14 Tips for Zero Waste Travel: How to get a zero waste traveller


zero waste travel

It’s crazy how much waste we produce during our holidays. We want to actively counteract this trend – not only with our products, but also through educating others how to reduce waste. We collected 14 tips on how you can make your next trip to a zero-waste experience:

  1. Drinking bottle:
    No matter where in the world you are, drinking from a plastic bottle usually means having produced waste immediately. A plastic bottle deposit system is only known in Germany and some countries in Europe. Therefore, it is a great alternative to always bring your own reusable water bottle. This way you do not only save unnecessary plastic waste, but you also save money.
    Most hotels and hostels offer some kind of water refill – often for free. You can also get your smoothie and other to-go drinks in your own bottle.
    Especially in hot countries, when you need to drink a lot, it makes a huge difference when you bring you own water bottle.
  2. No plastic bags for laundry or cosmetics:
    Many travellers use plastic bags to store their dirty clothes or zip-bags for cosmetics. Because of their quality these bags can’t be used many times before they rip open and have to be discarded.
    Take an extra fabric bag with you to store your laundry. We even included one for you in our Packing Cube Set, which can be used as laundry bag or backpack for daytrips.
    For cosmetics you can use a see-through washbag or a silicone bag, when you have liquids with you. They are made from plastic as well but can be used many years.
  3. Solid soap and shampoo:
    If you want to refrain from plastic waste you could also bring solid soap, shampoo, and lotions. You can store them in a tin container once they got wet. You will not have to worry about liquids in your bag and protect the environment at the same time.
  4. Reusable cotton pads:
    For your facial care and taking off make-up we recommend using reusable cotton pads, which are made from bamboo for example. They are washable and therefore usable for several years.
  5. Metal straw:
    “Skip the straw, save a turtle” is a phrase used in many countries. And that is exactly how it is. You could order your cocktail without a straw or bring your own alternative made from bamboo or metal always with you.
    This might seem like something unnecessary, but straws and other small parts of plastic are usually found in the stomachs of fish, sea birds or turtles.
  6. Spork and pocketknife:
    If you order food to-go cutlery made of wood or metal is quite practical. Also, a spork – a mixture of spoon and fork – or a pocketknife could be useful essentials. You will be able to order your food without using unnecessary plastic cutlery from the restaurant. This also refers to the airplane.
  7. Go paperless:
    Whether books, maps, or tickets – we can find everything online. You can download your ticket for plane, train, or entrance on your phone. There are several apps for maps, and you can even plan your routes and mark your sights on them. And the best about these apps: you can download everything you need as well so you will not even need internet connection.
    With an eBook-Reader you are able to bring all your books with you. This way you not only safe a lot of luggage, but you also safe the forest when you do not buy all your books in paper form.
  8. Bring your lunch box or bee wax cloths:
    Every time you order your food for takeaway you produce a small pile of waste. Lunch boxes are not only practical for the food you order but also if you want to bring your own food or snacks on the plane or on a hike.
    Bee wax cloths are an amazing replacement for plastic to wrap solid foods and they are reusable.
  9. Menstruation cups:
    A lot of waste is produced through single use menstruation products. With this practical cup you not only save all the waste, but you save money as well as it is a one-time investment. You can simply rinse the cup with water and cook it in water for disinfection.
    Additionally, it is made from medical silicone and doesn’t contain any chemicals that are bad for your body like in many tampons and bandages.
  10. Metal razor:
    Metal razors are a lot more environmentally friendly than plastic razor or single-use razor. The blades are also more durable so that you do not need to bring many during your trips.
  11. Shopping bag:
    In a lot of countries, it is still common to use plastic bags for shopping. It is easy to bring your own fabric shopping bag to avoid this and to store all your products.
  12. On the plane:
    Bring an extra sweater and scarf so you do not have to use the blankets on the plane that are wrapped in plastic. Also bring your own toothbrush and paste on the plane as well as headphones so you do not have to use the single use products.
  13. Choose your accommodation wisely:
    You can already decide before your trip to travel with less waste. The first step is to book an hotel or hostel that is environmentally friendly and might even advertise zero waste. Here you can be sure to live sustainable and that no unnecessary waste is produced for your stay.
  14. Experiences instead of souvenirs:
    Many people still buy souvenirs during their trips in foreign countries to have something for the memories. In the end these things end up in a cupboard and are never touched again. Therefore, we recommend buying experiences instead of things. They are way more memorable anyways!


We know it can be quite hard to have all the little things in mind during your travels. But remember: It does not have to be perfect! Try your best and see which things you can replace with a better alternative to plastic like glass, metal, or bamboo.

You also help a lot through educating others and spreading awareness about sustainable traveling and living in general.

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