Natural Britain's sustainability guru Emily Bailey has been reducing plastic usage at home for years and urged us all to step things up throughout July. Whilst by no means claiming to be completely plastic-free (yet!) she believes that if many of us make at least some conscious choices away from plastic it is better than a few people being perfect.
Some argue that things will never change, that any action is just a tiny drop in the ocean.
But what is an ocean if not millions of tiny drops?
Natural Britain suppliers are hand-picked for their sustainable travel ethos and many have highlighted their policies on plastic prior to signing up with us. Actively encouraging clients and staff to think about their single-use plastic usage will mean even less getting into our precious landscapes, rivers and oceans.
Here are a few tips on how you can reduce plastic and some questions to ask the provider of your next trip in the British Isles (or overseas).
Reusable water bottles
The simple place to start!
In the UK where tap water is readily available and drinkable, there really is no reason to buy water in a plastic bottle.
Encourage your staff and guests to bring a reusable water bottle with them. Or you could provide branded stainless steel bottles to guests.
There is a great app, Refill, that helps you find fill-up points. Or if your group will be away from a water source then carry a jerry can on your trip to refill when needed.
Another option for more remote activities is Water to Go bottles that filter water and creates safe drinking water - fill up from a mountain stream, river or lake and off you go again!
Food is often the hardest place to move away from plastic. Using local bakeries and caterers that you know make conscious packing choices will benefit your local economy as well as the environment. Sandwiches in paper bags, cakes in boxes and drinks in cans all help to reduce plastic waste. You could consider investing in some stainless steel lunch boxes or beeswax wraps if you provide your own picnics.
Plastic Freedom is my go-to place for plastic swaps and they have a great range - they also look fantastic compared to a plastic box!
For drinks at lunchtime or sundowners around a campfire, Enviro-Cup does some lovely branded stainless steel cups.
Our sister company The Adventure Connection loves theirs (this gin is rather good too!).
Mini amenities and bathrooms
I have now successfully taken all plastic out of my bathroom! By avidly following new product launches at Plastic Freedom I have gradually made swaps as things have run out. There are travel and miniature versions of many common products so if you provide toiletries then check out Beauty Cubes for shampoos, mini bars of soap (this is one of the simplest swaps - just watch what they are wrapped in!), even toothbrushes and toothpaste can be provided plastic-free. You may need to write a short explanation for guests on how to use the products as some a little different from a bottle.
It is even possible to make your toilets plastic-free - most ethical buyers have heard of 'Who Gives a Crap' and their giant boxes of plastic-free bamboo loo rolls (and I was very thankful for my regular delivery arriving two weeks into lockdown!). Wooden toilet brushes exist as well as ethically made cleaning cloths.
If you have a kitchen you can provide wooden dish brushes, organic cloths cleaning sprays that come concentrated so reduce packaging. I could be writing all day listing my swaps!
Most companies want at least a branded t-shirt for their staff and Natural Britain has just taken delivery of theirs from the wonderful people at Teemill. They can do short runs of custom print t-shirts and are one of the most sustainable clothing companies in the UK. They are based on the Isle of Wight and all their products are made of 100% organic cotton. Their story is well worth a read. They can also create a store for you to print branded t-shirts to sell.
And finally, COVID19 requirements
We are starting to get used to face-masks, hand sanitiser and our new way of staying healthy. However, we are also hearing stories of how these single-use items are being irresponsibly discarded. Reusable face masks are easy to make and many local people are creating them, is there someone locally you can purchase from to provide to staff and clients?
Hand sanitiser is a requirement, consider installing a hand-washing point instead/as well as.
When returning to vehicles, at glamping sites, or at wild camp spots could you set up a makeshift tap with soap and small one-use towels available?
This SPATAP (as in Spa Tap) is a great product; and you can attach a reusable bottle to it - maybe even an insulated one for hot water!
How can you do more?
There are many resources available from expert organisations including Travel Without Plastic, the Marine Conservation Society, Plastic Free July to name a few. Please get in touch with Natural Britain for more advice on single-use plastic reduction.
Discover our inspirational choice of sustainable activities and accommodation at www.natural-britain.com
Links and images:
Please note these are suppliers that Emily Bailey at Natural Britain has used personally and we are not affiliated to Natural Britain in any way.
Images used are with permission from the photographers or businesses mentioned.
Blog post by Emily Bailey, Natural Britain.