Mallika Arya's Zero-Waste Travel Tips for Any Jet-Setter
In our efforts to appreciate the beauty around us, we sometimes forget that our best intentions can have consequences. Travel opens our doors and our minds to new cultures and ideas. But we need to ensure that as we adventure into new domains, we remain mindful of the environments and communities we enter. As you enjoy your vacations - whether it's this winter holiday, next spring break, or an entire summer's journey - always remain cognizant that you're not only representing yourself, but your country and it's environmental practices.
With this said, it's my pleasure to introduce Mallika Arya, a renowned zero-waste traveler, writer, gym enthusiast, and sustainability champion in her country of India. She has recently returned from her zero-waste travelling campaign, and is sharing her tips & tricks here on Sustainable Directions and campaign for her trip to the Antarctic this March! More details on her campaign below.
Post contributed by Mallika Arya. I was a teacher for two years and all I thought about every single day was packing up my bags and taking off once my fellowship got over. Don’t get me wrong – I loved teaching my kids, I loved having debates in class about silly things and I loved playing with puzzles and board games in class – But its always been very hard for me to stay in one place for a long period of time without traveling. Through my two year fellowship with Teach For India – I could never take off time long enough to travel. My focus in class (especially in the second year) was the environment. It’s something my kids responded to very positively. We all wanted to create positive impact and started doing little things in school like waste segregation, saying no to plastic, composting and gardening. They saw the reality and the extent of environmental problems in our world when I taught them through newspaper articles. Teaching them kind of made me realize to – I can’t just pick up my bags and wander around for a year without a goal in mind – I need to make my year off after the fellowship more meaningful and that’s when the idea of being a zero waste traveler emerged!!
So, what is zero waste traveling?
It's very simple – choose to travel while keeping your landfill waste and carbon footprint at a minimum! How can you do this exactly? Check out my tips & tricks below.
1) Keep a minimalist's mind set! You don’t need to buy everything you see!
2) Eat local! This helps cut down on a lot of packaging and keeps the carbon footprint low!
3) Don’t buy water! Water isn’t meant to be bought! Carry your own bottles and fill them up from anywhere!
4) Use public transport! It’s cheap, you get to meet tons of new people and more than anything- its environmentally friendly!
5) Slow down and dine in! Avoid getting food packed as that leads to plastic packaging! If you’re super organized (like me ;) ) then you can carry an empty tiffin box in case you need to get food packed!
6) If you can – Avoid Ac rooms! Just open a window and put the fan on and your good to go!
7) Ladies! Reduce your sanitary waste! Use menstrual cups instead of plastic sanitary napkins!
Everyone will face their own type of challenges. My message to readers is this is – try out zero waste traveling and get in touch with me to discuss the challenges you faced! I’d love to help you work around them and would definitely learn a lot by interacting with you!
You can check out some of my travel/ zero waste traveling posts on my blog : www.mallikaarya.com
Mallika graciously contributed to Sustainable Directions while actively campaigning for her trip to Antarctica, and working with environmental organizations in Delhi leading up to the expedition.
With merely days to go, she would greatly appreciate any support towards her next journey. As an International Antarctic Expedition alum, I can attest that Mallika's perspective is not only necessary, it's crucial. Eco-warriors like her will be the ones that can communicate environmental leadership into the countries that need it the most. You can donate to her campaign by clicking here!