As convenient as it may be to save space in your luggage by bringing travel-size version of your go-to shampoo and conditioner set or deodorant, those mini bottles are actually impacting the environment in a big way.
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Straws have been taking centre stage in the war on plastic, but those convenient mini shampoos and soaps that travellers love to use might be just as problematic.Whether or not you make a trip to the travel aisle of your local drug store to stock up on mini bottles of shampoo and conditioner, bug spray, sunscreen and hand sanitizer before your getaway, chances are you’ve contributed to the growing pile of waste generated by these disposable plastic bottles. Hotel chains are notorious for offering guests unlimited access to teensy grooming products during their stay, so even if you’re not seeking them out yourself, you’ve likely used at least one little bottle to get your hair or body clean while on the road.As convenient as it may be to save space in your luggage by bringing travel-size version of your go-to shampoo and conditioner set or deodorant, those mini bottles are actually impacting the environment in a big way.Nearly one third of people purchase mini toiletries, like toothpaste, soap and shampoos before travelling, according to recent research by Direct Line, as reported by The Sun. Of that, just two of five people take the time to recycle the leftover packaging. In 2018, over 15 million people bought about 103 million travel-sized products.The study also found that the average person pays approximately eight times more for the mini travel-sized version of their favourite product, and though standard-sized bathroom items, like shampoo or deodorant, have about twice the amount of plastic packaging as the mini, it still comes with five times the amount of product. So, buying the full-sized item is still the most economical option, despite it taking up more space in your luggage.Still, it’s not news that plastic consumption is on the rise.In 2016, the world generated 242 million tons of plastic waste, according to the World Bank. North America (which the study counted as Bermuda, Canada and the U.S.) ranked the third largest producer of plastic waste behind East Asia and the Pacific, and generated over 35 million tons of plastic trash.While making small changes in our day-to-day lives, like bringing canvas tote bags to the grocery store rather than using plastic bags or saying no to straws, can help reduce plastic consumption, looking to our travel habits is another surefire way to cut down on unnecessary waste.How to reduce plastic waste when travelling: Avoid mini complimentary amenitiesThe easiest way to stop contributing to plastic waste is to just stop using the mini complimentary amenities that hotels leave in their rooms. InterContinental Hotels Group in the UK has announced that it plans to nix all mini plastic toiletry bottles from 5,600 of its hotels. That works out to about 843,000 rooms that will be plastic-free by 2021.So, say no to the single-use toothbrushes, Q-tips, shower caps and razors. Instead, bring your own products and, when you do, opt for sustainable items like bamboo toothbrushes or bar soap.How to reduce plastic waste when travelling: Use bar shampoos and soapsAnd on the note of bar soap, items like shampoos, conditioners and body soap can all be replaced with bar versions. Lush Cosmetics offers a range of hair products that come in bar form and can be easily stored in tin containers (which you can also buy from the brand).How to reduce plastic waste when travelling: Stay at eco-friendly hotelsIn California, hotels may soon face a state-wide ban on mini shampoo and conditioner bottles. If bill A.B. 1162 gets the green light, single-use plastic toiletries will be a thing of the past in hotel bathrooms and visitors will either have to bring their own, or hotel owners will be required to make upgrades by installing permanent shampoo and soap dispensers inside of shower stalls.While this bill in California is still up for debate, researching eco-friendly hotels can be an empowering way to travel.How to reduce plastic waste when travelling: Bring full-sized productsIf you’re checking luggage at the airport anyway, just bring your full-sized products. Sure, they take up space, but you’ll be happy to have items that are part of your regular routine. Depending on how long you’re travelling, you could forego bringing these items with you, and instead buy full-sized versions to use once you arrive at your destination.Related