Waste reduction travel tips

These simple tips to reduce waste while travelling where created while on a trip to Japan but can transfer to most countries.

Reusable water bottle

Japan has a very high standard of drinking water, most cafes or restaurants will fill up your water bottle. If you are in a country without a drinkable (to British digestion) water supply, check out my post on how to get around this. This saves me SO much money.

Reusable shopping bags

Japan is in love with single use plastic bags, but unlike many countries they are not littering the countryside. This actually creates less incentive to change! Tokyo has been arguing about introducing a ban for years. Even with the language barrier I have not had a problem asking to use my own bag.

Reusable chopsticks / cutlery

A must for me when out and about in any country. In Japan many sit down food places only give disposable wooden chopsticks. Although these are technically compostable Japan does not seem to have a composting system, with most waste being incinerated. Bring an extra napkin to wrap them in and a mini bottle of washing up liquid to ensure you can keep them clean.

Washable chopsticks, easy to carry in a napkin and reduces waste.

Cloth napkins

The Japanese love a paper napkin individually wrapped in plastic! However even in countries without this quirk I still prefer to try and use my own napkin when I can. Paper ones are single use, and to me a waste of resources. Most will go into landfill, so will not be composted in any kind of circular system. Napkins are also useful for purchasing street food, bakery items, cleaning up spills, emergency hankies, putting in your coffee cup to mop up dregs, and lots of other uses. Bring a small bottle of laundry liquid to hand wash as needed. Roll in a towel and hang up to dry overnight. I take six for 2 people for a 2 week trip.

The Japanese love a plastic wrapped napkin!

Coffee cup

Great for hot drinks on the go and sake on the train!

Handy for a train tipple.

Vegetable / bakery bags

I love these bags from Onya Life and they are now available in the UK. Made from recycled PET bottles they washable. breathable, see through, long lasting and draw string. So useful for loose fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds (not small ones like chai), pasta, rice, baked goods, impromptu litter picks and many other uses. Loose fruit and veg is hard to track down in Japan so grab it when you see it! For bakeries the danish themed ones seem to have most loose items and allergins are often listed.
The excitement of an unexpected packaging free shopping find. At Veg Out Cafe, Kyoto.
In Japan litter picks are so small they can fit in an Onya bag!

Bees Wrap

When I am planning on doing any self catering, or taking sandwiches on a hike, I pop a couple of Bee Bee Wraps in my luggage.

Leak proof boxes

I use these for leftovers, lunches, storage and street food.
Lovely spot for a picnic.

Finding packaging free shops where you are travelling

The Zero Waste App has listings for many major world cities.
Facebook Groups for many countries and cities exist, but some can be closed to those not living in that area. Ask on your home FB groups if anyone has any Zero Waste tips for the country / city you are visiting.
Google is always handy for finding blog posts by people living in the place you are visiting. Also just doing a Google Map search when you are in the area can bring up some interesting results.
Note on links; I am not getting any thing from, and am not associated with, any of the companies linked above. These are all products I genuinely use and get value from.

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