Low waste travel : It’s possible!

As time goes on, I face more and more challenges in trying to be faithful to my love and care for the environment. From the moment I decided I was going to do it right, so it happened. And there were no exceptions. But sometimes, things get a little bit harder and that’s where I need to be even more focused and organized. I believe that there’s always a way to stay true to our principles, in order to protect the environment and our health.

A person who cares about the environment, is/ needs to be organized. They have habits and preferences, they follow a pattern. For them, traveling is always a bit more difficult, because they leave their daily routines and rituals.

Changing one’s habits for the good of the environment is in itself a journey outside their comfort zone. In fact, when a journey outside the comfort zone = home literally happens, the challenge is double. Or at least that’s the first thought … After all, what is the real challenge? After all, there’s a way to care for the environment even when traveling!

I recently traveled to Paris. *hearts floating over my head and a violin playing in the background*

Staying organized, I managed to travel low waste and that makes me feel SO accomplished. This way I enjoyed my trip twice as much! In this article, I would like to share with you my own experience on traveling sustainably, hoping that each of the items I share with you will be a useful for your next trip!

  1. I didn’t print my ticket.
    Let’s start with the basics. I have a smartphone, that’s why I chose to receive the boarding pass in QR code. Nothing new, right? Still, quite an important detail!
  2. I didn’t eat on the plane.
    Okay, this may sound hardcore. But it’s not really. The truth is that, it’s a pleasant surprise when you’re on your seat and suddenly a meal comes to you! But it’s all plastic. Plastic packaging, plastic cutlery, plastic bag with crackers, plastic box with honey. So much plastic. I didn’t accept it. I had breadsticks and cereal bars with me from home. After all, airplane food isn’t that great, right?
    (We always talk about companies that bring you food during the flight and not about those that almost ask you for food during the flight.)
  3. I asked them to fill my water bottle on the plane.
    I gave my metal bottle to the polite stewardess and asked her to fill it with water. She was a little confused, but it doesn’t matter. We will get used to it someday!
  4. Every cosmetic item I had was solid.
    My shampoo, my body soap, my deodorant are all solid. This way, I don’t create garbage using non-toxic products and I didn’t need a separate bag for liquids during boarding control. Ha!
  5. My bag was super organized.
    I had recycled tissues, cloth pouches for snacks and my silicone case for nuts. I also had my biodegradable bags with me so that if I had to throw something away, I could use them!
  6. Croissant bag.
    I bought butter croissants several times. Sometimes I bought two in a row. But that’s not the issue/ The point is that for the first time, they put it in a recyclable paper bag. I accepted it and after eating, I cleaned it and kept it in my bag, just in case. The next time, I bought my croissant in bulk. After eating it at that moment, I would swallow it in 15 seconds. What should I do with the bag? Finally the first bag returned to Athens with me.
  7. 1 bottle of water.
    In Paris, I walked about 10 hours a day, non-stop. It turned out that if you leave the house at 07:30 in the morning and get back at 20:00 in the evening, a single metal water bottle is not enough. So on the second day, I bought aplastic water bottle. I had been walking for a long time, I was very thirsty, my water bottle was empty and I started to feel dizzy from the dehydration. I went into an bakery and bought the plastic bottle even though I felt bad. The feeling was very strange because it had been a long time since the last time I drank from a plastic mouthpiece, but I had gone many hours without water and I really couldn’t do it anymore. I’m sorry if my narrative is exaggerated, but that ‘s how I experienced this situation. As soon as I drank the water, I took the bottle home. In the following days I filled both this bottle and my reusable water bottle and so I jhad enought water. At the end of the trip, I threw the bottle in the recycle bin, hoping that France does better waste management than Greece.
  8. Shakespeare and Co Café.
    Or “second home”. Those of you who have been to Paris will surely know this historic bookstore.
    Right next door, the bookstore cafe has opened. I loved it since last year when I visited it for the first time and this year it became my hangout spot for many reasons. First of all, it’s perfectly located, opposite to the Notre Dame de Paris. Outside, there are many street musicians playing either violin, saxophone, or beautiful female voices with their guitar. I was lucky enough to come across a musician every day and I got emotional every time. How can’t I? It was like I was in a Woody Allen movie. Apart from these graphic details that helped me experience everything to the max, Shakespeare and Co. Café was also sustainable. The menu, offered several vegan options and that was very convenient for me. The napkins were made of recycled paper and they never added straws to any drink. In addition, they had a cute jug from which you could refill your own reusable water bottle! This is where I filled my bottles in the middle of the day, so that I could continue exploring. And as soon as my visit to Shakespeare’s cafe was over, I distributed my rubbish in the special bins they had: recycling and other rubbish.
  9. La maison du zéro déchet
    This shop was recommended to me by my good friend Valia and I visited it with great joy. The title means “The house with zero garbage” or “Zero Waste Home” and it is a place where various products are sold without packaging (such as soaps in bulk, loose toothbrushes, etc.), books about the environment, avoiding plastic etc and there are also seminars for every age. Visiting this store made me very happy and inspired me greatly.

My trip to Paris was unique, again! I feel like I did it my best in following my principles regarding environmental protection and my non-toxic lifestyle. That’s why, the experience is even more rewarding for me.

I hope that by reading this article, you will get many ideas for your next trip.
If you have any eco-friendly tips for your travels, share them down below!

See you soon,

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