Did you know that oceans cover over two-thirds of our planet? That they produce 50% of our oxygen and absorb 50 times more CO2 than the atmosphere? That they represent 90% of habitable space on the planet? That some sections of coral reefs can contain 1000 species per m2?
Now, did you know that in Europe alone, plastics account for 95% of the waste in the open sea? That at the current rate, plastics will outweigh fish in the ocean by 2050? And that our oceans and the precious marine they house are teetering on the brink of destruction?
At Trafalgar, we have made a pledge that from 2019, we remove all single-use plastic (SUP) water bottles on our trips as part of our commitment to be SUP free by 2022. This is just one of many initiatives to do our part and walk the talk regarding sustainability. Along with using reusable, durable luggage, name tags and guest tote bags made from recycled materials and the banning of SUPs within our offices around the globe, we estimate that this latest initiative will eliminate over five tons of plastic waste in the next five years.
So this Earth Day, and as part of our Earth Month celebrations, we want you to join us in our fight to save our coastlines and oceans from the inundation of plastic waste that our modern lifestyle is creating. Here are five simple tips to reduce your plastic usage and protect the waterways of this great blue planet.
5 easy ways to help our beaches and oceans:
1. Drink tap water where it is safe to do so
In most places, tap water is just as safe to drink as bottled water and – according to blind taste tests – it’s just as tasty too. When at home and abroad, you can check out the fantastic Tap app to see the nearest place to find a reusable water bottle refill station. When you’re on-trip with us, your Travel Director and local specialists will always let you know where you can fill your bottle with drinkable water.
2. Say NO to plastic straws…and YES to reusable ones
In the US alone, people use more than 500 MILLION plastic straws every single day, and eight million tonnes of plastic straws find their way into the ocean every year. That’s a wave of trash we have to stop. For those who just can’t sip without, there are lots of reusable straws on the market. You can choose from glass or stainless steel, bamboo or silicone. And with different colours and sizes, you can find the perfect one to fit your (life)style.
3. Help keep your beach (or park) beautiful
Bring a garbage bag and gloves with you to collect rubbish while you’re walking along your favourite beach or taking a stroll through the park. Even filling one bag makes a difference! Every year, our Trafalgar team in our offices worldwide take part in cleaning up their local beaches. And for those of us located further inland, we have hosted clean-ups in the Grand Canyon and Lake Geneva.
4. Choose cardboard over plastic.
Cardboard is more easily recycled than plastic and biodegrades over time. When possible, buy products in cardboard containers such as laundry detergent, milk and other household goods. Even better, bring your own container to be refilled. More and more supermarkets and even cleaning supply stores offer the option to fill your own receptacle. With less costs for packaging, that savings gets passed on to you!
5. If it’s plastic, think twice.
From the toys kids play with to the excessive packaging of our single-serve snacks, plastics are everywhere. Look at the items you use day-to-day: Can you avoid plastic products? Are there biodegradable alternatives? Living 100% plastic-free is near impossible, but see if you can find ways to clear the plastic from your daily life.
Earth Day is once a year, but our actions to make the world a more sustainable place have to happen 365 days a year. With simple changes like these, you can make a big impact on reducing the amount of plastic waste threatening the health of our oceans and the health of our planet.
For more tips on how to reduce your single-use plastic consumption, we’ve enlisted the help of another one of our brand partners, Camden Howitt. Camden is the co-founder and coastlines lead of the New Zealand-based not-for-profit Sustainable Coastlines. He’s devoted his life to educating people on litter prevention and water restoration. You can find his helpful tips here.
Join us and help us make a difference for people, the planet and wildlife and learn more about our JoinTrafalgar sustainability programme and how you can help make travel matter.