NO TIME FOR TRASH
A tour company is looking to launch the world’s first zero-waste trip, says Elizabeth Sleith
Atour company called Natural Habitat Adventures has added an ambitious trip to its repertoire, one that aims to be the world’s first “zero-waste” adventure. Titled “Safari America: Yellowstone Country”, the trip will challenge 14 travellers at a time to undertake eight days in the US Yellowstone National Park, while producing no more waste than can fit into a single, small, communal jar. As well as exploring off-the-beaten-track wildlife spots and following wolves, grizzly bears, elk and bison, participants will be encouraged to “divert” (that is, refuse, recycle, compost, upcycle, or re-use) 99% or more of all waste produced.
Strategies intended to help them achieve this include sending out digital versions of all pre-trip materials, including forms and itineraries; encouraging the refusal of potential waste (such as plastic straws and individually-wrapped condiments) even while guests are en route; and a zero-waste toolkit to use in the field, with reusable personal items such as water bottles, mugs, and cutlery.
Vehicles will be outfitted with composting and recycling systems, including a TerraCycle, which breaks down hard-torecycle items.
Natural Habitat Adventures has been the conservation-travel partner of the World Wildlife Fund since 2003, and says it was the world’s first 100% carbon-neutral travel company.
To ensure this trip is also 100% carbon neutral, the company says it will offset the emissions from flights, vehicles, hotels and boats used during the tour through programmes such as reforestation initiatives.
Pointing out that the average American produces 2kg of trash per day, Natural Habitat says its mission is to “set a new standard for the travel industry by proving that it is possible to operate a zero-waste trip”.
The long-term goal is to inspire and encourage other tour operators to adopt more sustainable tourism practices, and also “to inspire travellers to make conscious choices in their everyday lives that contribute to the long-term health of the planet”.
“Safari America’s” first departure date is July 6 2019. Prices start from $5,995 (about R86,000) per person.
● See nathab.com