Travel

Mission Compostable: Shrink your carbon footprint with these green travel tips

‘Green’ globetrotters, unite! Every day off is Earth Day with these handy tips for use when you’re striking off places on your travel bucket list
 

Image: Pexels

How many of us are aware that it’s important to protect the environment, but don’t actually get down to doing it? Being environmentally friendly is not a daunting concept at all; it’s really all about small actions like recycling and switching off the lights to reduce our carbon footprint and ultimately, ensure Mother Earth is liveable for everyone.

As jet-setters always on the lookout for new destinations to satisfy that #wanderlust, here’s how you can do your part even when you’re globetrotting:   

Stay in eco-friendly places

With growing concerns about climate change, many people are finding ways to limit their impact on the environment, one of which is homesharing. Airbnb homes consume less energy than traditional accommodation per guest night by 63 per cent, and produce lower greenhouse gas emissions by 61 per cent, according to a study by Cleantech Group. There’s also a reduction of up to 39 per cent in water use per guest night; that’s 3,000 Olympic-sized pools!

Here are five of the greenest Airbnbs in our neighbouring countries:

1. Stunning All Bamboo House by River – Bali, Indonesia

Image: Airbnb

This stunning eco-villa, set in the sacred Ayung river valley, is entirely made from bamboo. Be surrounded by tranquil nature and explore the Green Village, which houses an organic farm and a school with a curriculum focused on sustainable living, where they grow their own food and generate most of their own power. You can even attend workshops to learn how to construct buildings from bamboo, and how to use coconuts for food, shelter and soap.

2. Malay farmers hut – Langkawi, Malaysia

Image: Airbnb

Located in a village surrounded by untouched nature, paddy fields and the Geopark, a UNESCO Heritage Site, this is a rustic rural retreat. This beautiful hut is a fully restored 100-year-old traditional farmers’ dwelling, with modern luxuries and views of the Mat Cincang Mountain. You can also look forward to encounters with water buffaloes, coastal birds and the elusive nocturnal Flying Lemur.

3. Eco Beach House – West Bali, Indonesia

Image: Airbnb

This handcrafted tree house in a remote village in west Bali is made from recycled boat wood, bamboo, local limestone & local sustainably harvested timbers. Nestled up in the trees, it has a big veranda and is surrounded by an organic garden.

4. Nature House – Bangkok, Thailand

Image: Airbnb

A little piece of oasis in bustling Bangkok, this cosy little cottage is in a quiet village just outside of the city centre. With a garden balcony and surrounded by birds and trees, you’ll forget you’re in one of the biggest cities in Asia.

5. Clean and Green – Penang, Malaysia

Image: Airbnb

Stay close to the famous Georgetown in Penang, but escape to a tranquil paradise. Return to your home away from home after a day of exploring the alleyways of Georgetown, and relax with a garden balcony and an inviting sea view – what more could you ask for?

Get around like a local

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Take public transport, cycle or simply walk. If you’re travelling between cities, try taking a train or coach instead of a domestic flight – you’ll help to emit a whopping three to seven times less gas than air travel. A little goes a long way in reducing the stress on our environment.

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Use recycle bags

This is one of the easiest ways to go green, but sadly, is still an idea far-removed from Singaporeans’ consciousness. We could definitely do away with unnecessary plastic bags that can never break down completely, only spelling trouble for the environment. It won’t take much effort to slip one or two of those nifty recycle bags into your backpack when you’re heading out. Think about how many plastic bags you can save on just a day of shopping at Platinum Mall in Bangkok!

Minimise energy use in the hotel

We know, because it isn’t our house and we paid for the hotel room, we should just milk it for all it’s worth… But really, leaving the lights and air-con switched on isn’t benefiting anyone at all when you’re out. All it takes is just a simple flick of the switch to conserve resources. And if you’re staying multiple nights, make sure you reuse your towel and sheets.  

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Use a reusable water bottle

When we’re travelling, it’s so easy to just buy and throw bottles of mineral water, but that only contributes to one of the most prevalent forms of pollution. These plastic bottles can take centuries to decompose in landfills, and they absorb toxins as they slowly break down into fragments over time, becoming pretty much like environmental time bombs – yikes! Using a reusable water bottle is not just good news for the environment, it’s actually more friendly on your pocket, and you’ll tend to drink up more, so why not?

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