Business comes in many different faces, and sometimes travelling around is necessary to expand and make it grow. But, if we’re eco-conscious, there’s gonna be a little guilt about the things we need to do.
When our jobs demand us to be in a lot of hotel stays, flights, and other journeys— and most, if not all, depend on company travel policies and budgets—how do we make it more environmentally friendly?
Well, here are some tips that may help you.
Stick around when you can
We can’t deny that with the advancement of technology combined with the pandemic situation a while ago, it’s not always crucial to do business trips and have online meetings instead.
Therefore, we can now cut travel costs and its environmental impacts through videoconference calls from many choices of software or apps available.
This online meeting may be a good chance for us to check if direct, face-to-face meeting is necessary. Or, it could also be an opportunity to see if the people we work with are, apparently, completely okay with full online meetings.
While they make our lives a little bit easier, convenience items can be less than eco-friendly. So, try to ditch those types of items and bring your own items with you.
Bottles and travel mugs
Usually, airports, hotels, other clean, public places have water fountains around. And if the areas are well-maintained or hygienic, you’ll get good water. When you know that your destination has those fountains, bring your medium to large water bottle so that you don’t need to refill it so often.
The same goes to your caffeine of choice or any types of quick beverages you need to get. Your personal travel mug is there to make your day better while also not hurting the environment further.
Bring the collapsible one so it doesn’t stuff up your bag; though remember that it doesn’t hold heat or cold well.
Then, refuse coffee stirs and straws by bringing your own straws. And again, bring the collapsible ones if you want because they’re great for your bag.
Stainless, bamboo, or wooden utensils
Speaking of collapsible straws, remember to also bring other utensils with you. So, whenever you order take-outs, you don’t need to use plastic or single-use utensils. Be sure to also refuse plastic utensils and condiment sachets.
Light, reusable bags
Pretty sure that we have a collection of good plastic bags that we can reuse. So, if you have one or two of them, remember to bring them with you in your travels. When you need to shop for souvenirs or stuff, put them all inside.
It’d also be great if you have and bring one of those lightweight but strong reusable bags that you can fold so that it’s a lot more travel-friendly.
And speaking of plastic or paper bags that you bring from home or get during your travels, keep them around as garbage bags to gather waste. Preferably, you bring two: one for dry waste and the other for organic (fruit peels, pith, etc.) waste.
Set aside bottles for shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and soap
And no, this isn’t about travel-size brands because they run out so fast—that is, unless we refill them.
But yeah, it’s better if we bring our stuff from home instead of using amenities from the hotel. Because when you use the complimentary hotel products, they may end up in landfills. It’s important to know that not all hotels recycle or manage their waste properly.
Traverse well and wisely
When you can, avoid flying and instead take a bus or train to your destination. Nowadays, there are some trains with facilities just for business professionals that can offer us a faster alternative than flying.
But if you do need to fly, opt for the direct route—when it’s possible. This may reduce your emissions by up to 50% compared to changing flights. Direct routes could avoid emissions from takeoffs, landings, and taxis for the plane.
And once you’ve arrived, choose public transport if the destination has a good infrastructure for it. Depending on your destinations, it’s can be quicker and cheaper because we don’t have to be stuck in traffic.
If everything’s near you or your hotel, then you may just want to walk instead. You’ll experience more when you walk because you can discover parts of a city that you may not notice at all when you take a bus or taxi.
Got only taxi or renting a car as your option? No worries. But, make sure that you share the car with your colleagues. Schedule your travels so that you can use the car at the same time so you’ll help reduce your environmental impact.
Pick a good location for your accommodation
It’s true when people say location is vital, especially if you want to continue your effort to be eco-conscious while business travelling.
Something to consider: are you going to need a taxi or other petrol-powered transportation every time you need to grab something or go somewhere?
So, it’d be better to take some time to research distances between the hotel we’re going to stay in and clients’ office or meeting location, and restaurants or cafes. It’ll help you decide if the hotel can really boost your efforts to be environmentally friendly.
However, if you can’t have a say in terms of location because of company policy or budget, then look for greener methods of transport, and do the things mentioned above.
Speaking of hotels…
The hospitality industry, while it can be beneficial for cities or countries’ tourism economy, can contribute to a considerable amount of waste and emissions.
Energy consumption of one hotel can be significant—lighting, heating, electronics, and air conditioning are a few of the largest contributors.
Also, there’s food and general waste from this industry. Single-use stuff that you can usually find in hotels are not often recycled and may end up producing more.
Therefore, there’s our next point.
Make yourself at home
A simple way to be environmentally friendly during a business trip is by acting that you’re actually at home.
Of course, staying at a hotel can feel like a treat—you know, away from the office, from house chores. But it’d help your green efforts more if you treat your stay like you’re at home.
So, don’t turn on the TV all the time, turn off the electronics when you’re going away, and use towels like you would at home; not just once.
Then, do your best to be tidy and clean just like when you’re at your own domicile. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid cleaning services every single time. Consider the electricity, water, and chemical products used to clean a room. If you’re only staying for a couple of days, think of skipping room cleaning.
Same approach is applicable to cleaning clothes. If we don’t really need to launder clothes, then skip it altogether. When there’s an accident, though, and cleaning is unavoidable, then it’s okay. But, let’s not make it a habit.
With these small actions, it can have a big impact if applied to every hotel room.