Wearing sustainable swimsuits are one way to reduce your carbon footprint - look at the Baywatch lifesavers. Picture: Loe Moshkovska/Pexels.

Findings by safari company Yellow Zebra Safaris have shown ways travellers could potentially reduce their carbon footprint and waste impact. Safaris found that 24% of an individual’s footprint in greenhouse gas emissions came from tourism. 

Julian Carter Manning, the director and co-founder of Yellow Zebra Safaris, said the company calculated how each change would lower levels of carbon emissions and waste production, with each one measured by a score out of 20. The higher the score, the better the impact on the environment. 

He added that single-use plastic tied with suncare for first place.

The list showed that reducing meat consumption or adopting a vegan lifestyle (12/20), wearing sustainable swimwear (11/2), packing lighter (10/20) and eating locally (9/20) also reduced one's carbon footprint.  

Manning said the average water bottle took 450 years to decompose. 

Estimates show that a 500ml plastic bottle of water has a carbon footprint equal to 82.8 grams of carbon dioxide. Switching plastic single-use bottles to a reusable one will save 0.01449 tons of CO2 per year per person, lowering the contribution to plastic waste by 175%.

“With the tourism industry predicted to grow by 4% every year, and, on average 24% of an individual’s footprint in greenhouse gas emissions coming from our love of travel, the direct impact we are having on our environment has caused the travel industry to try to find a balance between travelling and respecting the planet at the same time.

“Thoughtful travel can provide many benefits to the traveller and the communities they visit. Making sustainable and manageable choices while you are away will allow everyone to continue exploring the world while helping to preserve it,” said Manning. 

Manning shares other tips on how you can reduce your carbon footprint: 

  • Adhere to single-use plastic bans. Manning said countries such as Tanzania advise visitors to avoid bringing plastic bags in their luggage.
  • Reduce your meat consumption or trying veganism – a meat lover’s carbon footprint is over double that of a vegan’s.
  • Buying sustainable swimwear, ie brands that use recycled materials to create swimsuits lowers the overall carbon impact and plastic waste associated with swimwear manufacturing.
  • Reduce luggage down to a 15kg overall weight as this could save up to 4 gallons of fuel per trip.
  • Eat locally – this can significantly reduce ‘food miles’ compared to centrally produced food from chain restaurants. 
  • Opt out of housekeeping. Manning said this could save considerable amounts of water waste.