Top 10 Flamingo Tips for Sustainable Travel
When we’re home and comfortably in our daily routine, it’s easy to stay true to an eco-conscious lifestyle. But while on vacation, all those rules about recycling and composting can soon find themselves in the same throwaway pile as promises to skip dessert.
We asked our team to compile their go-to tips for eco-friendly travel, from products to bring along that cut down on waste to changes you can make in your vacationer routine.
1. PACK YOUR OWN WATER BOTTLE
A reusable bottle is a great way to cut back on plastic waste from disposable, single-use water bottles. It also requires less space for packing and less weight for hauling.
2. BRING REUSABLE FOOD CONTAINERS
Rather than using pre-packaged snacks, opt for packing fruits, veggies, sandwiches and other snack foods in reusable containers or bags. This can also help families choose healthier options, which is a great side effect.
3. WEAR ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY SUNSCREEN
Living in Florida means strong UV rays all year, and it is essential to protect your skin. More environmentally-friendly sunscreens are being released, and won’t hurt coral reefs with harmful chemicals in the water. Look for “reef friendly,” “oxybenzone free” and “non-nano zinc oxide” on the container.
4. SHOP WITH REUSABLE BAGS
Most of us tend to shop for groceries, souvenirs or other items while on vacation. A reusable shopping tote is not only an eco-friendly travel product, but it can also easily be carried in another bag for an accessible, sustainable alternative to disposable shopping bags.
5. SKIP THE STRAW
Single-use plastics, like straws, represent approximately 3 percent of the plastic waste found in the ocean, according to the 2017 Ocean Conservancy Coastal Cleanup Report. Paper, reusable metal or silicone straws help avoid that waste. Florida-based Sustainable Sippers makes paper straws that are 100 percent biodegradable.
6. PARTICIPATE IN BEACH OR COASTAL CLEANUPS
Picking up just a few pieces of harmful plastics or styrofoam and disposing of them properly not only helps the wildlife in the area but it also helps you enjoy the beach more. Leftover grocery bags or beach buckets also make for quick cleanup tools.
7. BE A RESPONSIBLE HOTEL GUEST
Reuse bath towels. Turn the lights off when you leave the room. Separate recyclables, and lower the A/C while away.
8. TREAD LIGHTLY
When exploring, be sure to leave flowers, plants and other vegetation in their place. It’s tempting to take a piece of the beauty with you, but it takes away from the natural growth, and will only last a short time once cut. Try to stay on designated paths and avoid trampling on natural landscapes. While underwater, don’t touch or step on coral reefs or stir up sediment. Never feed or touch wildlife, which leads to an unnatural reliance on humans for food and increases the potential for animal attacks.
9. TAKE SHOWERS INSTEAD OF BATHS
Showers require far less water and help make you an eco-friendly traveler.
10. EDUCATE YOUR KIDS, FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS
Sharing information with your loved ones helps spread environmentally friendly habits. Teach them about the effects of plastics and other non-biodegradable waste in the environment, and talk about the ways we can all make a small impact for greater change.
Heather Hanney Rask is the co-founder of Sustainable Sippers, a bio-degradable straw company serving consumers and businesses in Florida.
Cristy Stewart-Harfmann is the founder of Happy Family Blog, a South Florida lifestyle blog where she encourages families to celebrate everyday through travel, food, DIYs and parties.