Ever since the announcement that the federal government is looking at banning single use plastics, I’ve been making a more concerted effort to bring my own reusable alternatives with me. Recently we took a family road trip to attend a wedding and got to try out some of the things I’ve collected. From experience, I know its not easy to satisfy ‘I’m hungry’ every 5 minutes without making a bag of garbage each on road trips. But, with a little prep work, I was up for the challenge.
I took a page from the 1980’s car trip playbook of my childhood and planned and packed food ahead. That, along with a few reusable dishes, and we were very successful at not making much garbage at all.
I made classic sandwiches for everyone to eat on the road for lunch. Fresh fruit, bulk potato chips, and home-made trail mix all made for low-waste snack options. I brought plastic bowls for the kids to eat their snacks out of and water bottles for drinks, along with an additional canteen of water. We made it all the way to Edmonton without one purchase needed! Any compost we created I collected into an empty Tupperware container to bring home.
The adults shared in the snacks, and we also brought along reusable travel mugs. Dad likes his coffee, so we made sure to stop at places that allowed us to use them. All coffee stops were achieved without any single-use waste.
While in Edmonton, we stopped at one of my favorite stores: Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) (Did I mention how excited I am that we are getting one in Saskatoon??). There I purchased a perfect container for restaurant leftovers. For a while now I’ve been looking for something lightweight that packs flat and has a liquid-tight lid. Among their backpacking supplies MEC had the perfect thing: A Sea to Summit brand silicone container that hit all the marks.
We ate at the restaurant chain Freshii on the way home because the kids love the soup there. My youngest didn’t finish all of hers so I put the new container to the test – and it held soup with no leaks. We also brought along our own metal straws for the kids’ smoothies and cutlery for our meals. I like stopping at Freshii because, although ‘fast food’, their meals come in compostable paper fibre bowls. We hung onto those too, and they’re all in the home compost now.
It was really satisfying to do a waste-free weekend trip with the family and to prove my reusable options work. What about you, have you considered how you’ll do trips without single use plastics? I’d love to hear your hacks.