Tiny Trash Can zero waste air travel tips

Zero waste on airplanes

Flying soon? Don’t forget to bring a reusable bottle/cup/mug on board. That way, if you decide to order a beverage on the plane, you can ask the flight attendant to fill it up for you. If you forgot to bring your own cup, choose a drink that’s served in an easily recyclable container (aluminum can or glass bottle) and not a disposable container (paper or styrofoam cup). Unfortunately, most airlines don’t recycle service items offered during the flight, so before you hand over your recyclables at the end of the flight, ask your flight attendant if they recycle. If they don’t, make the small effort of bringing it with you when you deboard the plane and recycle it in the airport. The planet thanks you 🌏

4 thoughts on “Zero waste on airplanes”

  1. Can you really say that you are creating “zero waste” in this instance just by leaving the waste with the airline? I know you mentioned using a recyclable container, but having them pour your drink into your cup, where they then take the drink container and throw it away still makes you responsible for the waste in my opinion.

    1. The best zero waste option onboard a plane would obviously be to bring your own reusable water bottle on board and decline all drinks and snacks. But not everyone is prepared to do that. I want to meet people where they are and help them make more sustainable choices in their everyday lives. I created the post for those people who want to order a drink on the plane and make the most eco-responsible choice from there. Most drinks are served from a larger container, and refilling a passenger’s reusable cup instead of using a disposable cup does reduce waste. And taking recyclable food service items off the plane to ensure they get recycled also helps.

      I guess I could title my post “reduced waste air travel” 😉 I realize a lot of people have an issue with the term “zero waste” since nothing humans do is truly zero waste (we have to consume to survive), but we can make choices that have less of an impact on the environment. I use the term zero waste because it’s commonly understood to mean living with as little waste as possible. If we take zero waste to the extreme, then someone striving to live zero waste wouldn’t be able to eat at friends’ or families’ homes where food was purchased in packaging and they wouldn’t be able to go to any restaurants unless all the food was grown on the premises or purchased from local farmers. Living that way would be very difficult for most people so I prefer not to go to that extreme. We can’t control the waste created by other people or companies before we arrived. But we can make better choices going forward 🙂

  2. Tippi, You are doing a good job. Refusing one of the 1 million plastic cups trashed on U.S. airlines every six hours is a step in the right direction. I think your message is probably intended for people starting the zero waste journey. Those of us who are further down that road pack big water bottles and scoobie snacks from the bulk bins.

    1. Yes, this post is designed for people who are starting their zero waste journey (or who forgot to pack their reusable bottle) 🙂 I, too, bring my own bottle and containers for the plane ride!

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