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Air travel has an impact on both our own health as well as our planet’s. When we think about it – the carbon emissions resulting from it as well as the waste produced, or jet-lag – it may not be the healthiest choice after all. However, there are many ways to make your long-haul flight a better experience by considering the environmental impact, your health, and your sleep cycle.

Book an eco-friendly flight and check whether your airline offers carbon offset programs. You can learn more about offsetting your global travels via PATA partner EarthCheck’s carbon calculator here. Be sure to check out our previous tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint and make the most of your air miles.

When getting ready for your journey at home, start with packing eco-friendly travel essentials that allow you to produce zero waste on your next long flight. For example, bring your own empty water bottle(s) to refill at an airport water fountain after passing security and carry your own slow-energy release snacks (e.g. nuts or dried fruits) in a reusable container or environmental friendly packaging. Drink plenty of water two days before traveling and get some exercise if possible. Bring a thermo flask if you like to drink coffee or tea to avoid disposable cups, both at the airport and on the plane. Little changes and a mindful preparation for your flight can have a positive impact on our earth.

At the terminal, stretch your legs and walk around the terminal before boarding. Remember to refill your water bottles to stay well hydrated during the flight. Choose what works best for you to stay healthy on your travels. By avoiding single-use water bottles, cups or disposable cutlery throughout your travels you will also reduce plastic waste in which our oceans and other places around the world are drowning in.

On board, choose to say ‘No’ to all items that are wrapped in plastic on board, from the headphones to the toiletry bag to minimise waste. Move around the plane, wiggle your feet and toes to keep the blood circulating. Lower your window shades to help keep the aircraft cool. You may even want to consider fasting on a long-haul flight to avoid or reduce jet lag. Read more about three good reasons to fast here.

Ready for take-off? Enjoy your flight and stay green.

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Daily life keeps us busy with all kinds of activities – staying healthy and making eco-conscious choices throughout every single day often requires self-discipline, especially in the phase of changing to an environmental friendlier lifestyle. To make life a little easier, we have two fun suggestions that will not only help you be kind to the environment, but also support your very own wellbeing while staying connected to a community of like-minded people.

1. Go ‘plogging’

No, that’s not a typo – ‘plogging’ describes a fitness craze that started in Sweden and has spread across the world over the last month. It is easy, addictive and highly effective! You go jogging and pick up litter on the way. Get your heart pumping and burn extra calories by bending  down to pick up trash! The health of our planet as well as your own body benefit from plogging. The best part is that it can be a social activity and is suitable for both urban and rural locations. Find a group of ploggers via social media or start your own and go for a jog e.g. along the beach, around your neighbourhood, on a trail in a park or forest nearby and pick up litter.  Be inspired by these 10 ploggers sharing what they find in one workout on social media.

2. Let rivers, lakes and the ocean be your playground

Whether you prefer to go under water for a snorkel or dive, or stay above water, e.g. on a paddle board or kayak – bring a litter picker and tie a refuse sack around your wrist or hip to put put away any litter you come across. Join a plastic patrol and help clean up our waters – every single piece of litter matter. Watch the example of kayak tours with the mission to help clean up Hoai river in Hoi An, Vietnam to see how easy it is. Kayak clean ups are also suitable for corporate initiatives or as team building activity.

Make sure to recycle and dispose the trash you pick up during any of the above activities properly. Only then you can ensure that you have helped to provide a cleaner planet for our current and future generation.

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With the PATA Annual Summit 2018 (PAS 2018) taking place in Gangwon Province in the Republic of Korea, we invite you to maximise your experience before, during and after the event by making responsible choices and exploring the coastal location of the event in “Gangneung” style. To get a general overview of what it means to travel for business responsibly, start with checking our Responsible Business Travel Guide. It provides you with easy to follow steps and ideas when getting ready for your travel, during your trip and returning home.

