Flying I expect is one of the bigger contributors to my personal carbon footprint and I wanted to explore this before I typed up my five tips for flying low waste. By the end of March I will have already flown 8 times in 2019; it's mine and my friends 30th birthday year plus it's that time of my life where there are numerous hens and weddings and I really don't want to miss out on all of the memories! First world problems hey but I'm sure a lot of you can relate.
Draft: 5 tips for flying low waste
So, I've been curious to know if my flights this year (so far...) may have already undone all of my good deeds like shopping low waste and eating a vegan diet so I've finally looked into my carbon emissions associated with flying. See the results below!
It's my first small step into this area and new territory for me. For example, did you know Sweden have the word 'flugsham' aka Flying Shame. Well, that's what I feel right now, but is it for good reason?! I have a lot of thoughts spinning around my head right now...'should I feel flying shame, is it too 'extreme', maybe I should cut down on flying, no I'll never quit flying, how will I go snowboarding?, oh god I don't know what to do or think...'
What I do know for sure is that this eco journey we are all on isn't straight forward. I'm constantly researching the facts, seeking out opinions and trying to decide where I sit on the fence. In regard to flying, I'm still not sure...
Let's get into the figures...
A quick calculation on the Carbon Footprint Calculator tells me I am responsible for 0.47 tonnes of CO2e over my four return flights from Dec 2018-March 2019.
Now, according to this website, an American meat-eater is responsible for 3.3t CO2e and a vegan 1.5t CO2e which gives me some comfort that I'm still below even the average diet of 2.5t CO2e when you take my diet and flights into account...however of course this isn't a reason to fly more!
Did you know, worldwide, livestock accounts for between 14.5 percent and 18 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions which I why I refer to a vegan diet above.
Have you checked out your carbon footprint from flying? Let me know what you thought of the results. I actually expected four return flights to be higher!
If you are flying, here are my 5 tips for flying low waste to make that journey a little less impactful. Whilst you are abroad, see if you can take part in a litter pick or volunterring work to give something back too. (Tips based on a short haul flight - there will be more tips in Spring on longer haul and travel in general)
5 TIPS FOR FLYING LOW WASTE
1. Go paperless
Before you even fly, boarding passes, transfers, hotel vouchers etc. Everything has an app so there is no need to print it all off. Just make sure your phone is fully charged. A top tip is to also screenshot and forward documents to your travel buddies and vice versa in case you can't access the important stuff when you need it.
2. At the airport
Eat in at the airport. Eating-in on a plate to avoid take away packaging and cutlery, plus you can relax and get into the holiday vibe. Just arrive a little early!
3. Take your own water bottle
An instant win. Just remember to drink up before you go through security. Many times I have had to down 500ml of water at the security gate. Once through you can top up either at a restaurant or a water fountain which are usually found by the toilets or at the terminal gate. I take my 500ml insulated bottle to keep my water cold on longer haul flights and see if this can be topped up by flight attendants (I don't know if this is possible?).
For other drinks it's so much harder but you can only choose from what is available. Of course they can't give out alcoholic glass for safety reasons and the weight on board. You can however take you own coffee cup to avoid the disposable plastic cups, or if you get one, hold onto it and reuse as they otherwise replace it after every drink.
4. Take your own snacks
For short flights, I can survive on the food (and maybe a few cocktails) I've had at the airport. If you want a snack but don't have time to make your own, I usually head to a coffee shop or the likes of Leon and look to see if they have a vegan cookie or similar. I'll ask for it totally naked. They'll always try and give you a bag and/or napkin but politely decline. Pop it in a container or food wrap you have in your hand luggage (extra tip 4a) and you're good to go.
For longer haul, I love homemade energy balls as they'll last a few days too for emergency snacks on arrival. I take them in my leakproof and airtight container to make sure they stay fresh. Another great snack if I don't have time to make the energy balls is a mix of nuts, seeds and few chocolate chips in a canister.
(Meals on planes will covered in more depth in a future blog post, however it's catch 22. Refuse it and they have already heated it up and not only the packaging but the food goes to waste too!)
My basic recipe for energy balls is as follows and you can always add you choice of nuts, seeds etc into the mix.
Makes approx 14 balls.
1 cup dates (soak for 10 mins beforehand in hot water and remove the stone)
3 tbsp nut butter
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1 tbsp chia seeds
2/3 cup oats
Blend together and roll into balls. Add more nut butter if the mixture isn't sticking together very well. You can then roll the balls in lots of different things to jazz them up. My favourite are desiccated coconut, hemp seeds, beetroot powder or raw cacao powder. Pop them in the fridge to firm up and they are ready to eat.
5. What to Pack
Here's my hand luggage kit so I'm prepared for the airport and when I land:
Cutlery (bamboo cutlery is ok to take on the plane but not metal)
Cloth bag for picking up any naked snacks
Stainless steel canister for pre-made snacks. They are so handy when you land and you're starving.
I hope the above tips have helped, although they may be seemingly obvious! Don't forgot to offset your carbon footprint too. I'm yet to do so but will recommend how to do this when I've looked into it further as you want to make sure your money goes to a quicker more permanent carbon saving scheme.
Have you heard of Hi-Fly airline? They flew the first single use plastic free flight on Boxing Day 2018 and have removed all single use plastic from their fleet!
I'd love to hear below or over on Instagram what your thoughts are on Flying Shame.