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zero waste travel

zero waste travel: start buying as if nothing gets recycled

Written by Local Time

This is the first in a five-part series on how to travel zero waste.

start buying as if nothing gets recycled.

(North) Americans generate 25% more waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than the rest of the year. 

This week, citing the above statistic from the Environmental Protection Agency, the New York Times posted a video op-ed to “debunk a recycling myth that has lulled us into guilt-free consumption for decades.”

This five-minute reality check ends with a motto to live by: “Start buying as if nothing gets recycled.”

Having delayed launch until we could deliver Local Time’s micronutrient formulas in bio-based home compostable packaging, this mantra really speaks to us. As we continue seeking ways to reduce the waste our products bring to market as a company, we want to support individual efforts to land on local time as a savvy zero waste traveler. 

The research tells us that small, doable steps stand the greatest chance of changing our habits. So while we believe zero waste is the goal, reducing the amount of waste we generate en route is a powerful step in a positive direction. 

We’ve been inspired to compile – and practice – a roster of handy zero waste tips and strategies in a variety of travel settings, from packing and navigating the airport to in-flight and at your destination. Rolling out as a five-part series, we hope our zero waste travel guide will support your wellness journey this busy travel holiday season and beyond.

your zero waste flight path: the 5 r’s

As a starting point, here are five mantras to activate as you travel to get into a zero waste mindset. 

  1. Refuse: Refusing to pack, purchase, or accept anything that could end up in the trash allows you to avoid the landfill every time.

  2. Reduce: Reducing the amount of “stuff” you pack, purchase, or accept makes for both a lighter suitcase and footprint on the planet.

  3. Reuse: Reusing everyday items en route (such as bags, jars and containers) incentivizes you to avoid anything disposable.

  4. Repurpose/Repair: Repurposing items you already own saves resources and invites creativity. If something rips, breaks, or tears, imagine how you might adapt it into something unique and useful. (It also makes for a better story.)

  5. Recycle: Recycling is our “last resort” mantra for waste. Keep in mind less developed countries typically lack a recycling infrastructure. Sure, recycling beats a landfill, but less bad doesn’t equal good. If you must discard anything, find out how to recycle it responsibly whenever possible.

Up next in our Zero Waste Travel series: How to Pack for Any Adventure

Over the next two weeks, we’ll map out the best moment to activate these zero waste mantras on each step of your journey. Stay tuned for the next tips guide in our five-part series, How to Pack for Any Adventure.