Travel as eco-friendly as you can
Developing countries generally prioritize economics over ecology.
In Indonesia, waste management and recycling are not yet developed. Households generally burn their garbage in a corner of their garden. The collection of garbage is done by private trucks that then take it to yet another fake landfill. A lot of single-use plastic packaging ends up on the side of the road or thrown into the sea by the local population due to a lack of information on this subject.
Small local associations are trying to implement actions and organize awareness events. But beyond the lack of means and investment by the Indonesian government on this point, Indonesia also suffers from its geographical disparity. Can you imagine the technical infrastructure and financial means required to develop a waste management system on more than 17,000 islands?
Some islands suffer more from this lack of ecology than others. This is the case of Bali in particular. Before the Covid crisis, Indonesia's most touristic island welcomed hundreds of thousands of travelers every day. Each of them bringing their waste.
This is why tourists should adopt a more ethical approach to travel before embarking on one of these destinations.
What is eco-friendly travel?
The good news is that a wave of awareness for better tourism is being born. Hoteliers are promoting eco-tourism by building eco resorts, travel agencies are developing eco-friendly tours. On their side, tourists want to travel eco-friendly.
Eco-travel can be experienced in many ways. From where you choose to sleep, to the food you choose to eat or the activities you choose to do.
So how do you become an eco-tourist? How to travel in a more ecological way? Here is a small guide to help you become a perfect eco tourist to participate in better tourism.
1/ The water bottle
Take a water bottle with you on your trip to avoid buying plastic water bottles. Water is not drinkable in Indonesia but many hotels and restaurants have drinking fountains where you can fill your water bottle for free. Above all, avoid the abomination of the Aqua Cup. Sold by the Danone group, this single-use portion of water in a plastic cup is designed to be thrown away. This is one of the biggest ecological problems facing Indonesia.
2/ The must-have eco-friendly hygiene products for eco-travelers
Shampoo, deodorant, soap and even toothpaste can now be found in solid format! No more need to take all those plastic packaging and very polluting aerosol cans when you prepare your travel toiletry kit. Think of the small metal boxes to carry them with you.
Also think about bamboo cotton swabs instead of plastic ones. Similarly, the bamboo toothbrush is a good alternative to the plastic one.
3/ Eat local
Take advantage of your trip to Indonesia to discover its fabulous local cuisine! Fried rice, vegetable noodles, satay chicken skewers, beef marinated in coconut milk, and many other delicious dishes made with local know-how and local products.
4/ Sunscreen yes, but not just any sunscreen!
Choose an environmentally friendly sunscreen, especially if you plan to go diving or snorkeling. Indeed, every year tons of chemicals from sunscreens are poured into the oceans and degrade coral reefs. It is therefore important to choose a cream that does not destroy the corals.
5/ Take a backpack or tote bag to avoid plastic bags
If the distribution of plastic bags has been banned for a few years in the West, it is still well established in Indonesia. "Tidak usah plastik" meaning "I don't need a plastic bag" will be useful.
6/ Beware of samples in hotels
If they are generally very tempting, do not use and do not take the samples provided in the hotels. Very often in plastic containers, they generate a lot of waste and pollution.
7/ Wet wipes, an ecological disaster
They are practical, yes. But they are not biodegradable. Replace them instead with a tissue soaked in water.
8/ Avoid plastic straws
"Sedotan tidak usah" This is the phrase to remember in Indonesian. Meaning "I don't need a straw", it wil
l allow you to order your drinks without plastic straw. Many restaurants are starting to use bamboo straws as an alternative to the plastic ones.
9/ Pack your garbage and empty containers in your luggage
Whenever possible, throw away your trash and containers when you get back home. Many products could be sorted or recycled at home, such as batteries, plastic containers and aerosols.
10/ Menstrual panties
Latest eco tips for women! Prefer menstrual panties to the usual protection sold in supermarkets. We know that diapers and sanitary pads are a scourge for the environment. Practical and ecological, it generally allows to change less often and not to leave waste behind.