Zero waste holiday successes and failures.

Our first and possibly worst plastic free fail came pretty quick…

PLANE MEALS

When we booked our flights in January we didn’t really think about the waste incurred when selecting in flight meals.

Opt out.

Firstly they’re shit (photo above) and secondly you are guaranteed a bread roll wrapped in plastic, plastic cutlery (wrapped in plastic), a tiny plastic bottle of water. In fact everything you get is wrapped in plastic.

So BYOF. Get those sandwich wraps/beeswax wraps/lunch tins/Water bottles out and fill them up. Most airports have water refill points now after security.

We had brought sandwiches as we always have done for short haul flights so didn’t even need the stinking plane fry up we got served. This made it even more annoying that we’d selected it as an option in the first place. Next time we’ll learn and patch the in flight food option when booking.

BE PREPARED


Both Toronto and Montreal have nice drinking water so this eliminates any need for plastic water bottles. We bring our own everywhere and can refill when we need (there is actually a fair few water fountains in both cities). Without clean water it becomes more difficult but looking out for glass bottles in bars/restaurants shops is one option.

Our bags don’t look much different from home. They still have lunch tins, keep cups, metal straws, water bottles in them. Even if you don’t prep lunch in advance the tins till come in handy when getting food on the go.

BE CONFIDENT

Travelling to new countries is always daunting. Different languages, cultures and ways of doing things adds barriers. Asking for no bag, or for them not to wrap it in plastic, or that you don’t want a straw does become harder.

NOBODY CARES. Every time we have asked the question the other person hasn’t given two shits if we want to use our one tin, or our own bags or that we brought our own straw. Once we realised this it made us feel quadruply as stupid for not asking every time. The stereotype is right, Canadians are super friendly and happy to accommodate.

HUNT OUT A MARKET / REFILL


Toronto is a huge city, full of consumerism, convenience foods and unnecessary plastic. However we also found loads of refill options for dried foods and plastic free fruit and veg. Once we’d had enough of fries, hotdogs and pancakes we had a successful plastic free shop at a market ‘downtown’.

Whenever we go away we always notice that there are far more local shops with fresh, package free produce than in the UK. Have a good look around and see whats on offer where you’re staying.

THE USUAL ACCIDENTS

Of course no matter how hard you try, you’ll always slip up without realising. Ordering an iced coffee to sit in and receiving it in a plastic cup…Gah. Forgetting bamboo cutlery at a street festival and using a plastic fork (don’t tell anyone). Thinking we’d found an ice lolly place that did them packaging free then they just came in plastic anyway.

Stuff like this isn’t isolated to our holidays and we don’t have a jar instead of a bin and we do create waste, not a lot, but still too much. Making regular changes to reducing waste is important and with every mistake we learn how not to make it next time.

Have some fun and don’t beat yourselves up about it.