Travel Green. What does it mean and how can I do it.
After 5 years operating an accommodation business, surf school and kayak tours in Whangamata, Coromandel Peninsula, just before the pandemic, our operations were working pretty smoothly.
We had bookings coming through, we were able to hire a great team of likeminded young travellers and locals. Everything was going as planned. That`s when it hit us: “Our businesses are thriving, but at what cost?”. We started to notice the impact that a large number of visitors can cause in an area. Greater water usage, increase of waste generate and disposed, environmental pressure specially on popular spots and carbon print emissions, are just some of the impacts mass tourism and cause.
As tourism operator we felt a great responsibility to do something and collaborate towards reducing the impact caused by our business in our community. That`s when we learnt about the “Travel Green” concept. We decided to apply it to our personal life and encourage our customers to do the same. Within our business we reduced plastic usage as to minimal, started using eco friendly cleaning products and included in our accommodation refillable bottles with personal products as shampoo and conditioner.
Now the great question is: how can we travel in a greener way?
Here are some tips of how we believe we all could help.
- Chose a environmental friendly destination
Many countries are implementing great environmental policies to become more sustainable and protect the environment. The Sustainable Magazine has a great article on the top 10 most Green countries.
- When flying check what the airline company does to minimize their carbon print
As you can imagine, airplanes contribute hugely with carbon emissions. Studies say “Commercial flying accounts for about 3% of global carbon emissions, and that percentage is likely to increase as more people turn to the skies for travel.”(source: leafscore.com) However, many companies are working on different ways to become carbon neutral.
- Stay longer periods in a destination
Over the years working in the tourism industry, we have noticed travellers buying round the world tickets and city or country hopping every 2 or 3 days. Or hiring a car to get to know a destination in 10 days! We believe the longest you stay in one destination you will only benefit from it. You will get to really know the place, the best places to eat, to visit and of course you will meet the locals! At the same time, you will reduce the carbon foot print.
When you need to move to a different place, carpool, use public transport or hire an electric car.
- Avoid plastic usage at all costs, but having your own water bottle, using refill stations and no plastic bags.
One of the worst things is seeing a plastic bag or a bottle left
behind or being
blown into the ocean. The amount of plastic being dumped in our oceans and rivers is huge and if all do our part things will improve.
On our online shop we offer refillable glass bottles of natural products as shampoos, conditioners, body and hand wash among other great green options locally made in New Zealand.
- Chose products made from sustainable recycled sources.
Sustainability is a key work on how we can battle the environmental war. Products that can be recycled, re-used or re-proposed are essential and ideal to keep them away from the land fields. Just like using glass bottles that can be refilled, sports gear made from recycled post-consumer plastic, or shelfs made from construction wood. The idea is all the same: REDUCE – REUSE – RECYCLE.
There are many other ways you can travel in sustainable and environmentally friendly way. We believe that the most important is to create the consciousness that do what you can to contribute as every little bit helps.