An estimated eight million tonnes of plastic pollution pour into our oceans annually. To combat the harm that this plastic waste does to our planet, The Travel Corporation has pledged to encourage more sustainable tourism by launching the Treadright Foundation, a not-for-profit initiative.
As we see it, if you're a lover of travel, you're a lover of the world. So it seems like a fair trade: if you want to keep travelling, you have to do your part to keep the planet and all of its inhabitants healthy. To help make sustainable travel easy, the Treadright Foundation has provided 7travel readers with these 9 easy ways to travel more ethically and sustainably.
1. Invest in a reusable water bottle
While in theory plastic can be recycled, a massive 91% cannot be recycled in actuality. It takes the material more than 400 years to degrade, leaving most of our water bottle waste in landfills or, even more unfortunately, on beaches and parks. Investing in reusable water bottles will not only save you some pennies but will help with plastic consumption.
2. Carry reusable products with you
Don’t stop at a reusable water bottle. Purchase reusable utensils and your own mug for your local coffee shop trip. Not only will you be able to find a fun customised design, you’ll be able to enjoy your daily latte while avoiding styrofoam usage.
3. Use eco-friendly bags
Say no to plastic bags and purchase an eco-friendly bag or two while shopping for groceries you'll cook at your accommodation. If you're out for a leisurely shop for clothing or crafts, sport a stylish miniature cotton bag to fill with your new finds.
4. Avoid bathroom products containing micro plastic particles
While California and the UK have banned microbeads in products, a number of countries worldwide still allow them to be included in products. Found in many exfoliants and shower gels, microbeads or micro plastic particles can be ingested by marine life and can introduce pollutants into the food chain.
5. Don’t litter
This one is something we’ve been told since we were children, but it’s amazing how easy it is to forget when you’re feeling fancy-free on holiday. As much fun as picnics in the park are, it is vital you pick up after yourself. Even the smallest amount of rubbish can harm or kill native animals and wildlife.
6. Remove packaging before you travel
Your destination might not have the same recycling facilities you have at home. So the simple act of removing packaging on your toothbrush, the plastic around your soap or the plastic seal on your sunscreen before you head away will ensure you create as little waste as possible.
7. Opt for petroleum-free products
If you’re the active traveller with a fondness for surfing, you’ll most probably be a sea life lover too! Take care of the creatures you’re encountering by using environmentally-friendly products. Many of those products, including surfer wax, are made with petroleum, which can pollute the ocean and cause harm to its sea life.
8. Research your suncream
Many sunscreens are made up of oxybenzone, a common chemical that can kill coral and damage coral reefs. Opt for products without it to protect both sea life and your own skin simultaneously.
9. Snorkel or scuba respectfully
Be mindful if you engage with sea life while snorkelling or diving. Starfish should not be handled or brought out of the water. Act as an inquisitive observer – sea life and wildlife should be left alone in their natural habitats.