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How to Road Trip Sustainably

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Lao Tzu

It’s National Road Trip Day to help launch the start of summer vacations. Traveling by car actually generates a smaller carbon footprint than air travel. Per the International Council on Clean Transportation, the United States and its territories accounted for 24% of global passenger transport-related carbon emissions. What else can you do to make your road trip plastic-free or even zero-waste?

  1. Bake! A large source of food packaging comes from convenience foods. In fact, plastic food wrappers are the most littered item on beaches. Fruit and boiled eggs come with their own natural packaging and make great snacks. To make your own energy bars, click here for recipes.

  2. Bring your own food in reusable food storage containers! Stainless steel containers are just as sturdy and lightweight as plastic tupperware. Use reusable bags such as Stasher and beeswax wraps to store food instead of single-use plastic bags and plastic wrap.

  3. Even though it’s often a road trip ritual, avoid buying fast food! Besides the packaging waste produced from the food wrappers and plastic cups, these plastic or grease-proof food containers often contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Also known as ‘forever chemicals,’ PFAS are chemicals which persist in the environment for many years and can cause cancer, hormone disruption, and diseases in people and animals. Dining-in is always a great zero-waste option. Just remember to use reusable storage containers to package up any left-overs.

  4. Bring your reusables. Use your travel mug to grab your favorite espresso drink if the coffee shop has lifted its COVID protocols. Water bottles come in silicone, glass, and stainless steel. You can replace single-use flatware with ones made from bamboo or stainless steel. Maybe, even use that second set of silverware which is gathering dust at home! Bonus: use tea towels, cloth napkins, or bandanas instead of paper towels to go zero waste.

It just takes a little pre-planning but it’ll actually save you money in food costs, and at the same time, give you peace of mind.

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