Zero Waste Travel Quiz
Can you guess how many plastic bags are used worldwide each year? How about identifying different ways to reduce your environmental impact while flying? Take our zero waste travel quiz to put your knowledge to the test, then share it with your family and friends to see who knows the most about sustainability! When you're finished, scroll down to reveal the correct answers and explanations.
When implemented in communities, zero waste policies aim to:
Correct Answer: Divert 90 percent or more of all waste produced, while striving for an eventual goal of 100 percent
Explanation: A zero waste initiative diverts (reuses, recycles, upcycles and composts) 90 percent or more of all waste produced. Zero waste strives to generate as little trash as possible with a goal of sending no garbage to landfills. Another aim is to reduce our consumption and use only what we need. By redesigning resource lifecycles, we can create a circular economy in which products are reused rather than discarded. The circular economy mimics cycles in nature—just think of the lifecycle of a cottonwood tree. Seeds are blown from a pollinating tree, planted into the ground and then begin to grow. The trees release oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide, and provide food and shelter for wildlife. Mature trees then spread their seeds for future trees. At the end of their lifecycle, the trees become compost, leaving rich soil for other plants to grow. This natural cycle benefits the environment, and like the aim of zero waste, no trash is produced!
Plastic debris affects our marine ecosystems, from Borneo to the Galapagos. How many plastic bags are used each year around the world?
Correct Answer: Up to 1 trillion
Explanation: People around the world consume 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags each year. That’s 1 to 2 million plastic bags every minute! On average, only one plastic bag out of every 200 is recycled. Plastic bags have caused a crisis for our oceans and marine wildlife, and with little wonder—we dump 8 million tons of plastic into the sea every year. The bags, along with other plastic pollution, have been found in the stomachs of threatened species, including turtles, seals, whales, porpoises and seabirds. In addition to the environmental output, energy input is also an expense: the amount of energy required to make only 12 plastic bags is equal to driving a car one mile.
To help combat this problem, more and more governments are placing fees and limitations on plastic bags. To reduce the amount of non-biodegradable plastic litter, cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and Washington, D.C., have taken strides to eliminate plastic bags. Abroad, Kenya, coastal towns in Chile, and Karnataka, India, have placed strict bans on single-use plastic bags.
What is not a way to reduce your waste while flying?
Correct Answer: Book a flight with a layover.
Explanation: Takeoff and landing use the most fuel during a flight. By limiting your number of flights and by taking a direct route to your destination, you are lessening fuel emissions. You can further reduce your carbon footprint by offsetting the emissions from your flight. As the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company, Natural Habitat has offset the carbon output of all our on-trip operations. Bringing a reusable water bottle, coffee mug and snacks for the plane will reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles, cups and packaging. Bringing warm layers, a large scarf or a neck pillow will help you avoid the need for plastic-wrapped airplane blankets and pillows.
Sustainable Travel Tip: A cloth handkerchief or bandana can come in handy and can be used in place of tissues!
Instead of buying brand new travel accessories, what could you use instead?
Correct Answer: All of the above.
Explanation: Searching out repurposed travel accessories, or even creating your own, can be fun! If you’re feeling adventurous, you can make your own toothpaste, body cream or deodorant! Zero waste toiletries eliminate the need for "travel-sized" plastic bottles, and upcycled backpacks and sunglasses lessen the amount of waste sent to the landfill.
Sustainable Travel Tip: Did you know you can buy compostable toothbrushes made of bamboo? Plastic toothbrushes are nonbiodegradable and are supposed to be thrown away every three months—that’s 40 toothbrushes per person over a decade!
The straw-free movement has taken off around the world. Highlighting the need for change is the amount of plastic that is found in our oceans. How many plastic straws do Americans use each day?
Correct Answer: 500 million
Explanation: Straw-free policies are being implemented all over the world to reduce ocean pollution and landfill waste. Many animals are harmed by ingesting plastic debris. Highlighting the crisis is the viral video of a plastic straw stuck in a sea turtle’s nasal cavity. Thankfully, organizations around the world are working to lessen the consumption of single-use plastic, and at the forefront is a movement to eliminate single-use plastic straws. Ordinances banning plastic straws are being put into effect from Seattle to Scotland. Natural Habitat has gone to great lengths to remove single-use plastic water bottles and straws from our trips.
Plastic-free partakers have many options for reusable straws, including bamboo, metal, paper, glass and acrylic. Get inventive—use a piece of pasta as a stir-stick or a sugar straw for drinks, and think up other straw-worthy materials! Or, simply go without.
What is not an example of upcycling?
