21 November 2009

green 1 thing: in-flight impact

Thanksgiving is less than a week away, a lot of you have one thing on your mind: home. Roughly 38 million Americans travel for the holidays, with many of them taking to the rails and skies. When people consider how rough travel is on our environment, the littler things - like the millions of snacks and beverages distributed in-flight - are often overlooked. Those little bottles of water and bags of peanuts really ad up, both in physical waste and production energy. You can help cut down on this waste by trying the following easy alternatives:

  • Bringing your own snacks not only allows you to refuse the individually-sized bags offered on planes, but provides you with the freedom to choose whatever you like. You'll also save big bucks if you happen to be taking a method of transit that doesn't offer free goodies (like Amtrak).

  • If you're in for the long haul, the vegan/vegetarian option has the lowest environmental impact of all the in-flight meals. This handy list from CheapFlights tells you which airlines offer what meals - from gluten-free to whole food - and how to get them.

  • Airlines use about 1 million disposable cups every 6 hours, something easily avoided by bringing your own bottle. Most airlines, however, will simply refill your eco-friendly bottle with bottled water, thwarting your good intentions. Try bringing your empty bottle, filling up in the fountain after security (liquids will not be allowed through), and then turn down the cups on the plane.
If we all choose these more environmentally sound options, we can eliminate nearly 500,000 tons of waste per year - a figure that is predicted to increase 45% by the year 2015. Try it out, and feel good about doing good! And of course, no matter where you go or how you get there, I hope you get there safe, sound, healthy, and happy!
Image via AirlineMeals.net

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