While you are in Gangneung, let your tastebuds experience sensations arousing from the flavours and ingredients of the local cuisine, also known as “K-Food”.  Choosing local and seasonal food helps reduce greenhouse gas emission so why not make the most out of your stay by enjoying the robust flavours of classic Korean cooking. Gangwon Province also offers a variety of fresh products from pollution-free agriculture and fishery programmes. Did you know that the Republic of Korea introduced a “Low Carbon Certification System for Agriculture and Lifestock Products”? The system supports agricultural enterprises in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and simultaneously helps ethical consumers to purchase agriculture produce certified as low carbon products. Keep an eye open for those products.

If you are looking for traditional specialties to snack on, try Hangwa. If you have enough time on your hands, visit Moraenae – a country village where you can learn about the 130 years old tradition of making this traditional snack made from glutinous rice and fine sesame.

If you are a coffee lover, Gangneung, also referred to as the spiritual home of the Korean coffee craze, is the place to be. Head down to “Coffee Street”, bring your tumbler and sip on a cup of coffee while strolling along the bustling beachside.

Find out what’s behind the great buzz around Korean food and coffee yourself, explore Gangneung, a city full of tradition and history and share your experiences with us during PAS 2018!

Remember to download the PATA event app (for iOS or on Google Play) to stay on top of the programme and news while minimising the use and waste of paper.

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Business meetings, conferences, networking events, social gatherings, etc., all of these events have one thing in common – the exchange of business cards among professionals. Though we are living in a digital world with smartphones, laptops and tablets, the exchange of business cards is still a universal ritual in the corporate world. They make it easy for people to connect as they carry essential contact information, however 88 percent of business cards handed out will be thrown out in less than a week. With this in mind, we need to make eco-friendly choices at the time of purchase as well as look for ideas to recycle or upcycle in order to help reduce the impact on the environment.

You can make a start with getting business cards printed on recycled paper – be inspired by these five eco-friendly options. You can also hold back on simply throwing out collected or expired cards even if the stack of cards has piled up to an unbearable level on your desk or in your favorite junk drawer. Give them a second chance with one of the following cool and useful recycling and upcycling ideas:

  1. Make your own chalkboard tags: Apply a coat of chalkboard paint to the business cards and let it dry overnight. Punching a hole in the side will turn the old unwanted business card into a stylish hanging label or even gift tag. It makes a neat label for flowers and herbs in your garden or kitchen when attached to a small stick or a toothpick. Be inspired by examples here.
  2. Convert old cards to reusable note cards: Laminate the cards, add a magnet (if you are using magnet board) to one of the sides and add them to your organizational board. Using a dry erase pen to take notes, write down tasks or other reminders, allows you to reuse the cards as often as you wish.
  3. Turn trash into treasured decoration: Get creative and create a piece of decoration made from old business cards for the next office party or a colleague’s birthday. Surprise your team member at their next birthday with a colorful, personalised birthday banner. Get ideas for the design here.
  4. Take it to the next level: If you have more time on your hands, you may want to consider making your own homemade paper from old cards teared into little pieces. You can find instructions here.

There are many ways to extend the lifespan of a business card, choose an option that is most useful for you.

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A touch of green: Benefits of plants at your workspace

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Work overload, stress, low level of productivity, and illness – these are workplace characteristics many of us have experienced or witnessed at some point in our life. Perhaps you and your colleagues currently are facing a challenging time. Have you considered brightening up your workspace with plants to boost productivity?

The beneficial effects of greenery at the workplace have been researched numerous times in the past. In fact, it has been scientifically proven that the number of indoor plants proximal to a worker’s desk had small but statistically reliable associations with a decrease in sick leave and an increase in productivity. Plants in closed environments not only provide you with cleaner air by removing chemicals emitted from computers and furniture and adding humidity to the atmosphere, they also release phytochemicals that suppress mould spores and bacteria. Nature has a great impact on your mood – looking at it can help your brain shift into a more relaxed mode and ultimately reduce stress. Study results from Australia have outlined significant drops in reported depression, anger and hostility as well as tension and anxiety after introducing office plants.

Did you know that Aloe Vera and Bamboo Palm are among the recommended air improving indoor plants? Learn more about which indoor plants keep your environment alive here. Looking specifically for low-light plants, desk plants or low maintenance options? Check out these recommendations.

Ready to take your productivity to the next level? Make use of the benefits of mother nature, get a plant and bring a touch of green to your desk and workspace.

Be sure to also check out our tips on greening your way to work and staying healthy at work.

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April 22 is Earth Day! Did you know that the environmental movement started close to 48 years ago in 1970, when millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development?

This year’s Earth Day campaign will focus on ending plastic pollution – it is now your turn to stand up, join in, and take action!

It is important to remember the connection between plastics and climate change since the latter is one of the most pressing issues affecting our planet today. An estimated five ounces of carbon dioxide is emitted for every ounce of Polyethylene Terephthalate produced.  Polyethylene Terephthalate, also known as PET, is the plastic most commonly used to make water bottles.

Earth Day Network’s End Plastic Pollution campaign includes four major components. Educating people worldwide to take personal responsibility for plastic pollution by choosing to reject, reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics is one of them. Find out about the other three here.

With only four days left until Earth Day 2018, here are four things you can do to support #EndPlasticPollution

There are many simple and easy tips to help you go green, keep our earth safe, spend less, and make every day Earth Day. Remember that you can make a difference and be the change every single day of the year.

For more easy reading, check out our tips on how to reduce plastic waste on our beaches and in our waters and 3 easy ways to tackle plastic.

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Fancy sipping a smoothie, long drink, coconut water or any other beverage using a straw? Make sure to make the sustainable choice when doing so. In short, refuse single-use plastic straws and choose a reusable alternative. These decisions are key to making our world a cleaner and better place.

Single-use plastic straws simply do not have a place in our society as they don’t get along with our environment. Although single-use plastic straws amount to only a tiny fraction of plastic pollution in our ocean, their small size and light weight makes them one of the most insidious polluters. Not making their way into the recycling bins, plastic straws cause beach pollution and threaten the life of many marine animals.

We therefore invite you to pick a reusable drinking straw of your preference, always keeping it with you and spreading the word to encourage others to join the movement in reducing and preventing plastic waste that harms our environment.

  • Bamboo: Go back to nature with a natural and reusable bamboo straw. They are not only durable but also beautiful. They often come with a handy cleaning brush to wash them out for years of use. You can find some more tips for cleaning and being nice to your straw here.
  • Silicone: Light and unbreakable, silicone is great for its practicality. Choose a silicone straw made from high quality food grade silicone that will help you save plastic straws from polluting our environment and protect your teeth.
  • Stainless-steel: Prefer a very durable and elegant option? Go with a stainless-steel drinking straw which is stain-free, rustproof, and scratch-proof. You won’t have to worry about metallic aftertaste. If you like fine cutlery, complete your silverware collection by purchasing a set of stainless steel straws. Read more about benefits of going stainless-steel here.
  • Glass: Looking for something classy? Go glassy with a clear lead-free glass straw alternative. The durable straws are shatterproof and are ideal for both hot and cold drinks. Both ends are smooth and round which makes the straw comfortable to use and safe. Choose the style and size that suits your lifestyle.
  • Acrylic: This option may be perfect to use in your tumblers. Go with an innovative, reusable, acrylic straw which can bend like normal straws. From birthday parties to holiday get-togethers, colorful reusable straws from food-safe plastic increase the fun at any gathering.

Apart from these, we invite you to chew on innovative ideas such as edible straws. Check out these Eatapple straws which are made from leftovers of Germany’s apple juice production.

Interested in fighting the war against straws? Be inspired by some examples here.

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A recent research from The Ocean Cleanup shows that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch comprises an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of rubbish and is more than 16 times bigger than previously thought. With 8 million tons of plastic leaking into the ocean every year, all litter in our oceans harm over 600 marine species. Publicly taking a pledge to reduce plastic by saying “NO” to plastic water bottles or single-use straws in order to help the environment is a good start, however many of us struggle to go the extra and most important step: consuming accordingly!

