Five items that don’t have to hit the trash when you travel this summer

Summer is a time of whimsy, fun, and often lots of traveling. Being on the go and trying to not work so hard can mean that your green sensibilities go right out the window the way some people toss their fast food bags as they cruise down the highway.

Certainly you won’t become a summertime litterbug, but it can’t be denied that theme parks, stadiums, fairs and concerts generate some massive piles of garbage in the name of recreation. If that’s where you’re headed, here are some quick tips to make sure you can have fun and take good care of the earth while you play.

You can create less waste by avoiding:

  1. Single serving snack packaging: Make your own or buy normal sizes and split into reusable containers.
  2. Disposable cups and straws: Bring your own and ask if you can use it at restaurants and gas stations. Better yet, drink water in reusable bottles.
  3. Theme park and zoo maps: Harness the power of technology. Can you get the park map on your phone? Added bonus – no folding involved, either!
  4. Paper towels in the restroom: Commit to using the blow dryers or air drying if they’re not available. It is summer, after all.
  5. Wasted food: If you have kids, let them know up front that everyone might not be allowed to order their own meal. Splitting and being realistic about portions needed not only saves you money, but sets a good example about planning ahead to avoid waste.

Photo by Mrs. Bennettar
Sometimes, such as at a baseball game when you’re not allowed to bring your own food, the waste issue is out of your hands. Don’t worry too much about buying a snack at a game if it’s something you want to do anyway, but you can always make priorities like avoiding Styrofoam and shooting for the sweet treat in cardboard packaging instead.

As you pack snacks for the road when you are fully in charge, take an additional step and try to use eco-friendly bags. I recently wrote some more tips for traveling without plastic that you might find helpful.

What other tips do you have for traveling in eco-friendly style?

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Katie Kimball is a mother of three from Michigan who spends a ton of time in the kitchen making real food with whole ingredients, and then blogs about her successes and failures at Kitchen Stewardship.

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  1. What a wonderful list – thank you!! 🙂

    I find that my kid always needs tissues in the car, like when she eats ice cream back there. I always have a box of those disposable wet napkins with me (bought in the despair of the moment a last summer), but I’m thinking that cloth napkins soaked in some water and zip locked up would be just as good and a lot more eco friendly. And if water isn’t enough, some oil would work wonders with it. A few drops of essential oil would sanitize it and make it smell lovely, too. 🙂

  2. I try to bring extra washcloths and towels to use as napkins or to clean up spills or as an impromptu blanket when things get cold.

  3. Funny you posted this today, we are going to a whitecaps game tonight! We are packing PB’s & PBJ’s for before and after (it is an hour drive) along with frozen water bottles but I don’t think they will be frozen long in 90 degree weather!

  4. We bring washcloths in the car ~ just add a little water from your bottle and they are good to go! We use them at home, too, then recycle them as cleaning rags once they are too worn out for little hands/faces.

  5. Good tips. I find that as I portion down, or prepare items for storage or travel, that I use more zip lock baggies than before. As I cook and eat better with home made items, I travel and store more in non-reusable packaging! Now that I am aware of it, I have to make an effort to use the Tupperware/Corning-wear. Interesting how one thing leads to another. Have you seen the reusable sandwich baggies available from Lehmans?

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