17 Sep #ZeroWaste Travel Tips from Tiffany & Nicolas – Before you Leave 1
Check out the first of a series of 3 imaginative, simple and impactful zero waste travel tips by our Ambassadors.
We are Nicolas and Tiffany, a French couple that decided in 2016 to quit our jobs and leave our sedentary lives behind. But we did not want to do the same with our eco-friendly lifestyle, as we had started a minimalistic and Zero Waste journey long before deciding on a worldwide one. Our Zero Waste journey started when Tiffany went to India and saw all the trash everywhere she realized that it isn’t because in our western countries it’s taken care of (out of sight out of mind eh?) that it doesn’t exist and isn’t a problem. When she came back she read Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson, the woman who sort of started the whole Zero Waste lifestyle movement. Here is her website – also if you want to read her book, we thoroughly recommend it – but remember to buy it second hand !
So we became Waste-free Wanderers – and after 1.5 years of travelling, a few clean up sessions and some networking, we stumbled upon My Green Trip ! They kindly invited us to write a few articles about our adventure and how we prepared it so you too could see how to limit your waste output while on the road. Whether you are a Glamorous instaGirl, a Blog-free Backpacker or a Typical Tourist we promise that there are SIMPLE and EFFICIENT ways to reduce the amount of waste that will eventually end up in landfill, on a beach or… in a My Green Trip cleanup bag !
This is our first article… We hope you’ll enjoy it because there will be more to come!
Article1: Before you leave : prepare your gear without creating waste.
One of the first principles of a Zero Waste lifestyle is not to encourage companies to produce more than is needed – but that’s exactly what we are doing when we buy our gear anew. How many people go on holiday and buy a brand new guidebook or mountaineering sleeping bag that they will use once for 2 weeks and then put in a cupboard to gather dust ?
The problem is that they are effectively telling companies « yes, produce more of these, they are needed! » when actually there are more than enough of these objects already lying around unused.
So : how else can you get the stuff you need for your trip ?
1. Old is the new New : try buying your gear second hand – there are many benefits to this : no labels and packaging, it’s tried and tested so you can check for any weak spots, + you’ll spend less on gear and have more for actually travelling ! We found our kit by surfing online (think Gumtree, Ebay, Leboncoin, Amazon researching the used articles, Facebook Market Place etc..), and by searching in second hand shops & charities (think Oxfam, Humana, Emmaus, Red Cross…). You could also try car boot / yard sales !
2. Keep your eyes open : one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Ask your friends and family if they have any of the objects you might need going to waste somewhere in their attic, or just keep alert at all times : we actually found one of our travel cooking pots in a street whilst walking around Paris ! It was free and we rescued it from landfill !
3. How long do you need it for ? Maybe you could get by just renting or borrowing some of your gear : go to a library for your guidebook, take your dad’s rucksack he won’t need till the summer, or rent the gas cooker instead of buying one. You can find rental ads on 3rd party websites (Mutum, Smiile, Gumtree…) or professional ones (thecampkit, outdoorsgeek, mountainsidegearrental, etc, always depending on where you live).
We rented camping gear in Kirghistan and made a stove out of 2 cans of beer we found in the trash – here is a tutorial if you are interested.
That’s all for now – next time we will talk about what you can take with you to help reduce your waste output !