With growing interest in sustainable travel, there are lots of advice available – but how do travellers know which actions will have the biggest impact?
An analysis by luxury safari company Yellow Zebra Safaris revealed that ocean-friendly suncare and leaving plastic packaging at home are the top two ways to reduce both your carbon footprint and waste impact most efficiently when travelling.
The score is calculated by working out how each change would lower levels of carbon emissions and waste production. This is then tallied as a total positive impact score out of 20. The higher the score, the better the impact on the environment:
- Switch to ocean-friendly suncare 15/10
- Do away with all plastic bottles 15/20
- Adhere to single-use plastic bans 14/20
- Reduce your meat consumption or try veganism 12/20
- Go sustainable with your swimwear 11/20
- Pack lighter 10/20
- Eat locally 9/20
- Opt out of housekeeping whilst travelling 8/20
- Choose smaller hotels 6/20
- Conserve energy that you don’t need 5/20
The most impact
Ocean-friendly suncare earned the top spot due to its high impact on both carbon emissions and waste. By switching to ocean-friendly suncare, you both protect the coral reef from being further polluted by oxybenzone (a common toxic ingredient in sunscreen) and also use less plastic, as most ocean-friendly sunscreens come in zero-waste packaging. Choosing this over plastic bottles of suncare can save up to 132.g of CO2 per person a week, earning this tip a strong 15/20.
Reducing the usage of single-use plastics tied for first place. With the average water bottle taking 450 years to decompose and the huge carbon impact of processing and transporting plastic, making a conscious effort to avoid single-use plastic will make your travel more environmentally-friendly.
Estimates show that one 500ml plastic bottle of water has a total carbon footprint equal to 82.8 grams (about 3 ounces) of carbon dioxide. Switching plastic single-use bottles to a reusable one will save 0.01449 tonnes of CO2 per year (per person!), lowering the contribution to plastic waste by 175%.