Better Places Travel bans the bottle
When it comes to travel, plastic waste has a massive impact on the environment. On average, you’ll use at least 30 plastic bottles each on just a two-week trip. We encourage clients to use fewer single-use plastic bottles. By trading in these single-use plastic bottles for refillable water bottles, we can really minimize our plastic waste when travelling and work our way towards plastic-free travel.
It is our aim to go completely single-use plastic bottle free on all of our trips by the end of 2019. Will you take on this challenge with us?
Plastic-Free Travel Tips
So where do you begin with such a challenge? Start small and work your way up from there. Here are some plastic-free travel tips on how to reduce single-use plastic waste by using a refillable water bottle and water filter.
Tip 1: Bring a refillable water bottle on your trip
In some places, you can safely drink tap water. In other places, we’re working closely with our local travel experts to make sure that you can refill your water bottle at as many locations as possible. Many hotels, restaurants and shops now have water stations for refilling your bottle. See, for example, the RefillMyBottle initiative. If you’re unsure about a country’s water safety, visit Is The Water Safe to Drink.
Tip 2: Boil your water first
It’s only natural that in some places you won’t be able to find water refill points. In this case, the most reliable method to purify water is by boiling it. Boiling water for one minute is enough to get rid of all the impurities. A great solution if your hotel room is equipped with a kettle.
Tip 3: Take a water filter or purifier with you
A safe way to purify your water is to use a SteriPEN. It uses ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and viruses. You can also make use of the Grayl, which uses pressure to purify your water from bacteria, viruses, chemicals and heavy metals. Alternatively, use a LifeStraw Go for filtering out bacteria from partially treated water. See here for a handy comparison of the most frequently used travel filters.
Tip 4: Don’t use the free plastic bottles
Some hotels provide one or two complementary plastic bottles of water as an extra service. If you use them, you’ll find them neatly replaced the next day with new bottles. So better to leave these single-use plastic bottles on the counter and refill your own bottle.
Plastic-Free Travel Challenge
Looking for an extra challenge? We’ve got you covered. Why not try going completely disposable plastic-free on your next trip?
Wondering if this is actually possible, need some inspiration or just some extra handy tips? Read about the experiences of some of our bloggers who took on this very challenge.
“I knew of course that reducing my plastic waste when refilling my water filter bottle was a good thing, I also knew that it was saving me money when I did so, but I never put as much thought into my actions as I have this month.”
Read Mike’s full story here.
“We had planned this trip to Vietnam for some months and decided this would be the perfect test ground to go completely plastic-free while on the road. It would be an even bigger challenge for a short trip like this one, but it would bring even more purpose to our travels.”
Read Joao and Sara’s full story here.
“I used to be completely unaware of just how much plastic I was using as I traveled… By being more aware of my surroundings and keeping track of the abundance of plastic I used every day it became obvious that I needed to start to find sustainable alternatives… “
Read Lola’s full story here.
Refillable Water Bottles, Purifiers & Filters
How do you filter water?
When it comes to plastic-free travel, it’s important to know both how to filter your own water as well as what’s actually in your water. There are three possible pathogens that can be found in water: viruses, bacteria and protozoa. When filtering or purifying water it’s important to know what your water filter/purifier can do. You can read more in-depth information about water disinfection and what you can do to prevent getting sick from drinking water in the articles below.
Dopper was designed with the aim of reducing the use of plastic water bottles and encouraging people to drink tap water, whenever possible. The bottles have a simple and stylish design and are easy to clean. Their vision is to live in a world in which people are conscious of the environment, where we actively reduce single-use plastic waste, and where everyone has access to fresh and safe drinking water. For more information, you can visit their site.
Another way to reduce the use of plastic water bottles during your trip is by taking a water purifier, such as the SteriPEN, with you. The handheld SteriPEN uses ultraviolet light to purify water in a matter of seconds, while killing all bacteria and viruses.The purifier fits in the palm of your hand and purifies up to 375,000 liters of water from fresh water lakes, rivers or creeks – 30 times as much as comparable filters. The membrane eliminates any harmful bacteria and protozoa. Watch the instruction video or read more about the SteriPen in Steph’s review and on No Footprint Nomads.
With the Grayl, you can both purify and filter your water using their ‘one press’ system. This reusable water bottle uses a replaceable purifier cartridge that can treat up to 150 liters of water. It uses pressure in combination with the filter to remove pathogens (viruses, bacteria, protozoa), particulates, chemicals and heavy metals. With a 15-seconds press, you can already have drinking water – whether it’s from your hotel tap or straight from a flowing stream. A great solution for on-the-go.
LifeStraw is a portable water filter that has evolved from an emergency response tool to filter contaminated water after natural disasters to being used in numerous water projects and products around the world. Using hollow fibers, this technology removes 99.99% of bacteria and protozoa. For the much smaller viruses that aren’t able to be filtered out from fresh water sources, you can further treat the water with chlorine tablets. With one LifeStraw product, you can get about 8,000 bottles of safe drinking water. After that, no water will come through the filter and you’ll need to replace it. From multi-use filter straws to on-the-go water bottles to water bottles for kids, LifeStraw can help you find a handy filter for on the road.
Worldwide Initiatives on Plastic-Free Travel
More and more countries that do not have access to clean running water are coming up with initiatives to reduce plastic waste. A few examples can be found below on steps that are being taken towards plastic-free travel.
Cambodia – Refill not Landfill
Several hotels in Cambodia have started an initiative to greatly reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste. Travellers can purchase and refill reusable bottles in hotels, and are able to refill their bottle in various Google Maps-marked locations. For more information, please see Refill not Landfill – Cambodia.
Bali – Refill Bali
Refill Bali is a Bali-based initiative set up by several eco-hotels, restaurants and shops to increase and map the number of water refill stations in Bali, in cooperation with Social Impakt water filter initiative. For more information about Refill Bali, please visit their Facebook page.
Refill My Bottle
RefillMyBottle, an extension of Refill Bali, now allows travellers outside of Bali to also refill their bottles at water stations. These stations can be found through the mobile app, website or RefillMyBottle window stickers at various shops, restaurants and hotels. For more information, please visit their site. You can also read more about their initiative in the media here.
Indonesia – Gili Eco Trust
Gili Eco Trust is a local organisation on the Indonesian island of Gili Trawangan that has been working for years on reducing the amount of plastic waste. Read more about it on their site.
Thailand – Koh Tao & Koh Lanta
On the island of Koh Tao, a number of diving schools and hotels joined forces and started an initiative to reduce the number of single-use plastic water bottles. It’s now possible to refill your water bottles at a number of places on the island. Read more
On the island of Koh Lanta, the locals started an initiative to clean up and reduce plastic waste. They’re using a number of different methods, including raising awareness for the problem and mapping the places where it’s possible to refill your water bottle. Read more
Travelers Against Plastic
Travelers Against Plastic (TAP) is an online campaign that educates global travelers on the harmful impacts of plastic water bottles on the environment and encourages travelers to carry their own reusable water bottle as well as treat their own water. They provide tips for travelers and gather pledges from tour operators and accommodations, as they promote alternatives to disposable plastic water bottles.
Travel Without Plastic
Travel Without Plastic is an initiative that helps hotel accommodations around the world reduce or eliminate their single-use plastic waste. They help owners and managers train their staff on how to operate more sustainably while maintaining standards of health, safety and quality, and then communicate this to their customers. By providing practical and easy-to-apply tips, they are helping transform the hotel and travel world when it comes to limiting single-use plastic waste.