Waste audit on wheels

We live in the 21st Century, an age whereby the modern day traveller is somewhat prone to accumulate Airmiles in abundance, whilst leaving a trail of carbon and disposable products in the wake, otherwise known as plain rubbish! Few can truly deny, unless they bury their heads in the sand or have been living in a cave for the past 10 years, that collectively we produce literally tons of waste, much of which upon deeper analysis can be rendered as wholly unnecessary or at least non essential.

There is a growing trend towards an appreciation for the concept of “carbon footprint” especially where travellers are concerned. In essence a carbon footprint is a measure of the impact that our activities have on the environment and in particular related to climate change. It is naturally linked to the amount of greenhouse gases produced by our day-to-day lives through burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating and transportation etc. The carbon footprint is a measurement of all greenhouse gases we individually produce and has units of tons (or kg) of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Budget Airlines such as easyJet now offer the possibility to offset ones carbon flying footprint at the point of booking online. This is indeed an encouraging development. Our sister Blog Hypo Global offers other general suggestions and we welcome input from Perpetual Traveller readers.

Carbon footprint is only part of the picture though, as we have to consider all that waste too! Below you can read some practical ways to apply the same waste reduction and recycling techniques you employ at home on the road.

To coin a sound bite we call it “waste audit on wheels”.


With a little prior planning and a few simple changes to your habits you can make a big difference when travelling.

1) Use up all your sell by date food to avoid wastage before you travel.

2) Stop your paper subscription while you are away.

3) Use electronic tickets whenever possible for plane, train and bus trips as they generate less waste and even cost less to replace.

4) Down size your toiletry items for travel by constantly reusing and refilling small travel bottles (maximum 100 ml) with products you already have, such as mouthwash, shampoo or other necessities.

5) Make the effort to separate your waste wherever possible on the road.

6) Reuse towels at the Hotel and do not be the cause for the Hotel to over-launder them.

7) Try to opt for a green friendly hotel, especially those that recycle.

8) Write all your business travel notes electronically to avoid waste paper.

These are just a few small tips, although if we collectively apply them it could make a difference to our mutual future on earth! In the words of Tesco (UK Supermarket chain) every little helps!

Christina Nikolaou
Guest writer