Lyndsea from our School Support Team recently undertook the mammoth road trip from Uluru to Melbourne and her dedication to reducing her use of single-plastic is awesome. If she can do it in the middle of the Australian Outback – anyone can do it!
I’ve been working for Camps International for a few months, and love that we can make a difference in the world. So when I first heard about our ‘Camps Plastic-Free Challenge’, I knew I needed to incorporate this into my upcoming 2 week road-trip across the Australian Outback! I already try my best at staying plastic free in my daily life, so this was just a bigger challenge in the right direction.
I had organised a trip to Uluru-Alice Springs and then back through the outback slowly (and I mean slowly!) making my way back to Melbourne. On the trip, my partner and I flew into Uluru and met up with a close friend in Alice Springs. We met him for a concert, and then started the trip from there. We camped the whole way and did some hikes and lots of sight-seeing. We did the Oodnadata Track and camped up the Murray River once we got closer to home.
On the road, I took daily steps to avoid single-use plastic. I made sure I had my ‘KeepCup’ with me whenever I bought a coffee. I also bought along a mug for the road to ensure I never used a plastic cup. I brought along reusable bags and cooler bags and did all of my shopping with them. I used a reusable water bottle for drinking every day and had a 10 litre bottle of water in the boot of the car, making sure I never had to buy single use bottles.
I packed a few containers for the road so that I could keep food in them rather than using plastic wrap or zip lock plastic bags. I made conscious decisions on what I bought whilst grocery shopping and I used cardboard boxes from the supermarkets to keep my waste from camping, rather than plastic bags.
Throughout the whole trip, the main thing I did to avoid single-use plastic was being as prepared as possible before each situation. This meant packing in a certain way, to include a ‘KeepCup’, a large water bottle, containers for storage, toiletry bags and reusable bags, bringing cutlery and plates from home to avoid using throw-away cutlery and dishes. We also made sure we filled up with 10 litres of water wherever possible.
There definitely were a few challenges along the way. Some of those challenges were making sure we had enough water while in the middle of the desert without buying single-use bottles. While on the road, finding options to buy food that weren’t plastic wrapped or packages like chips or lollies was very hard. This meant I had to think much more at the grocery store, all the while bearing in mind that I might not visit another for many days. Other challenges were finding places to recycle our rubbish correctly, causing us to carry our recycling with us for longer periods of time until we could dispose of it correctly.
Tips I would give to anyone on the road or on a holiday to avoid single-use plastics is to be prepared ahead of time – ensure you think outside the box for the reasons you might have to use single-use plastic and be prepared for them.
Other small things we did to save on electricity and gas was to use solar panels to charge our phones, lights and speakers. We also only used pots and pans that could be cooked with on the fire directly and didn’t use any electric cookers. This also helped us to ensure we could be prepared even whilst in the desert for longer periods of time.
It was definitely a challenge, but a worthwhile one! If I can do it literally in the middle of nowhere – everyone can certainly do it!