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Everyday sustainability in a throw away society 

  • Brittany Ainsworth

10 Tips for a Zero Waste Flight

Let’s be honest jet setting across the globe is as un-eco-friendly as you can get. There’s the carbon emissions from the plane, plastic packaged everything and not to mention the stress of having to stay within your baggage limits! Here are some tips to ensure you have a safe and Zero Waste flight.

| Some of my Zero Waste flight essentials |

Carbon emissions: Aviation contributes a large percentage of the global carbon dioxide emissions, naming it the most un-eco-friendly method of travel. These carbon emissions can be partially offset when buying your ticket to fund carbon offset projects such as forestry or renewable energy projects. However to be a true eco-warrior it is best for the planet to forgo the flight and chose another mode of transport…


1. Carbon Offset: To start your Zero Waste flight choose an airline company with a reputable carbon offset scheme or find your own airline carbon emission program. Many non-profit organisations will calculate your carbon offset payment and direct these funds to their own environmental projects. When booking a flight choose to fly economy for the most eco-friendly option.


2. Paperless: Many airlines now allow you to self-check-in online and use an electronic ticket downloaded straight to your phone. Skip this step if you wanted to keep your printed ticket for your scrapbook of course (It’s reused so it counts as Zero Waste right?).


3. (Lolly) Snakes on a plane: Aeroplane food has come a long way in taste but it’s never going to be as good as stuff you’ve brought from home. Plus it’s going to come wrapped in plastic anyway and we don’t want any of that rubbish! Plan ahead and bring some Zero Waste aeroplane friendly foods wrapped in bees wax wraps or reusable containers including

  • Homemade hummus with veggie sticks

  • Homemade granola bars or bliss balls

  • Sandwiches

  • Salads

  • Bulk snacks

  • Fresh or dried Fruit


4. Cloth Napkin: Eating all that food can get a bit messy so bring along a reusable cloth napkin to mop up any spills or wrap up your used cutlery. An essential in any Zero Waste kit.


5. Drinks: We all know that you can’t bring liquids more than 100ml on a plane so taking your drinks on board is a no-no. Instead bring along your own keep cup to fill with the drinks provided or just ask for hot water to brew your own tea.


6. Pack less stuff: No one wants to pay extra for baggage when you’ve paid a small fortune for flights already. So pack less stuff and take the essentials in a carry-on bag to further decrease your carbon emissions. Make sure to check the baggage allowances of your airline before you start packing your bag.


7. Empty that water bottle: Bring your own reusable water bottle to fill up once you’ve checked in to avoid pricey plastic water bottles during your Zero Waste flight.


8. Get comfortable: We will know it can get pretty chilly in the air and we want to avoid using those plastic wrapped blankets provided. Wear a couple of layers which can be peeled off once you arrive at your destination or bring a sarong/Turkish towel which can double as a blanket or pillow.


9. Sleep Tight: Bring along your own sleeping aids such as an eye mask and ear plugs/head phones to ensure a pleasant flight avoiding the ones provided in plastic.


10. Entertainment: Forget buying trashy magazines at the airport when you can download podcasts, movies and books all to your phone. If you prefer a physical book, look into second hand options. Bring along your own headphones to watch the in-flight entertainment without stuffing you plane seat with plastic wrappers.



Do you have any other sustainable tips to achieve a Zero Waste flight?

Let me know in the comments below!

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