Cutting down on creating trash

  • Wednesday, October 23, 2019 1:30pm
  • Opinion

I am going to admit something here: when I travel, I create trash. Lots and lots of trash. Know that this is not something I strive for. In fact, I try to be relatively thoughtful about what I need to bring with me to create less trash. But I often find myself in an unknown area — I am thirsty, hungry, in a rush, and have five or more kids in tow that are all in the same boat. Therefore, I create lots of trash.

So much of the trash that I personally create when I travel has to do with food or hydration. In an effort to cut down on my trash creating, I did a little digging to find ways to cut down on the problem and separated these efforts into categories — beginning, intermediate and advanced. We are all in different stages of trying to change our habits, and I hope to encourage you to take some of these tasks on in whatever stage you are in:


Carry a water bottle and a reusable coffee cup and straw.

Stash a few utensil packs in your bag.

Bring extra bags (reusable grocery, silicone ziplocks).

Ask for food to be put into compostable containers if possible.

*** See below for extra credit


Look for restaurants that serve on plates, not in to-go containers.

Look for food at local markets, rather than big-box stores to buy produce and cut down on produce wrapped in plastic .

Refuse the giveaways (mini shampoo, conditioner, soaps).

Fill reusable containers (100ML) for shampoo, conditioner, and soaps.

Use public transportation instead of a cab or Uber.


Refuse plane snacks and drinks to avoid the packs and cups.

Bring toothpaste bites instead of toothpaste tubes.

Talk to the managers at hotels and give them feedback on how they are doing with their sustainability efforts .

Bring your trash home with you to recycle if it cannot be recycled where you are .

Try flying less and travelling more locally.

*** Extra credit: At our very own New Seasons, located on Mercer Island, they have paper containers in the back of the deli section and will put your salads, meatballs and amazing chicken parmesan in a paper container — but only if you ask for it. So next time you are there, refuse the plastic container and ask for a paper one.

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