Summer has arrived! Time to make the most of the hot weather and enjoy a well-deserved holiday break. Unfortunately, the tourism industry has a huge impact on the environment, and many travellers leave behind them a significant amount of waste without even noticing. From disposable water bottles and baby wipes, to plastic trays on the plane or single use toiletries in hotels, plastics are involved in every step of your journey. In 2016, airlines alone generated 5,2 million tonnes of waste, most of which ended up in landfill! You may also have seen pictures of white sandy beaches covered in litter, or this video from the British diver, Rich Horner, swimming in plastics in Bali, some of which have been undoubtedly generated by travellers.

To enjoy your holiday without damaging the environment, here are TerraCycle’s five tips to reduce your waste whilst traveling the world.

Bring your Zero Waste Kit

Our first advice would be to travel with a Zero Waste kit. Nothing too heavy or complicated here, but bringing a refillable bottle, a coffee cup, a tote Bag and camping cutlery will prevent you from using single use items.

For your toiletries, avoid small 100ml plastic packaging if you can. Instead, bring your own shampoo bar and solid soap, so you won’t need to use single use toiletries in hotels or planes, which most of the time end up in the bin, even if they are still half full.

To help you pack, the famous Zero Waste blogger Bea Johnson shared her tips to be an eco-friendly and minimalist traveller in this video.

Explore local Zero Waste spots

When trying to live a zero waste lifestyle, it can be tricky to find bulk shops if you are travelling away from home. A great option can be to go to farmers market, where you will find the best locally sourced products and most of the time, will be able to buy in bulk.


You can also try out local zero waste shops. To help you find them, Bea Johnson created the zero waste home app, where you can type in your location and see a list of eco-friendly stores near you. Furthermore, many of these spots are unlikely to be in your tourist guide, so this will help get you off the tourist track!

Book a plastic free holiday

Travelers are becoming more and more aware of issues related to waste and are seeking for more eco-friendly holidays. Some hotels and tour operators got the message, and are now offering plastic-free holidays, where you can relax without stressing about bumping into some unnecessary plastics.

The organisation Travel Without Plastic for example, provides a list of hotels and accommodations which are working towards being plastic free. If you prefer going on a tour, the travel agency Responsible Travel offers a whole range of plastic free holidays.

Help the planet like a local

While you are on a holiday, check out what you can do to help the planet like a local. By volunteering, you can help the planet while meeting people who care about the environment as much as you do. Why not take part in a beach clean up for example? Look up  local marine NGOs which regularly organise beach clean ups. If you are travelling in remote places, check out volunteering opportunities in national parks, many of them are looking for people to help out during the high season.

You can even combine sightseeing and litter picking by fishing for plastics in Amsterdam during a canal tour organised by the company Plastic Whale, on their boat made of recycled materials!

Recycle with TerraCycle

When you can’t avoid waste, make sure you recycle it properly. Recycling collection systems are very specific to each country you are travelling in, so you can ask people what you can recycle or not, or do a bit of research beforehand.

For everything which is not recyclable, TerraCycle can help. We have friendly collectors all around the world, and if you are travelling in one of the 21 countries we operate in, why not check out the nearest TerraCycle public drop off collection point? We operate in the US, UK, Republic of Ireland, France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and New Zeland. If you meet with a fellow TerraCycle collector from somewhere else in the world, please let us know, we would love to create a community of recyclers around the world!

Finally, when you bring home your tired flip flops, which are not always very environmentally friendly, you can send them to TerraCycle to be recycled through the Zero Waste Box for flip flops. We also have a Zero Waste Box for luggage and Travel Bags, and would love to recycle yours if you don’t use them anymore!


We hope these tips will be useful, and that you are ready to go on a eco friendly holiday. If you are a Zero Waste explorer and have travelled the world without using plastics, please let us know, we would love to hear from you!

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