How to be environmentally friendly is a hot topic right now and here at Budget Insurance we believe that everyday should be ‘Earth Day’. Whilst we are all hopefully being conscious about reducing our carbon footprint at home and during our daily lives, what about when you are on holiday? Do the same morals still apply? To ensure you stay on top of reducing your carbon footprint and being as kind to the environment as possible this summer, we’ve written a blog post with some of the top ways you can make a difference.
How can I reduce my carbon footprint?
So where can you start? Well, quite literally from the beginning, how are you getting to your holiday destination? More often than not people are travelling via aeroplane to get to their summer holiday and according to Climate Care, whilst flying is one of the most efficient ways to travel on a per kilometres basis, aeroplanes are responsible for 2% of the world’s carbon emissions. So how can you make better choices when flying? The nastiest carbon emissions are produced when taking off, so where possible book direct flights so you are only making the one journey. Whilst this might be a little more expensive, you can rest assured that your decision is contributing to reducing your carbon footprint. Fact time! Did you know that one person on a typical flight from London to New York will create 1.53 tonnes of carbon emissions!
What about when you are actually on holiday, what simple choices can you chose to make a difference? Why not use a bicycle to get around or even walk? If you need to use transport are there train options or buses that you can use instead of hiring a car? Train travel in Europe is really accessible and also if you get a window seat it’s a great relaxed way to see more of the country. Let’s be honest, driving abroad is never an enjoyable experience! Why not un earth your inner explorer and actively plan different ways to travel this summer. If you really do need to hire a car whilst on holiday, do some research beforehand to find out which makes and models are the most environmentally friendly.
Let’s stick to the theme of getting to your destination for a moment, are you buying food and drink at the airport? Whilst you cannot take water bottles with liquid through airport security, you can take an empty eco-water bottle with you that you can fill up once you are through security. In 2016 it was recorded that 24 million passengers went through Stanstead airport, imagine if just 1% of these people brought their own eco-water bottle instead of buying one at the airport to drink on the plane! Whilst you’re at it, why not pack your reusable coffee cup for your morning coffee whilst on holiday. For more ideas on how to reduce your plastic consumption click here.
How can I be more environmentally responsible on holiday?
We’ve all been there, you arrive on holiday and suddenly all you want to do is lie horizontally, eat, sleep and drink! Especially if you are in an all-inclusive hotel! How many of us also become slightly more demanding living differently to when at home? For example, towels! Do you use clean towels everyday on holiday opposed to washing them once a week when at home? What about bed linen are you asking the hotel to change this more regularly than you would at home? If so, why! A really simple rule of thumb to live by is wherever you are, act like you’re at home.
What about electrical items? Are you making sure the lights are off in the room before you leave and double checking that all electrical equipment is switched off including plugs? If not, this is a really easy change you can make to ensure you are not wasting electricity. So what other things can you do to be more environmentally responsible when on holiday?
Clean up your act
By this we mean litter! If you’re on the beach this summer make sure you’re not leaving any litter behind you after your picnic. Why not make it your mission this summer each time you are on a beach to spend just fifteen minutes walking around collecting any litter you find and putting it in the bin. If you are not sure whether the beach you have been visiting recycles, make sure you take your recycling home with you.
Why not make a conscious effort to pick a hotel chain or holiday provider that have eco-friendly credentials. For example there are hotels out there that are committed to conserving, protecting and enjoying the environment, why not support these often smaller independent hotels. If you use a travel company to book your holiday, instead of using a high street giant why not pick a smaller company that focus on preserving the environment and will give you the best holiday, but in the most environmentally conscious way.
Pick a natural activity
Instead of going quad biking or jet skiing this summer why not look for non-machine-fuelled-activities such as snorkelling, a game of tennis or a good old fashioned hike.
We’ve touched on this already, but please take your eco-friendly reusable bottle on holiday with you. We all know that you should drink bottled water on holiday but instead of buying lots of 1L bottles, why not buy a couple of the biggest bottles of water the supermarket have and decant them into your eco-bottle for when you are out and about.
If you are in self-catering accommodation do your research before you go as to where the local supermarkets or markets are so you can ensure that you are buying as locally as possible. Be mindful about the food you are buying ensuring that you are not buying foods with excess packaging and recycle where possible. Again, if you are staying in self-catering accommodation ask around to understand what and where local people recycle and make sure you are following suit.
Can you buy eco-friendly sun creams?
Whilst we’ve all been through the drill, apply your sun cream before going out in the sun and reapply after swimming, it’s estimated that 25% of sun cream ingredients actually end up in the water and this is obviously not great for the environment.
So what’s in sun cream that makes it so bad? Certain chemicals have been identified as being particularly dangerous for eco-systems, deforming baby coral, degrading its resilience to climate change and making it more susceptible to bleaching. Hawaii are so concerned about this that they have actually put legislation forward to ban skincare companies from selling sun cream with oxybenzone and octinoxate on its islands. If they win, it will be a world first!
So what can we do? Quite simply, as you would with food, read the ingredients that are in the sun cream you have in your beach bag. Do your research as there are fully organic sun creams available on the market. Not sure you can commit to switching from your usual sun cream, why not buy an organic facial sun cream to see how you get on? Another small change you can make is ensuring you don’t apply sun cream directly before entering the water, make sure you apply well in advance of entering the sun.
How about swapping copious amount of sun cream for clothes. Why not buy your children full body swimsuits so their arms and legs are covered at all times and wear a t-shirt when you go snorkelling instead of applying more sun cream which will wash off when you enter the water.
What is offsetting your carbon emissions?
Some people genuinely feel bad about the amount of carbon emissions they are producing and want to do something about it. For example, someone who is a frequent flyer due to their job may want to give back to the environment. Whilst the cynics amongst us will say, ‘get a new job’ or ‘don’t fly as frequently’ sometimes this just is not possible. Therefore people are starting to offset their emissions. So what does this actually mean? Basically it means calculating your emissions and equating this to a monetary value. Once you have this monetary value you can donate the amount to a carbon offset programme so that morally you feel as though you are giving back.
Whilst this will not stop the climate change issues we are currently facing, it is hoped that as people become more aware about the damage they are causing to the environment and start to make small positive changes, we can all start to reduce our carbon footprint. Hopefully you have found this blog useful and will have a fantastic eco-friendly summer!