5 ways to be more food sustainable while traveling
(STACKER) – It’s the eve of a big trip. Your luggage is packed and your cutlery and reusable bags are safely stored in your hand luggage. The next day, you take public transportation to the airport and, after clearing security, head to the nearest coffee kiosk. There, you present the barista with your collapsible travel mug and your refillable refillable water bottle. As you sip your latte and eat oatmeal with your stainless steel spoon, you start looking for places to explore, researching farm-to-table restaurants and local markets.
In a world where convenience is king, it’s easy to take advantage of take-out containers and packaged goods. Big business has made us dependent on disposable plastics, and just 20 companies are responsible for producing more than 50% of single-use plastics that end up in landfills around the world. As a result, 8 million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year. The resulting pollution can threaten wildlife, alter ecosystems and pose risks to human health. A 2018 WWF report shows that every summer tourists account for a 40% increase in marine litter entering the Mediterranean Sea, meaning consumers are still impacting the environment as a whole.
Fortunately, there are manageable ways to combat this pollution and help keep Mother Earth healthy. Bounce has compiled five easy ways for the modern traveler to engage in food sustainability. In addition to helping save the planet, these methods are also more affordable in the long run and can reduce clutter, which is something we could all use while traveling.
With these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to being more food sustainable on your travels.
If you are able to find a hotel with an on-site restaurant, or even better, self-catering accommodation, dining on-site is the way to go. Ordering takeout leads to an abundance of disposable packaging and cutlery that can be avoided. According to a study published in Nature Sustainability, 44% of plastics polluting the ocean are linked to takeaway food.
“It was shocking to discover that bags, bottles, food containers and cutlery as well as packaging make up almost half of the man-made objects globally,” said Dr Carmen Morales, study leader, University of Cadiz, Spain. BBC. “We have found them in rivers, on the deep seabed, on shorelines and floating off our coasts.”
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Research local markets
If you’re dining there, a trip to the store might seem like a logical next step; however, grocers tend to over-package their products. Instead, try exploring local farmers markets and food vendors. American travelers can use this tool to find farmers’ markets based on ZIP codes, and making friends with locals is the best way to find out where to go.
Of course, not all destinations have easily accessible markets. If you’re traveling somewhere that doesn’t offer one, try buying in bulk and packing your own bags of produce.
Pack a reusable container to go
Even if you’re staying somewhere that allows indoor dining, you’ll want to go out to try local restaurants or pack snacks or meals to take on excursions. Investing in reusable silicone zip bags that fit nicely in a backpack or purse can make storage easier and prevent waste. They are also great for storing leftovers to help combat food waste.
Bonus: Buying reusable ziplock bags in different sizes can be more beneficial because they can be used for more than just food. You can store a wet bathing suit or separate clothes in the larger containers and keep your passport dry in the smaller ones.
do your research
It always pays to know the city you are visiting well. When researching restaurants, look for ones that use local ingredients. Not only do these establishments help their communities by supporting local farmers, bakers, etc., but they also reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Buying fresh food instead of frozen food also means less plastic packaging waste.
If it’s hard to find, look for restaurants that make their sauces, dressings, and everything else in-house. Not only will food likely taste better, but you may also feel better by doing your part to be more sustainable. Bonus points if you can find a place that does both.
Bring your own collapsible cup and spoon
During your trip, you will want to visit the local cafes and teahouses. If you’re getting your caffeine fix on the go, you might not want to pack a bulky travel mug. Luckily, you can invest in a collapsible mug that fits comfortably in your bag when not in use. If takeout becomes your only option for a meal, it’s always a good idea to pack your own silverware. If you don’t want a spoon and fork dangling around in your bag, you can get a reusable spoon that can do both jobs.
This story originally appeared on Bounce and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.
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