Reducing Waste on Holiday

We recently went away, the three of us, on an all-inclusive 10-day holiday to the Riu Creole Resort in Mauritius. We wanted a holiday where we could escape the routine of our everyday lives – the cooking, the cleaning, the T.V. and where Madison could be free to play and swim at her heart’s content.


UnPacking An All-Inclusive Holiday To Mauritius

This was the first holiday we’ve all gone on since actively refusing as much plastic and single use items as possible, consciously managing all our waste, and becoming so much more aware of the abuse of these items around us. And that is just the human waste – this doesn’t touch on plane/ bus waste or the boat tourism side of things.

I’ve seen other blogger’s posts and read up on zero waste travel so I had an “idea” of how to pack, what to pack and what to try refusing and be prepared for on the holiday.

First off I kinda figured that there’d be a laundry service available at the resort – a free one… well they have a laundry service but it aint free nor cheap! I packed 5 days worth of clothes, for the 10 day holiday, for Mark and I expecting us to wash halfway – well we wore and aired our clothes carefully the whole holiday kkk and I tried spending more time in my swimsuit. The one thing with a resort hotel is that you need to dress appropriately for dinner time so we had to make our clothes stretch; humidity doesn’t help in this area but we managed – don’t think anyone was paying attention to how often we wore the same outfit to dinner.

I’m proud about my conscious toiletry packing, we had one toiletry bag between us.
I packed our body and face soaps, jar of homemade deo, small tin of homemade toothpaste, bamboo toothbrushes and a jar of coconut oil with added tea tree and lemon essential oils (an absolute gem! Great for all over moisturiser AND sun burn treatment!) I also took along the peppermint oil for headaches and bloatedness and the lemon and tea tree if any of us got sunburnt, I could add to the coconut oil for extra healing (and it truly works! – Mark got sunburnt at the beginning of the trip and this eased his pain thankfully, quickly and mine at the end) Good thing I packed Rehydrate sachets too for the one day Mark got sun stroke.

For our fandamily of we had one check in bag, so that got one sticker label.
For the check in to Mauritius we weren’t as smart as on our return home. On check-in there we got printed boarding passes but Mark was smart coming back, in that we used the boarding passes on his phone that got scanned so nothing was printed coming back. Alas, coming back the lady tagged all our carry on bags but our bags weren’t tagged going there. So, just getting on to a plane there are the stickers around check in luggage, boarding passes and carry on luggage tags to consider that could definitely be avoided with careful planning. I kept a plastic bag with me from the time we boarded the plane in which I stowed ecobrick items until we returned home.

Ditch all the plastic for this toiletry bag of essentials

I ecobricked the luggage stickers, I think I added the boarding pass tabs to the paper recycling.
We have been blessed by Mark’s Business Bank Account to have Dragon Pass. I recommend looking into getting an airport lounge account, we have certain free ones available a year or there’s a yearly fee. You can go shower, sleep, watch tellie, eat and get drinks for free! No waiting on uncomfortable airport chairs or wondering where to charge your phone and less of a plastic footprint by avoiding the airport snack shops or food court food.

On the plane we discovered a bit of a catch 22 and I’d love to hear other people’s views on this!
I have seen zero wasters that purchase their own snacks and drinks before boarding the plane so as to refuse the plane food.
What we are confused about – do we need to decline a meal upon booking the air tickets? Because on the plane the meal is already made – what happens to that meal if we refuse it? Does it get chucked? And it’s already made so the waste is there whether we make use of it or not.
I asked the air steward about the sorting of the meals upon landing and I think there is some sort of recycling later on but fodge – plane food waste, single use waste and endless amounts of plastic wrapped items. When we had drinks we declined the cup and stirrer and I took my bottle of wine off the plane with me.

Plane food is seriously NOT zero waste – there is so much single use I could die! I managed our plate waste by sharing a meal with Madison and keeping all the packaging to ecobrick after our holiday. When we got off that plane I was so shocked to look at the mess around people’s seats! People really can be pigs when waste is someone else’s problem. Imagine if each individual had to take responsibility for his or her own waste before leaving a place! We had steel cutlery in plastic, little plastic butters, meals in plastic, plastic stirrers, biscuits in plastic and cheeses in foil.

In our hotel I kept the aircon off until we really needed it. I also watch our towels diligently – I make sure to hang up the ones we use and I told the cleaning guys not to change our towels each day unless they were in the bath. Sadly, it doesn’t always work out and I think the routine of their jobs is that they just change the towels.

An Island Girl Next to Her Island Towel
Refuse Plastic Straws!

Two of the scariest waste things we came across at our resort are the food and the straws! Certain bartenders started calling me the no straw lady which was awesome that they were at least paying attention to me but at other times I got straws popped in my drinks before I could protest.

This is a massive resort with a breakfast, lunch a dinner buffet and two restaurants; and Indian and Chinese. Never before have I thought about buffets and the amount of food waste that could possibly go into that on a daily basis! I actually had to stop thinking about it because I wasn’t enjoying myself! The Indian Restaurant was probably better with the smallest buffet options and a menu option.

I spoke to the bar/ hotel Manager, and even though he liked and agreed with my Last Straw initiative and the reusables I carry, he pointed why reusable straws wouldn’t work even though the hotel is conscious about the fact that they are on the oceanfront, which I understand when I people watch, but I wanted to challenge him further.
Basically people that come on an all-inclusive holiday do not want to lift a finger or worry about a single thing and that includes the messes they leave behind them on the beach and around the pool loungers. The people I was watching was gross man!
Sadly, the hotel has these thin, multi coloured straws that they pop into each drink and sometimes two at a time.
The Manager claims that the beach bar only does this on request but I didn’t see that happening – worst of all is that the beach bar has these large packs of straws on the bar counter. I picked up so many straws on our walks up and down the beach, people just leaving their messes behind them.

At meal times I noticed that people didn’t pack their plates full of food and then not finish, so it was nice that people were a bit more conservative in dishing up their food. BUT oh my word – vegans nightmare – meat everywhere and whole ducks or legs of lamb, seafood platters, platters of sliced meats – 3x a day – daily! I just can’t wrap my head around all that food on a daily basis and what happens at the end of every sitting.

A delicious meal each time of small sample dishes of chicken, fish, lamb and vegetarian
Collected from the outgoing flight, beach, hotel and return flight

We refused straws, ecobricked the ones we were randomly given and ecobricked any other plastics we made be it from a bag of sweets Madi begged for or picked up on beach walks.

It certainly put a slight dampener on our holiday. And I eventually had to stop talking about it all because I didn’t want to ruin Mark’s holiday. We have certainly learnt that because we are on this journey we may have to reconsider how we holiday in future and what our ecological footprint will be.

Until next time…

waste less • refuse more

We went on one outing outside of the resort – a catamaran viewing of the dolphins, lunch onboard, snorkelling and an hour on an island.
I am not sure how ecofriendly the dolphin viewing was though as I felt that the dolphins were kind of herded by all the boating companies 🙁 I was so seasick that I just managed to see some dolphins and then I was tickets, inside the cabin for most of the ride out to the snorkelling, I couldn’t wait to just stop and get off the boat and snorkel. On the island from the brief stop we were there, I noticed a makeshift trash dump where I assume they dig a pit and bury or burn the trash. I seem to recall this form of waste disposal in Mozambique too…

Dive off the boat and have a snorkel
Natural towel wracks
Dumping trash in a pit on an island

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