Ecotourism has hit a new stride. Natural Habitat Adventures has curated the world’s first zero-waste trip, a 2019 adventure called “Safari America: Yellowstone Country.” What is a zero-waste trip? One in which the travelers recycle, compost, upcycle, re-use or refuse to use 99 percent or more of all waste produced on the trip. Natural Habitat Adventures’ goal is to fit all waste produced on the trip into a single small container at the end, nearly eliminating the need to send any materials to a landfill or incinerator.
Waste reduction begins even before the trip starts, with travelers receiving digital versions of all pre-trip materials, including forms to complete and the daily itinerary. Travelers will also receive a zero-waste toolkit, which includes reusable items such as water bottles, mugs, cutlery and tote bags. Other zero-waste measures include packing meals in reusable containers, recycling single-use packaging, composting napkins and biodegradable food waste and buying food in bulk.
By demonstrating that it is possible to operate a zero- waste adventure, Natural Habitat Adventures hopes to inspire other operators to improve their own waste management practices and pursue similar innovations.
“One way we’re dedicated to protecting the planet is to inspire the travel industry to become more sustainable,” said Natural Habitat Adventures founder and president, Ben Bressler. “Our goal is to continually raise the bar on conservation, and our first zero-waste adventure will show that it’s possible to reduce our environmental impact while providing an exceptional experience for our guests.”
The average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash per day. Natural Habitat Adventures wants its zero-waste ethos to extend beyond the trip itself by inspiring its travelers and partners to make conscious choices about waste in their everyday lives and business practices.
Jim Sano, VP of the World Wildlife Fund Travel and Conservation division weighs in on zero-waste travel: “We encourage the travel industry to follow Natural Habitat Adventures’ lead to mitigate its impact, protect the earth’s precious natural resources and educate travelers about how they can do their part.”
Ecotourism is not new to Natural Habitat Adventures. In 2007, it became the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company and has since offset more than 34.5 million pounds of CO2 emissions generated on its global nature adventures.
Look for more zero-waste travel opportunities from Natural Habitat Adventures and other tour operators in the months and years to come. The world’s first zero-waste trip, “Safari America: Yellowstone Country,” will take place July 6-12, 2019. To learn more, visit nathab.com/us-national-parks-tours/yellowstone-camping-safari. Learn more about zero-waste travel at nathab.com/zerowaste.