Many of us are now aware that our oceans are drowning in plastic. It’s getting harder and harder to escape the stats. However, those of us living in the developed world are often quite nicely shielded from the effect our waste is having on the planet and its wildlife. This can cause many Westeners to be shocked when they arrive in the developing world. Without the infrastructure in place which redistributes and recycles or simply hides our waste we are often confronted for the first time with the reality. The impact our rampant consumption is having on the planet becomes painfully obvious.
Of course there is an environmental footprint associated with air travel but arguably the bigger footprint is the amount of waste we each generate as we go about our day-to-day lives. Whilst it’s great to minimise our waste in general , traveling is a good chance to kick start a less wasteful lifestyle.
If you’re planning to join one of our projects spend a little bit of time planning so that you can be a minimal waste tourist. There is no plastic recycling on Borneo so please make an attempt to minimise your waste production as much as possible. In order to do this we suggest you bring some essentials such as re-useable straws, utensils, drink bottles, shopping bags and coffee mugs with you.
There is an increasing trend towards zero waste toiletries; shampoo bars, deodorant bars, moisturiser bars etc are now readily accessible and are a great way to eliminate some plastic packaging from your life.
Please resist the urge to buy new clothes specifically for the project especially if you intend to bin them when you’re finished. At the end of each fortnight we are inundated with clothes volunteers leave behind. Depending on the condition they are in we do wash most of this abandoned clothing and either donate it locally or use it for enrichment. However, the fast fashion industry is incredibly exploitative of humans and damaging to our planet (the second most damaging industry in the world when all stages of production are taken into account). Therefore, if you don’t have any clothes at home that you’re happy to get muddy, painty, sweaty and generally ruined then pop down to a charity shop and pick up some essentials, it’ll save you money and it wont cost the earth.
For more info about these issues you can check out: