Natural Habitat Adventures operated the World's First Zero Waste Adventure on the July 6-12, 2019 departure of our Yellowstone safari. Guided by a commitment to “Refuse, Recycle, Compost, Upcycle and Re-Use,” our small group of 15 people diverted 99% of all waste produced on the trip as a byproduct of Nat Hab-sponsored trip operations.*
Our "zero waste" goal encompassed all guest-related activities that Nat Hab managed and sponsored throughout the trip—from the moment a guest booked through the airport transfer on the final day. During the trip, Nat Hab encouraged travelers to avoid creating potential waste in the first place (such as refusing plastic straws and individually wrapped condiments) while minimizing the waste they did produce. At the end of the trip, the group was able to fit their collective waste into a single quart-sized container.
* This did not include waste that involved personal hygiene items, posed safety risks, was legally required to be sent to a landfill, or resulted from guest actions outside of Nat Hab’s control (pre-trip, en route, items of a personal nature, etc.). Nat Hab worked closely with its third-party providers on this initiative. Where waste was created as part of a partner provider's service (such as third-party hotels), Nat Hab encouraged guests to avoid that waste by providing alternative options.
Why Zero Waste Travel?
Natural Habitat Adventures is committed to setting a new standard for the travel industry by proving that it is possible to make dramatic inroads in reducing waste. Our intention is to encourage and inspire our colleagues to adopt more sustainable tourism practices by demonstrating effective methods to reduce environmental impacts while providing outstanding guest experiences. In addition to motivating other businesses to improve their own waste management practices, Nat Hab hopes to create an enduring ripple effect by inspiring travelers to make conscious choices in their everyday lives that contribute to the long-term health of the planet. Given that the average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash per day, there's plenty of room for improvement!
By dramatically reducing the waste generated on this specific trip departure, Nat Hab learned valuable lessons to apply across our other nature adventures in destinations worldwide. Nat Hab has also shared our 12 Lessons Learned for Zero Waste Travel
with the media and our peers in the travel industry so that others can follow our lead. This first zero waste adventure in July 2019 is a catalyst for incremental changes that will gradually result in significant waste reduction across all Nat Hab trips.