It was when I was living out in the Middle East that I really got to thinking about my plastic use. I’ve not always been conscious of it. Over the past couple of years, with the help of the media focus on plastic use, I have become extremely aware of how much I use and the impact on our environment.

The reason I got to thinking about it when I was living in the Middle East, was not necessarily because I saw a lot of plastic waste. But what I did see, was people carrying their food shopping out of supermarkets double bagged, hundreds of coffee cups filling up waste bins and plastic straws adorning every drink under the sun.

It really got me wondering where on earth all this plastic was going to.

I don’t need to tell you how bad plastics are for our environment. How its effects are creating chaos in our oceans and wreaking havoc with our wildlife, as well as our own health and food supplies.

In case you didn’t know, here are a few quick-fire facts courtesy of

9.1 billion US tons of plastic have been produced since it entered circulation back in the 1950’s.

All those bits of plastic, even from way back then, still exist somewhere on our planet.

Over 90% of plastic waste cannot be recycled and over 8 million metric tons of that ends up in our oceans, choking our marine life and what lies beneath.

By 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than there are fish.

What kind of a world are we living in?

Shocking, wouldn’t you say?

It’s hard to believe that it’s taken us so many years to fear the curse of plastic and to attempt to curb the damage it is creating on our planet.

It’s one thing being mindful of plastic use at home. We get used to our recycling habits and lifestyles, but being mindful on the road can be slightly more difficult.

With that in mind, here’s few simple (but highly effective) tips you can put to use whilst traveling.


Use reusable water bottles


This is definitely the easiest and most obvious way to reduce your plastic use.

Throughout my travels I’ve started to see more and more opportunities to refill water bottles. Even in countries where you can’t drink the tap water. Hostels are really catching on to this which is so refreshing.

I’m obsessed with my LifeStraw. It contains a two-stage filter designed to filter out parasites, bacteria, microplastics, chemicals and viruses. It means I never I have to buy plastic bottled water, even in places where I wouldn’t normally drink the tap water.

I’ve also recently invested in a reusable coffee cup. It’s not just the plastic lids that are cluttering up our oceans, but surprisingly, many of the cups also contain plastic.

Top tip: Don’t forget this includes juice and soda bottles.


Invest in reusable tote bags


According to, up to 100,000 marine animals are killed annually from plastic bags alone. That’s not even including the damage that other single use plastics are causing.

Chances are, reusable grocery bags are something you already use during your routine shop. You’re going to need more than one, and do not leave them at home when you travel. Most western countries have started charging and phasing out the use of plastic carrier bags. Unfortunately, it’s not quite the same all over the world just yet.

Top tip: There are so many cute tote bags that fold up into the tiniest, light weight envelopes. They also make great gifts!


Travel with your own toiletries


I’m still surprised when I see hotels offering free mini toiletries. These tiny bottles provide one or two uses and are instantly thrown away to join the other truck loads of plastic ending up in our oceans daily.

There are so many durable, reusable toiletry bottles out there these days. There is really no excuse to use hotel toiletries.

The GoToob squeezy bottles I bought years ago are still going strong and can be simply filled up and used over and over again. Made of silicone, they are BPA free and TSA approved. The perfect travel companions!

Top Tip: You can also purchase TSA approved toiletry bags for your hand luggage to avoid the plastic bags given out at security. Particularly great if you’re a frequent traveler.


Carry reusable straws


It’s not that long ago that plastic straws were standard decoration placed in every drink. Only over the past few years have we seen a huge, international movement that has brought around the realization that straws are simply horrendous for our planet.

If you do really need to use a straw there are so many great alternatives out there. From bamboo to stainless steel, to even glass and papaya leaf.

With so many great alternatives, there really is no reason to keep using plastic straws.

And… massive bravo to all those restaurants, bars and cafes that are removing the option from us completely.

Top tip: Retrain old habits and drop the straw all together. Saves having to carry one around with you.


Say no to plastic utensils


This is the one that took some life style alterations from me. It’s easy to forget that if you pick up a salad or fruit for lunch, you’re going to need something to eat it with!

The easiest option here is to eat in. Avoid all prepackaging.

If you can’t eat in, then carrying reusable utensils with you will really help reduce the amount of single use plastic used when ordering food to go.

Top tip: Order ice cream in a cone.


Be aware of your health and beauty products


Simple things like plastic toothbrushes, disposable razors and plastic applicator tampons have become part of our everyday lives.

The easiest change to make is to switch up plastic toothbrushes to bamboo or electric. Use a reusable razor and ditch the applicator and choose a tampon brand that doesn’t even wrap their tampons in plastic.

Eco friendly health and beauty products are having their moment and the choices are endless.

Top tip: Microbeads are choking our oceans. Although most companies have stopped the use of microbeads in their beauty products, it’s good to be on high alert.


This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are endless ways in which we can help reduce the effects of plastics on our planet. It is simply a starting point and few easy alterations that can make a huge difference.

Today make a pledge.

A pledge to reduce your own plastic consumption, be savvier and make more environmentally friendly choices.

And maybe, eventually, together we can make a difference.