As more islands become accessible to more travelers, we need to ensure that we’re all helping preserve and protect these places, starting with adopting a plastic-free travel lifestyle. Got more bye-bye-plastic hacks? Share the intel by tagging @smilemag on Instagram or Facebook.
1. Say no to single-use plastics. If you can’t reuse it, refuse it! An estimated 192 coastal countries of the world generate 275 million metric tons of plastic waste annually, which is equivalent to 6 million Olympic-sized pools worth of plastic!
Try: buying extra large bottles of bathroom essentials and transferring them into travel-containers (Read: doing this can also be extremely therapeutic).
2. Refuse the straw. Did you know that straws are the world’s 6th most common type of plastic trash? Americans alone use 500 million straws every day. So on your next coffee or milk tea run, ask for a mug or whip out your reusable flask and your cool eco-straw to lessen the need for single-use cups and straws. Even renowned British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood got behind the #refusethestraw movement.
3. Skip toiletries with “microbeads”. It’s just another term for microplastics that can’t be filtered out in wastewater treatment facilities and end up in our oceans. Sanitary pads and diapers are similar culprits, but fear not: there is a rising market for reusable pads, diapers and menstruation cups!
4. Make your own eco-brick. For the unavoidable plastics that we consume such as packaging from our new gadgets, clothes, takeaway food and groceries, stuff them inside eco-bricks, that are now being used to build houses all over the country.
Try: checking out best practices from the environmental group, The Plastic Solution.
5. Volunteer for beach or coastal cleanups. Once you’ve gotten rid of your own plastic waste, help get rid of plastic in the sea. Plus points if you can share your diving skills to pick up ocean litter!
Try: asking locals or hotel for the weekly beach cleanup schedule on your next trip to popular beaches, or join new Manila-based group Sali Sa Alon, which is working on organizing more beach cleanups around the Philippines.