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Earth-Healthy Holiday Travel

Earth-Healthy Holiday Travel

The holidays are upon us…perhaps sooner that we thought they would be.  By Halloween, retailers have holiday decorations up and winter coats line the racks in place of swim suits.

Many of us have to travel to see our loved ones for Thanksgiving and that poses its own set of challenges when trying to live more sustainably.

I just went to Chicago for my sister’s 40th birthday party.  I got a great fare, a ride to the airport from my ever-supportive hubby, smooth sailing through security, picked up on the far end and very little stress.

As I went through this process, I became the observer like a private investigator or secret shopper.  How much fuel was burned on our way to the airport?  How much does the plane use?  Where can I recycle and what items are accepted?  What food will they serve on the plane and in what packaging?  Does the airline recycle?

As part of this experiment, I brought my own silicone-covered glass bottle and sipped the water in it on the way to the airport…thereby hydrating my body for the plane ride.  By the time I got to security, I had finished the water since it had to be empty to go through the security scanners.  I packed very lightly so I didn’t have to check a bag and put the empty bottle in the bottle holder on my backpack before putting it on the conveyor belt on its way to the x-ray machine.

In my small purse, I brought along my empty reusable coffee cup and lid along with a cardboard sleeve.

Although I was relaxed on my way to the gate, I actually was running late for the boarding procedure.  So, on the other side of security, I quickly filled my bottle with filtered water at a bottle filling station next to the restrooms and drinking fountains.  By bringing my own bottle, I not only saved a plastic bottle (which won’t biodegrade for 450) years from hitting the landfill, I also saved anywhere from $2.00 to $5.00.

Once seated comfortably on the plane, I settled in with my book until we were at cruising altitude when the flight attendants came by with drinks.  I asked the flight attendant if I could use my own cup for a cup of coffee and she happily complied.

I feel better having used my own cup and bottle knowing that I saved a plastic water bottle from ending up in the landfill or recycled (which uses energy) and saved about $8.00 not having to buy overpriced water and coffee at the airport.  I will run those cups through the dishwasher which will be run anyway (full and using environmentally-friendly dish-washing detergent).

As for the fuel?  I can off-set that using an on-line carbon footprint calculator like one mentioned in my previous blog, here.

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