Trying to travel zero waste?  Learn from our mistakes with these tips.

My family and I recently went on a trip – our first airplane trip since we’ve started in earnest to become zero waste.  We did some planning on our way out to try to fly zero waste, but here’s a picture of the wreckage from the way home:

 

We got thirsty, we got hungry, and I needed a cocktail 🙂 .  A couple of the cups got recycled already, but you get the gist.

We packed lots sandwiches and snacks.  We each had our own water bottle and filled them before we got on the plane.  But here’s what happened – our flight home was delayed an hour, a bunch of the sandwiches we made were “too spicy” for the kids.  Also, even though our flight was nearly 6 hours, the flight attendants wouldn’t refill our water bottles and would only pour out water into their cups.  We also didn’t remember to bring earbuds for everyone and our snacks (fruit) weren’t as exciting as the little mystery packets from the flight attendants. 

I try to think about this zero waste fail as a learning opportunity for me and my family.  So I took a moment to reflect on what we could do differently next time to minimize the waste the next time we travel.

Tips for flying zero (or near zero) waste with kids:

  1. Bring larger water bottles! 
  2. Bring snacks from bulk that are as enticing as the junk food in the airport.
  3. Remember to bring earbuds for everyone.
  4. Bring some extra food – flights get delayed all the time!  Better to have too much than run out and end up buying at the airport or on the airplane.
  5. Talk about our food and drink plans at the airport and on the airplane before we get in the situation.
  6. Offer a juice option before or after the flight as a replacement for the juice we won’t be having on the plane.
  7. Bring a variety of sandwich/wrap/whatever options.  If one turns out too “spicy”, there’s a back up.

On a side note, learning to say “no” to the flight attendants’ offers of drinks and snacks is an ongoing process in my house.  These little prepackaged snacks and fruit drinks are perceived as treats to my kids, and saying no is not our natural inclination.  We are working on this 🙂 .  

That’s what I’ve learned this time around.  Do you have any tips for traveling zero waste with kids?  I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Liz