Sustainable Travel

by Rebecca Watkins

Sustainable travel is becoming increasingly important to protect our environment and reduce the effects of climate change. Being mindful of the environmental consequences of travelling, and implementing small actions to combat these, can make each of us a more sustainable traveller.

Ways we can be more sustainable travellers

Carbon offsetting

If travelling overseas for your holiday, carbon offsetting is a good way to give back to the environment. There are a few different ways to replenish the carbon dioxide emitted by transport. Some airlines already offer various offsetting schemes, so it may be beneficial to research before booking.

A popular offsetting scheme is tree-planting. For a small fee, you can pay for a tree to be planted, to ultimately uptake the carbon emitted by travelling. Additionally, trees can help to restore ecosystems and habitats, thereby improving the landscape.

A sustainable forestry plantation covers the landscape with trees.

Another option, offered by My Carbon Plan, is retrofitting. This involves paying a small fee towards upgrading and improving the energy efficiency of buildings, lowering carbon emissions in the long run.

Local produce

Eating locally sourced foods has a variety of benefits. Not only does the practice support the local economy, it’s less harmful to the environment.

Less pollution is produced as the food isn’t transported as far, and less heavy-duty packaging may be required for shorter, local journeys, reducing single-use plastics.

Full English breakfast.
Full English breakfast.

Sustainable materials

To further reduce plastic pollution, it can be beneficial to take reusable containers for packed lunches and use reusable water bottles. Glass and metal containers are particularly good as they can be recycled at the end of their life.

There are plenty of immediate upsides for you as well: a reusable insulated bag can help keep food and drink cooler for longer. The Refill App lists locations where you can refill your reusable containers, preventing the need to buy single-use material when out and about. It will show places nearby where you can refill your water bottle, your reusable coffee cup or your lunch box.

A series of environmentally friendly blue and metal water bottles sit in a row.
A stylised picture of a phone using the Refill App to find places happy to fill reuseable bottles and lunch boxes.

If taking your furry companion on holiday with you, it may be worth investing in biodegradable dog poo bags. These reduce plastic use and are less harmful to the environment.

Sustainability at Contours Holidays

At Contours, our aim is to be as sustainable as we can. From recycling to turning off lights, we believe every little helps when it comes to preserving our environment. In honour of Global Recycling Day 2023, the team each made their own creation out of recycled materials and then voted on a favourite. Gareth the Giraffe was crowned our winner.

A reindeer made from recyclable items, including a single-use plastic water bottle.
A giraffe made from cardboard and used drinks cans, built for global recycling day.

A koala made from cardboard painted grey.

With the growing concern of climate change and the impact it is having on our environment, it is essential that we take steps to reduce our carbon footprint and become a more sustainable traveller.

Originally published 16/08/23

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