by Oliver Evans
At home, I have a pretty solid system to limit the waste I produce. I have reusable grocery bags, compost and recycling, I’m conscious of how much water I use, I do my best to use as little plastic as possible, I don’t waste food, etc.
On the road, it can sometimes be difficult to implement what is otherwise normal and simple at home. For example, there are differences in the waste removal systems from city to city, so often people will simply throw all their waste into the same bag and forget about recycling or composting. Taking a minute to ask your host to familiarize you with their system can eliminate this difficulty. I don’t believe that travel should be an excuse to grow lazy or careless. You should always put an effort into being environmentally friendly.
I travel with one or two reusable grocery bags at all times, as well as a backpack, so I’m generally set when I head to the grocery store no matter where I am. Often I have room for a teammate’s groceries too. No need for plastic bags. On the topic of plastic, I also travel with a fork,knife, and spoon camping combo so that I don’t need to use plastic cutlery. I also travel with a mug which I use for coffee anywhere, or tea on ferries. If I don’t have my mug with me and I get a coffee to go, I won’t take a plastic lid.
I also pack a container for food so that I can keep leftovers or pack them for lunch. I take a water bottle everywhere I go so that I never need to buy single-use bottles.
When packing my bike, I have a collection of foam pieces used to protect the frame that I pulled out of a dumpster behind a shop ages ago (this is a very common bike packing strategy). However, I don’t throw the foam out after a trip. Instead, I keep it for the next one and reuse it for years afterward.
My cycling clothing is always hung to dry in order to slow wear. If there’s space, I’ll hang all of my clothes to dry. This helps them last longer, which is sustainable and economical, and uses less energy.
Being environmentally friendly often goes hand in hand with being economical. You can get much better value out of multi-use products, so it’s really a win-win.
Here is a quick list of my environmentally friendly items to pack:
-Cloth grocery bags
-Reusable bike packaging
Travelling sustainably comes down to a little bit of forward planning, and asking questions wherever you go. Having these items also creates convenience when you travel.
Oliver Evans is a 19-year-old cyclist from Winnipeg, who is currently based in Victoria. He races on the road with H&R Block Pro Cycling.