Zero waste tips for travellers

You’ve probably heard of a Zero Waste lifestyle, but what exactly is “Being Zero waste?” Zero Waste is a movement that consist of a goal focused on waste prevention. This could be achieved by reusing things you already have, buying less or swapping everyday items with a more sustainable option. It focuses on what contributes less to the landfill and our oceans.


At Kaya Responsible Travel, we believe in sustainability and we would like to share some of our Zero Waste tips for journeys abroad. Not only do we have some suggestions that reduce waste, but also we’ve focused on reducing the amount of bulky travel items.

So without further introduction, here are 4 Zero Waste swaps to look after the globe whilst you are out there exploring it.

Zero Waste Tips #1 Replacing Beauty and Care Products that are Bottled with Bars

The two biggest benefits of swapping to a shampoo/conditioner bar is that you won’t need to worry about accidental spillages in your travel bag and will find it much easier to pack than a shampoo bottle.

According to Lush, their shampoo bars can do the same job of three 250g bottles of liquid shampoo, depending on hair type and length – that is equivalent to 80-100 washes! As well as this, by buying a shampoo bar you are reducing your carbon footprint. Lush claims that “one lorry full of solid shampoo bars holds roughly the same number of washes as fifteen Lorries filled with liquid shampoo!” 

We understand one of the big put-offs is the price, as not everyone can afford shampoo that can cost over triple the price of your average bottled hair product. However, as the zero waste movement grows, more locally led businesses are opening shops with these types of products, more often than not, stocking bars that are a lot cheaper than other big brands. But what if these Zero Waste shops aren’t locally accessible? There are quite a few that also supply online or you could even try Etsy. You can also get packaged free cleansers, facial washes, body lotions and other skin, body and haircare products.

Did you know that we have been using soap for centuries with its origins dating as far as Ancient Egypt? Talk about throwback! You can find soap almost everywhere and you don’t have to worry about the liquid limit when travelling aboard.  

Alternatively, if shampoo/conditioner bars aren’t your thing, why not try and make your own Shampoo and Conditioner reusing bottles you already own? There are plenty of easy to follow recipes online including video tutorials on YouTube. Or if you haven’t heard there’s the “No-poo Method” which is literally just washing your hair with water, no products needed! For more information hop over to here

Zero Waste Tips #2 Investing in a Reusable Travel Bottle – no more single use plastic!

This is probably the most well-known swap, but swapping to a reusable bottle, whether plastic or stainless steel makes a massive impact when you consider all the single use cups used per day. These can be used for not just water, but for hot drinks, smoothies and fresh juice.

It is really important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re travelling to warmer countries or going on expeditions.

In other countries where tap water is considered unsafe to drink compared to bottled water, it can be tempting to stick to it, but there are refillable stations that you can visit for a small price or sometimes there are even free ones! But if there are no refillable stations near you, and buying a single use plastic bottle is unavoidable do not worry, your health is paramount – it is about doing your best to reduce, reuse and recycle when you can.

Another option to combat this issue is if you are going to a country that has undrinkable tap water, it may be possible buy a water purifier locally. The purifier will remove all bacteria from the water and if you’re going somewhere like camping or hiking where you’re not using tap water, you could buy a filter as it will remove small particles of all sorts. These filters can range from purification tablets to physical filter systems.

Clean water resource #1 

Clean water resource #2 

One thing you might not have thought about is that if you do have a reusable bottle you can use it like a hot water bottle when you’re travelling somewhere cold. Make sure to put a towel around it so you won’t be burned, especially if it is metal.

Zero Waste Tips #3 Buying Second-Hand Clothes

How about a new outfit for your travels? Second-hand is the best way to go. Not only it is incredibly cheaper than buying brand new, but you get that feel good vibe knowing you’re supporting either a locally-led business or a charity. Or an even cheaper alternative, cheaper being free, is around the country there are clothes swapping events. They are normally held in community halls, sports centres and the best way to find out where and when they are is searching through events on Facebook. If there isn’t one near you, why not hold your own with friends? If you have too many clothes, how about selling them online? There is a multitude of apps like Shpock, Vinted, Depop or Ebay to sell your unwanted clothes and get some money in return.

Need a new suitcase? There’s always some in the corner of charity shops for a fraction of the price of when it was bought new. 

Zero Waste Tips #4 Opting for a Bamboo Toothbrush

Bamboo toothbrushes might seem like a new trend to have appeared in recent years, but that is far from the truth. In actual fact, they are one of the oldest types of toothbrushes. Invented around the 15th century in China, the toothbrush would feature bamboo handles and boar hair for bristles. Today, there are many types of bristles mainly vegan.

Here is a link that can give more information to whether a Bamboo toothbrush is the right option for you.

We hope that you found some of these Zero Waste tips useful and informative. Your Zero Waste travel kit might look different from one person to another, as it depends on what you find essential or useful whilst travelling. It is a personal kit and you need to be able to understand the things that you use to tailor and build your own travel kit effectively. You do not need to feel like you need to buy loads of fancy things, especially if you have alternatives at home, because that is what the Zero Waste lifestyle is all about reusing, reducing and refusing to buy unnecessary/single use products.

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