Eco Conscious Travel: Single Use Plastic In Transit

It’s absolutely incredible how much single use plastic there is on planes, in airports and in hotels. Especially when you’re plans go a bit out of the window – it’s almost impossible to avoid this stuff.

Initially when we started this journey to Brazil I had such good intentions to do all the right things to avoid single use plastics, like taking my re-usable kit with me in my carry-on bag, and I even packed a lunch on the first day for us to have on the plane.

But all of this kind of got left by the way-side a bit when we became stuck in transit in Melbourne for almost a week while we dealt with some visa issues for Teilo.

It’s this culture of everything being wrapped singularly for individual use, particularly in the thought of ‘hospitality’ – and it really strikes me - the lack of quality of this kind of hospitality – and I don’t mean the service people are providing us – because they can only do so much within such a narrow window of what this system has created as being hospitable. I think we need to rediscover the true meaning of what it means to be hospitable – the kind that you feel and experience when you go to visit your grandmother’s house or an old friend, this kind of warm, generous and inviting atmosphere that makes you feel nourished and cared for on a personal level.

Today’s culture – this entire system – is wrapped up in plastic. Like, literally – you can pay someone at the airport to wrap your luggage in fucking miles of cling wrap for fear of your suitcase being broken into! But even if it’s your intention to steer clear of this, it’s so overwhelmingly part of this system that it really feels futile sometimes to avoid it.

For example, Jonas and I were forced to stay in Melbourne for this week – which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. But even just staying in hotels – one cheap hotel we stayed in gave us ‘breakfast included’ in the fee which was literally a milk popper with plastic straw wrapped in more plastic, an awful muffin – in plastic, a single serve of cereal – in plastic of course, with an up and go – in another plastic case – all together in it’s own plastic box with plastic utensil – x 3 for each of us. Horrendous! And yet Jonas and I ate parts of it that evening because we had not eaten anything at all and needed something – and by that time it was too late to buy anything – by that time it was past midnight as we’d been stuffing around at the airport for hours waiting to collect our bags and dealing with people from the airlines. Anyway, that’s another story…

So our options are terrible quality foods (can you even call it real food?) served inside layers upon layers of individual plastic that just go in the bin – and it not only costs you an exorbitant amount of money for what it’s worth – but ask yourself truly what it’s costing you – this earth – our home? What we need is a complete revolution of the system – For example – I’m sure there are a number of talented industrial type designers out there that could come up with a way to make air travel more comfortable for people – but no – it has to be this cramped, uncomfortable, tasteless, plastic filled experience. Why?

And I know that it’s really a bit of a rhetorical question – because I think I already know the answer – Money! And so called ‘convenience’ – because we’ve already got this system in place – so it’s easy for people to just stick with what they know – why question it? Why would the average person go to all that effort to challenge this paradigm when everything just gets handed to them on a plastic platter? I have an answer why, but I think I’m making my point here implicitly. And the people making money from the way it currently works are not willing to let that go very easily. So what happened to true quality hospitality – real people to people services, authenticity?

I think It’s absolutely possible to integrate less waste practices into our travel experiences, but are we just too lazy now days to stand up and paddle against this plastic river rushing towards us? All I can say is, despite how hard it’s been – I still hold to my intention to travel with less waste! Each little piece you say no to counts for something – even if it’s to open up the eyes and mind of the person offering it to you. It’s all a chain reaction and a positive step in the right direction to changing this system.

Just remember – production follows demand – so if we can cease the demand for plastics – especially single use – by refusing these products whenever and wherever we can – we cease the need to produce it.


Vesica is another Eco Conscious Brand that I support and have been working with recently. Best known for their stylish reusable water bottles and artisan leather water bottle cases (which I personally travel with and use all the time!) - and have a whole range of high quality Eco Friendly Products that will last a lifetime. From the plastic free water bottles and signature handmade cases, to the range of sustainable wooden sunglasses, thermoses, bamboo toothbrushes and coconut products for sustainable less waste living. Based in Brisbane and travel up and down the East Coast of Australia and all over in their Van attending creative arts, music and Eco Conscious festivals and markets.

Vesica's Blog.

I discovered BIOME Eco Stores a while ago - and they have a whole range of awesome eco friendly and zero waste products available that I personally use and recommend. Here's an Affiliate Link:

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