With these apps, refusing and reducing plastic in your daily life is made easy, even when you are travelling:

1. WeTap

About: Thirsty? Ditch the plastic bottle with this drinking fountain app. WeTap allows you to find public water fountains easily. You can also assist other by adding new ones to the public database. Utilising and appreciating tap water – both the quality and access – is an important step in ensuring our water remains safe, tasty, and protected. Download the app here.

Where you can use it: worldwide

2. RefillMyBottle

About: Be it a hotel, a shop, warung or retreat business, a group of sustainable businesses on Bali have teamed up to offer travellers the opportunity for a bottle refill of clean water from a gallon or Nazava water filter. RefillMyBottle is a great showcase of the tourism industry’s commitment in preserving Bali’s eco-system. To map the initiative, RefillMyBottle has published an easily accessible Google map of all the places where you can refill your water bottle. Check the map to find the location of the nearest refill point or look for the RefillMyBottle sticker in the window of the establishment to refill your bottle! Download the app here.

Where you can use it: currently in Indonesia, expanding to Thailand and Vietnam

3. Zero Waste Home

About: Find, add and rate bulk locations near you and throughout the world using Bulk Finder. Shop without needless plastic wrappings and packaging. On the Zero Waste blog, you can further find information about living a Zero Waste lifestyle. Download the app here.

Where you can use it: worldwide

Another map (website-based) that provides a directory of packaging-free shops, borrowing shops and other facilities that promote a more environmentally-friendly and sensible consumption is the Zero Waste Map. The map is primarly for use in in Central Europe, however you can also enter new locations for relevant categories, upload your own images and exchange ideas in the forum with other interested members.

You can also learn more about plastic in our oceans with the MY LITTLE PLASTIC FOOTPRINT APP (Beta Version). This app provides fun facts on how to reduce the use of plastic. You can play an interactive quiz, use a Plastic Footprint calculator and learn how to adopt healthy habits regarding plastic consumption. The app also lets you spread awareness among your friends.

 

Interested in more apps that can help you embrace a sustainable lifestyle? Check out three more here.

 

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Guest blogger Jackie Edwards gives tips for sustainable hair and skincare when traveling:

The tide of sustainable travel is rising in Asia, thanks to savvy hoteliers who are in tune with the modern traveler’s wishes to experience the beauty of the world without leaving a huge carbon footprint. Sustainability involves everything from water recycling right through to activities such as tree planting or beach clean-ups. Conscientious travelers are taking it a step further by ensuring their skin and beauty routines are not polluting waterways or using environmentally harmful packaging. In this post, we highlight just a few ways that beauty and sustainability during don’t have to be mutually exclusive concepts when traveling.

Packaging and content of personal care items

When buying creams and serums to take along with you on your trip, ensure that as many products as possible come in biodegradable, compostable or plantable packaging and that they don’t contain chemical ingredients that are harmful to you and the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified personal care products and pharmaceuticals as “emerging contaminants of concern” for fish. These chemicals can lead to various diseases in sea life, which are in turn consumed by other animals up the food chain. Do your share for the environment when shopping for personal care items abroad by avoiding products containing toxic ingredients, some of the most common of which include phthalates, sulfates, and parabens.

Opting for a natural look

Those with long, multi-ethnic hair can choose a perm over natural hair as a way to reduce the need for styling while traveling the globe. While styling curly hair can be more challenging than ‘relaxed’ hair, perms can affect our health and the environment, as toxic chemicals used in these treatments can once again make their way into our water system, affecting fish and other marine life.

One study by Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) found that long-term exposure to products commonly used in hair salons leads to a plethora of negative health conditions frequently faced by salon workers.

