Although Vietnam is often known for its high plastic consumption and air pollution, it is fairly easy to travel in a zero-waste style. As travelers, it is our responsibility to leave as little imprint on the places we visit as possible. With these zero-waste travel style tips, leaving a small impact can be easier than you thought.
Metal Cutlery and Reusable Straws
A major source of waste in Vietnam are straws and plastic cutlery. One of the best ways to reach your zero waste travel goals is to carry around your own set of metal cutlery and reusable straw to avoid using so much plastic. Although Vietnam’s plastic consumption is high, there are a number of shops and restaurants who have taken it upon themselves to make a difference. It’s important to support these types of initiatives to encourage others to follow a zero-waste travel style.
Shampoo and conditioner in plastic bottles can be a nightmare when packed in your luggage, let alone being bad for the environment. By purchasing a shampoo bar, you will reduce your plastic consumption and make packing easier as you no longer have to worry about it bursting your luggage and you can pack it in your carry on bag.
Reusable Shopping Bag
Carry around your own reusable shopping bag, which are relatively easy to find in tourist areas of Vietnam. This way, you can avoid stocking up on copious amounts of plastic bags that will inevitably end up in the ocean. Remember to tell the cashier “no bag” as they will give you one for even the smallest item.
Use public Transport
Although it’s easy enough to rent a motorbike in Vietnam, it does contribute to the problematic air pollution that is ever so present, especially in Hanoi. Although using public transport is much better for the environment, walking is even better. In doing so, you’ll not only reduce your carbon footprint drastically but you’ll be able to walk off all the coconut coffee’s you will probably drink and you’ll be able to see more. It’s a win-win situation! You can keep track of your carbon footprint by inserting your travel details into Myclimate.org and ensure a zero-waste travel style.
Choose Eco-Friendly Accommodation
Eco-friendly accommodation may be more difficult but as soon as you reach the outskirts of the city, there will be plenty of eco-friendly accommodation options. However, other ways to incorporate your own eco-friendly methods can be to check whether your hotel has a recycling system which you can contribute to, ask questions about their sustainability methods and by reusing your towels instead of getting new ones every day.
Carry a Reusable Water Bottle
It is advisable not to drink the tap water in Vietnam, which makes having bottled water essential. However, instead of buying a new bottle every time you are thirsty, buy a reusable bottle and fill it up at your accommodation, which will most probably be freely available at all times.
By shopping fairly in Vietnam, you support locals financially and their skill set, which is often unique to Vietnam. The easiest way to do so is to shop at markets and small independent shops rather than large chain stores. There are a number of fair trade shops in Vietnam that aim to support local artisans.Although these items may be slightly more expensive, it ensures that workers receive a fair price and that their working conditions are adequate. Additionally, small scale artisan workers produce less pollution, which indirectly contributes to your zero-waste travel style. I Love Vietnam Tour offers tourists the opportunity to meet and support local artisans through tours such as the Experience Traditional Crafts in Hue Tour and the Hoi An Handicraft Tour.
Choose Small Tour Operators
By travelling with small, independent tour operators that have ethical standards, you will receive a more authentic and genuine experience but will also be supporting organizations that are making an impact not only in their staff’s lives but also within their surrounding community. There are a number of organizations like this in Vietnam such as the combination of I Love Vietnam Tour and I Love Asia Tour; and the Sapa Sisters. Both of these organizations focus on empowering women within their communities and support green initiatives.
Invest in a Reusable Coffee Cup
Takeaway coffee cups make up a huge portion of the plastic pollution problem we have and in a country like Vietnam, where coffee is a major part of the culture, it’s important to not contribute further.
Pick Up Rubbish
Unfortunately, Vietnam is infamous for their litter pollution. However, there are awesome initiatives across the country that locals, expats and tourist can get involved in such as Keep Hanoi Clean and Hoi An Clean Up. Otherwise, if you are walking along the beach or in a green area, pick up the rubbish you see along the way. Every action counts towards making Vietnam greener!
Vietnam is a truly beautiful country that deserves to be kept in the best conditions for future generations. I Love Vietnam Tour and I Love Asia Tour strives to be as eco-friendly as possible and supports initiatives across Vietnam that aim to make the country greener. Go green this April 2019 with I Love Vietnam Tour as we celebrate Earth Day!