reducing Plastic Waste on Travel - Himalayan Footsteps

More and more travellers would like to travel in an environmentally aware way. One of the things they should think about is the waste left behind, a major problem of the tourism industry. Most of the pristine places we love to choose as holiday destinations have no or insufficient facilities to recycle or even just get rid of waste at all. With every tourist leaving behind piles of empty plastic bottles, bags and other packaging, this creates a huge amount of waste the area has to deal with.

A large amount of that waste consists of empty water bottles: In many countries tap water is not safe for drinking, so buying bottles is the only solution, right? – Wrong. Here are some suggestions how to avoid them:

  • Water purifier: They purify and get rid of any bacteria and other nasty things in in the water. Costs range between £30 and £80, but the purifier can be used at home and abroad, making it a budget friendly alternative when used a lot.
  • Chlorine Dioxide Tablets: They are a safe and effective water desinfectant and leave it drinkable. To disguise a nasty taste they can’t get rid of you might want to add flavours.
  • Boiling: This is the oldest known way of purification: Boil water for at least 1 minute (3 minutes in high altitudes) to make it safe for drinking.
  • Water Coolers: You can fill up your empty bottle at water coolers in hotels, banks or other large shops.
  • Large Water Containers: If you don’t have any means of purifying water, try buying a large container of drinking water and fill up your bottle from there, instead of buying many small bottles.

Other possibilities to reduce waste left behind are:

  • Reduce the amount of packaging taken on holidays. All plastic wrapping  can be disposed of more effectively at home, where there are recycling facilities.
  • Take reusable containers for food, instead of wrapping your packed lunch in plastic bags.
  • Take your rubbish from very remote regions with you until you reach larger towns, where disposal facilities exist.
  • Use environmental friendly bathroom products, and use them sparingly to minimize impact on the local water supply and to make it last longer.
  • Use cotton bags for your shopping and reuse any plastic bags you get, for example to keep your kit dry.
  • Buy fruit and vegetables without packaging.