Styling curly hair and having beautifully defined curls is easy. It requires two main things: deep moisturization, and a hair diffuser, which is used to give curls an extra bounce. Forego shampooing and use a conditioner instead. While conditioning hair in the shower, add a little olive, coconut, or argan oil and rinse out afterward. For an extra moisture boost, add a bit more oil, comb hair out and voila! You won’t even need to dry your hair afterward.

For makeup, try replacing your favorite commercial brands with mineral makeup brands, which possess beautiful textures and long-lasting power, much like best-selling brands.

DIY beauty

You can make a plethora of travel products yourself and if you use fragrant essential oils, we guarantee you will become hooked on the quality of what you produce. Think exfoliants made by mixing coconut oil with rock salt or sugar, or homemade deodorant made by blending a tablespoon of shea butter, a teaspoon of baking powder and few drops of an essential oil like lemon or bergamot. Think of how much plastic you will be saving by foregoing store-bought versions.

Reuse and recycle

Do you remove makeup with disposable wipes? There is no need to do so when you can do a much better job with a piece of cloth (cut up into squares) and a dab of micellar water, which removes even the toughest makeup products.

To remain beautiful while on the go, try to balance practicality and rapidity with mindful use of resources. Reuse materials when you can, make your own products to go, and support brands that care for the environment and support the causes that mean something to you.

 

Interested in learning more about DIY beauty? Find out how to use coffee grounds in your beauty routine. We’ve also got some great tips on eco-friendly travel essentials for you here. Be sure to check out PATA’s Responsible Business Travel Guidelines for more information about being a responsible traveller before, during and after your trip.

See more of Jackie’s writing: 

A little closer to home: sustainable everyday life choices

A guide to sustainable travel for seniors

Beginning at home – the next generation of sustainable travelers

How to choose an eco-friendly hotel

Greening the air inside of your home

 

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Guest blogger Jackie Edwards gives tips on how to make daily choices that help you to green up the air inside of your home.

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Studies show that the concentration of air pollutants can be two to five times higher inside than outside. Often, this is related to cooking practices. Molecules and toxin such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulates. These contaminants can cause health problems like headaches, dizziness, and chronic diseases.

As a population moving towards a greener future, it is vital that we think about the inside of our homes as well as the outside environment. For this reason, we want to cover tips on how to green up the air inside of your home. These daily choices can help you live a more sustainable, healthier lifestyle.

No Smoking Please

If you or someone in your household smokes cigarettes, a pipe, or cigars, consider making the rule that there is no smoking allowed inside. This household rule will help to keep the inside of your home free from the particulates that such smoking habits generate. Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) has been shown to contain approximately 4,000 compounds, at least 40 of which have been linked to cancer.

Cooking Ventilation

Do you cook or heat your home with solid materials such as wood or coal? The little particles and carbon monoxide gases emitted by cooking materials are sources of pollution in the home. Get into the habit of ventilating the places in your house where cooking is done. This habit will help you keep the air clean. Read more about clean cookstoves

House Plants Can Help

Plants can be thought of as filters for the air. Within the environmental movement, we often see people protecting forests or planting new trees because trees contribute to the greening of the Earth’s atmosphere. The air inside of our homes can also benefit from the greenery. Keep a small house tree or potted plants with plenty of green leaves.

Green Building Materials

The building materials used in your home’s construction will affect the air inside of your house. Whenever you add something to your environments, such as paint, carpet, insulation, flooring, or furniture, research the material first. Look for materials that have a low volatile organic compound (VOC) rating.

The air inside of your home can become polluted, just as the air over an entire city can be dense with smog. To keep the air inside of your home clean and pollutant free, you can work on building up a few healthy habits. Never allow smoking inside, and always keep your cooking area well ventilated. Include houseplants in your decorating scheme, and only use building materials, furniture, and paint that are safe and environmentally friendly.

 

See more of Jackie’s writing: 

A little closer to home: sustainable everyday life choices

A guide to sustainable travel for seniors

Beginning at home – the next generation of sustainable travelers

How to choose an eco-friendly hotel

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