Overheard earlier this week on a train from Manchester to London; “So I’ve been on a plane again… Today I’m on a train… Travel is back!”. The ethics of eavesdropping aside, the orator has a point.
There’s no denying it’s been a strange few years for travel. Covid didn’t just curtail our propensity to travel, it pretty much decimated it. Across the globe we saw a fall in all manner of journeying, accommodation bookings, and room occupancy.
In the UK for example, total air passenger arrivals fell by a staggering 98%, or 6.5 million, at the start of the pandemic. The last few years have been unprecedented.
Whilst we can’t say we’ve seen a return to where we were with respect to travel, many of us appear to be, to use the well-known adage, ‘back on the road’.
There are of course repercussions to our being mobile again. Whilst we may be satisfying our wanderlust, there are challenges.
Here at La Pochette we’ve been considering the impact of our return to travel on the environment, not least how travelling directly affects plastic waste. We’ve spoken before about the huge impact of plastic water bottles on the environment, and this is still one of the biggest issues when out and about.
A huge eye opener for us however, was a report by insurance giant Direct Line, which outlines the inefficiencies of travel sized products, and the fact they amount to a staggering 980 tonnes of plastic waste per annum (pre-pandemic figures).
Not only is the level of plastic waste higher per volume of product, and products themselves typically more expensive, a large proportion of this additional plastic waste is not recycled.
There are many reasons for this, such as the lack of access to recycling facilities when travelling, and inadequate recycling infrastructures abroad. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mitigate the damage this is doing to the environment.
It’s not just travel sized products consumed when we’re on the move. As consumers, we also seem to have developed a penchant for what are referred to as miniatures, minis, micros, trial sized, or petites. This is said to be fuelled by travel, but also small living spaces, and the desire of consumer hungry ‘non-brand loyals’ to be able to try more for less.
Looking on the bright side, there are ways in which we can become more conscious travellers, such as avoiding single use plastics and hotel miniatures. We are also being encouraged to make use of more sustainable innovations such as shampoo bars, toothpaste tablets, refillable deodorants and cleansing cloths.
Consider packaging ideas and carrying solutions that allow for decanting and refilling products. Above all, support companies that are seeking to make a difference.
Here at La Pochette, plastic waste is something we’ve been mindful of since our inception. Indeed, this is why one of our first and best-selling products, the La Pochette Anywhere Everywhere Small, was created. Designed originally to be used as a bag for post workout essentials, we decided to make it multipurpose.
Not only made from responsibly sourced biodegradable TPU, but designed specifically to conform to TSA travel regulations, it allows for easier storage, less plastic waste, and hopefully a smoother transition through airport security. No more scrambling to find plastic bags, or throwing or pouring small items away.
Of course, this isn’t just useful for air travel, but for any trip, anywhere… everywhere. Couple this with another La Pochette favourite, the refillable and durable Travel Bottle and Travel Pots. Designed to fit perfectly in the Anywhere Everywhere, there’s no excuse.
Some estimates suggest that by 2050, if we continue as we are, there will be more plastics than fish in the ocean. If we each play our part however, we can aim to make this dystopian fiction, rather than a reality.
Which La Pochette items are TSA Approved, and what does this mean?*
TSA, (Transport Security Administration), rules dictate what you can and can’t do when travelling. Some of these guidelines relate to travelling through airports with liquids and gels in hand luggage. Whilst these rules are rooted in the US, they have become international standard in many countries, including in the UK and EU.
The TSA requirements state that liquids, gels, and aerosols are in containers no larger than 100ml (approx. 3.4 ounces).
Those containers must be inside a single, transparent, 1litre (approx 35 ounces) / 20cm x 20cm (approx. 8 inches x 8 inches) resealable bag. In this way, the Anywhere Everywhere Small is categorised as TSA or cabin approved. Our Travel Pots and Bottles, designed to fit into the Anywhere Everywhere, also adhere to the TSA container size restrictions.
Note however that there are exceptions to this. Countries, and even airports, interpretations can differ. Whilst friends of La Pochette have all travelled through a vast number of airports worldwide using the Anywhere Everywhere Small without incident, we have heard of one or two cases whereby a traveller has been asked to decant items into a plastic bag.