It can be very tricky to travel remote parts of Australia and be completely waste free. I’m not going to pretend to be perfect – rather I’d say we are waste aware. We are now seasoned travellers and have learnt from our time abroad that things aren’t always going to be perfect, but we know to recognise when we slip up and how to make changes for next time.
We’re halfway around Australia in a van, this is our experience: words & images: Edwina Kidd
Our rubbish bin is tiny!
The smaller the bin the more you have to empty it and the more annoyed and aware you’ll be of your waste.
It’s such a nuisance having to find space for garbage when you are in such a confined space, so we try to cut the waste before we buy something. When we do have rubbish, it goes into our tiny bin and is a reminder of our waste impact!
We shop waste free every couple of days where possible.
We shop at fruit & veg outlets and bakeries for fresh produce and bread. This means that we are buying only what we need and not grabbing any ‘just in case’ items. By buying exactly what we need for meals we never throw out produce. Our limited storage space helps us keep on track with our sustainable travel goals.
We eat vegetarian at least 3 days a week.
Cooking with meat is our biggest contributor to our waste. When we do buy meat, such as minced meat, we buy it in 1kg lots so we can then stretch it out for 2 – 3 meals.
We are currently in Western Australia and interestingly you have to search high and low to find a recycling bin – they don’t have them, particularly in rural towns! Because of this we have begun eating more vegetarian meals which has made our waste significantly less, more convenient and our shopping more cost effective.
Keep your wraps, produce bags and shopping bags (travel essentials!) easily accessible.
Our shopping bags are conveniently behind the driver’s seat and I ALWAYS keep a calico bag in my handbag, because you never know when you’ll stumble across a good package free fruit and veg store. Our beeswax wraps are just part of our everyday now, avocados, tomato, cheese and cucumber can all be found in the fridge wrapped in pretty colours. Our produce bags go shopping with us every time, I love standing next to someone putting their apples in a plastic bag and showing them how it should be done!
Eat and drink in.
If you need a takeaway coffee while travelling, WHY ARE YOU TRAVELLING?! Sit down and immerse yourself in the sights, smells, noises and tastes of the place that you are in. Of course, there are times that they don’t offer sit down such as farmers markets. SO, my rule is if I didn’t BYO coffee cup, I can’t have one.
EXTRA ZERO WASTE VAN LIFE TIP
– having a big water jug and fridge that runs 24/7 means that we will never have to pay for water or get naughty takeaways. Everything keeps fresh for weeks so we will never run out of food!
Travelling is such a rewarding experience in more ways than one. For us, we do it to see how cultures, towns and mother nature shape us as individuals and as a couple. Our thoughts, perspectives and values are ever evolving to be better people. Admittedly we make mistakes, but we learn for next time what to do differently just as with our waste, we can all adapt and learn to make changes for a better future.