Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Vacation waste

I love vacations! It's tough being a super green person while you travel though.  There is a lot of waste in the journey and it's painful.  One quick stay at a hotel can yield a ton of waste. I tried to research about hotel waste and all I could find was statistics in the U.K.

Driving, off course, uses gasoline to get to your destination.  And while you can bring healthy snacks along the way you can't eat a main meal.  Well, I can because I'm a snacker, I can eat a lot of little meals and be just fine but others in my family have to eat a bigger real meal. My husband begins to snarl if he doesn't eat a real meal along the road and his preferred sandwich shop is Subway.  We are anti-most-any-fast-food places but there are a few we are willing to stop at through any trip.  Meals here are made for throwing into the trash. Gross.  None of the containers are bio-degradable or recyclable (and if they were, they don't provide a place to recycle it at the restuarant!)  This could change-and wouldn't that be great.  So road trips create waste as you dine along your journey.

Hotels now provide breakfast which is a newer and good feature so you aren't pushed out into your new location searching for a breakfast place every morning.  My husband would never do that anyway-we pack cereal in that case.  We've been to one amazing hotel in Minneapolis that used real plates, cups, and silverware for their breakfast and we loved it!  Most places have styrofoam or paper plates, all meant to be tossed away, and the trash can, after a breakfast with many sleepy people, is overflowing! It's kinda gross to us.  You've all been there and many don't even give it a second thought.  We think about it and try to figure ways around it.  One trip we actually packed our own plastic picnic plates for everyone to use.  Our teens were a tiny bit mortified but they used them amidst the stares of other diners.  We were only trying to impress ourselves and to not add to the huge overfilled garbage can.

Our last trip we forgot the plates until we had our first hotel breakfast and my husband and I both looked at each other and groaned.  To be fair it was our first trip in our newer Prius and packing was an issue.  Plates were not high on the list.  Next time though I will bring them no matter what especially if it is more than a one day trip.  A small thing we did to appease ourselves was to save our little plastic juice glasses and used them all three days we were there.

On the other hand when my two friends and I traipsed off to Greer's Ferry for our reading retreat we made minimal impact on the environment.  Our compost waste was bigger than the small trash bag we barely filled.  That kind of travel lifted me up and made me realize how much this way of life is just part of me.  I use cloth napkins everyday.  I don't use any excess paper products at home and it makes it very difficult to be that way out in the greater world. I bring my own travel mug to the coffee/tea shoppe.

Our trip was great though and it was wonderful to visit with friends for a few days.  The reading retreat, our meal at The Root in LR, Mary Poppins at The Rep, the fantastic bluegrass in Mountain View and The Old Mill in Little Rock were just a few highlights.

How do you deal with this on the road?  Any tricks you can pass on...

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