saving around 50,000 single-use plastic bottles this year.”
Making a difference Another option is partaking in citizen science. Lizzie Carr launched Plastic Patrol (plasticpatrol.co.uk) in 2016 after paddle-boarding the length of England’s waterways solo and unsupported. On the 22-day journey she gathered more than 2,000 photos of plastic pollution. As well as organising regular clean-ups along waterways, collecting plastic waste en route, they have since developed the Plastic Patrol app that encourages you to collect and photograph plastic waste on your travels and then geotag its location.
To date, 71,323 photos have been shared from 37 countries worldwide. Academics and scientists then review that data to determine the types of plastic, their distribution and which brands appear most often.
“Building up evidence-based data allows us to have conversations with policymakers to stop the flow at the source – and travellers can be a part of that research,” says Carr. “Crowdsourcing data is the future. For example, if a certain brand of coffee cups are found to be the most frequently occurring brand of waste in an area, we can go to the company with that evidence and ask how they plan to tackle it,” she adds. “We’re not in it to name and shame – it’s about trying different solutions.”
Plastic Patrol’s founder is the first to admit: “Swapping out plastic for paper, for example, also comes at an environmental cost.” But this is where the consumer comes in. As sustainability expert Anna Lappé points out: “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want”.
What Can You Do?
There are lots of simple ways you can reduce waste plastic
INVEST IN… A ilter bottle – Reusable „ilter bottles, such as Waterto-Go (watertogo.eu), mean you can „ill up from local taps regardless of water quality. Wateratairports.com also lists airports in which you can „ill up your bottle for free.
Reusable cutlery – A good carry-on option is the Light My Fire spork, available at Blacks (£2.50; blacks.co.uk).
A reusable tea/coffee cup – Ecoffee Cup (£11; ecoffeecup.eco) offer a range of designs and sizes, while Stojo makes a collapsible version (£10; johnlewis.com).
A soap bar – Wash yourself and your clothes for less luggage allowance space. Lucy Bee (lucybee.com) produces organic palm oil-free soap (from £8) for the face and body, while Lush (uk.lush.com) offer a variety of shampoo and conditioner bars (from £7.50).
A cloth bag – For market trips.
A transparent toiletries bag – Get a clear bag for all your carry-on 100ml liquids.
An eco-friendly menstrual cup – Ladies, swap out your plastic-applicator tampons and their wrappings for a Mooncup (£22; mooncup.co.uk), a reusable soft medical-grade silicone menstrual cup.
A reusable laundry bag – Guppyfriend (guppyfriend. com) produce laundry bags that catch the microplastic „ibres that your clothes shed during washing.
AVOID… Plastic straws – The market is brimming with eco-friendly alternatives, including BPA-free silicone straws from Seraphina’s Kitchen (£12.20; amazon.co.uk), stainless-steel straws from Lakeland (£6; lakeland.co.uk), and a bamboo version from EcoStrawz (£3.50; ecostrawz.co.uk).
Travel-size toiletries – Look instead for reusable 100ml clear bottles (to pass through airport security) and pots and re„ill them as needed.
Airline comfort kits – We all love a freebie, but the miniature toothbrushes, toothpastes and lip balms these kits contain aren’t kind to the environment. By extension, take your own headphones and a large scarf/blanket for the „light instead of using the plastic-wrapped ones provided.
Hotel miniatures – Bring your own shampoo/soap bars (see ‘Invest in’) and toothpastes and speak to the hotel about removing their throwaway bottles/plastic tubes. If enough guests comment on it, they might change their ways.
Wet wipes – These can be handy when camping but are known to clog sewer systems and plague ocean wildlife, plus most brands contain plastic. Opt instead for the Aquaint (£1.80) variety sold by Jojo Maman Bebe (jojomamanbebe.co.uk); they’re 100% biodegradable and made from dispersible cellulose plant „ibres.
94 wanderlust.co.uk June 2019