You may have read my last article “My Zero-Waste Travel Kit”. This was part of an ongoing series where I will document my environmental perspective as I travel across the world this year.
For the next two months I will be in Indonesia. My journey started on the plane where I was happy to see that our meals were served in cute reusable dishes. Almost all of the beverages during the flight were served in reusable tea-cups. Water, however, was served in bottles. It is great to see airlines trying to make air travel even a little more sustainable.
During my very first night here in Bali, I ordered a green juice and was pleasantly surprised to see that the drink included a raw bamboo straw (you could eat the straw if you wanted to—amazing!). Turns out most restaurants here provide bamboo straws. In fact, I have only been served one plastic straw. Although I can’t speak for the rest of Indonesia, Bali seems to be very progressive in the “no plastic straw” movement.
As I ventured to the grocery store, I found that much like back home (Canada), the vegetables are unfortunately wrapped in plastic (like, why??), while the fruit is not. I brought a reusable cloth bag that has been very useful. I would highly recommend bringing one while travelling!
Another aspect I was worried about was avoiding bottled water. For the most part I use boiled water. We use large gallon jugs of filtered water for drinking (I believe these are re-used). It has been essential to bring my own water bottle everywhere because most restaurants will give you bottled water when you ask for filtered water.
Finding out how to compost and recycle has been a significant challenge due to the cultural and language barrier. After speaking with my Airbnb host, I was informed that I do not have to separate my organics from other waste. He explained that even when waste is separated, it often gets mixed during the collection process. Once the waste is collected, it gets sorted at the landfill—from my understanding, the organics are burned to make bio gas.
It has been quite the journey travelling to a non-western country for the first time. In many ways being “Zero-Waste” has been challenging. Everyday I am looking for ways to find alternative solutions.
What are your experiences with zero-waste travel?