Correct Answer: Buying a new pair of shoes that donates half its profits to an environmental organization
Explanation: Upcycling transforms old, discarded and unwanted products into new materials of better quality or for better environmental value. A new pair of shoes doesn’t make the cut, but some companies have started making shoes and other products out of plastic water bottles!
Try these upcycled planter ideas: old colanders can be transformed into hanging flower baskets, upside-down lightbulbs showcase roots for a mini plant aquarium, and corks can be home to tiny succulents! Paint cans and rainboots make colorful, creative planters, and an old wheelbarrow adds a rustic touch.
How many pounds of trash does the average American send to the landfill each day?
Correct Answer: 4.4 pounds.
Explanation: Overconsumption is a heightened issue in a time of climate change, shrinking resources and a growing population. Landfills leach toxins into soil and groundwater and are responsible for 15 percent of methane emissions in America. While the average American sends a lot of waste to landfills, adapting some of the aspects of a zero waste lifestyle can help lessen the load! With enough people participating, we can transform our “disposable” society into one om which more waste is diverted through refusing, recycling, composting, reusing and upcycling.
You’re roaming the streets of Porto, Portugal, after a day paddling the Douro River, and you decide to shop for food at a local market. Which of the following is not a way to conserve resources while grocery shopping?
Correct Answer: Browsing around and deciding on food items as you go
Explanation: Creating a meal plan and writing out a shopping list beforehand can help you reduce food waste by knowing how much to get, so you don’t overbuy. Cloth or canvas bags can substitute for the single-use plastic bags often used for produce and groceries. If you’re feeling crafty, you can even turn an old T-shirt into a shopping bag! You can avoid plastic wrappers and containers by buying food in the bulk foods aisle, where you can fill mason jars or cotton drawstring bags with the unpackaged food stored in large canisters. Reducing red meat consumption can also help conserve resources. It takes 25 times more energy to produce one calorie of beef than to produce one calorie of corn. Animal proteins typically require significantly more land and water use than plant proteins, so lessening your meat intake is a win for the environment!
Photo Credit—Holly Glessner
You're dining out at the historic Fort Garry Hotel, readying yourself for a week of polar bear encounters on the Arctic tundra. Excitement has satiated your appetite, and you decide, rather than getting a full meal (and only eating half), to split a plate with a fellow traveler. Besides the food you saved, what else did you help conserve?
Correct Answer: All of the above
Explanation: Cutting down on food waste helps decrease your carbon footprint. Land used for agriculture takes away the habitats of wildlife. A lot of water is used in food production to grow crops and, to a greater extent, raise animals for meat and dairy. Energy is used to produce, transport and cook our food.
Sustainable Travel Tip: Dining out can be tricky! You may start to realize the amount of waste that goes into consuming a meal, from paper napkins to plastic utensils. Next time you eat out, try any of these waste-saving tips. Refuse a plastic straw. Request reusable utensils. Share a plate with a dining companion, or if you can’t finish your meal, bring a reusable container to take back leftovers—55 percent of leftovers are thrown out!
Photo Credit—Glen Delman
What is an ineffective method of eliminating food waste?
Correct Answer: Keep your fridge at 60° F.
Explanations: Keep the temperature of your fridge at 40° F or below to store food safely and preserve its freshness. Before traveling, you can roast vegetables or make them into a delicious soup to freeze while you are away. You can also chop up fruits to store in the freezer! Compost vegetable skins, peels and ends, or make them into a savory broth. Bruised fruits and veggies go well in jams, pies and soups. You can also use overripe produce in a smoothie or to make zucchini or banana bread!
Many biodiverse regions, from the Pantanal to Borneo, are threatened by human encroachment and the expansion of agriculture. How much of the world’s food produced for human consumption is wasted each year?
Correct Answer: 1/3
Explanation: About one-third (1.3 billion tons) of food is wasted each year at a cost of $750 billion. The average American throws away 40 percent of their food annually, while one out of six Americans goes hungry. World Wildlife Fund estimates that between 2015 and 2016, 2.5 million acres of North America’s Great Plains were converted to agriculture. Six songbirds found only in the native grasslands are declining as their habitat is lost to crop production. Unfortunately, a portion of those crops will end up in landfills. In Brazil, jaguars are increasingly threatened by rapid deforestation as land is converted into farms and ranches to supply the food on our plates. WWF's Living Planet Report shows that in just four decades, the planet’s wildlife populations have declined by 58 percent, largely due to loss of habitat. We can make a difference by eating sustainably! Look at how and where your food is produced, eat seasonally and try to limit food waste.
Photo Credit—Cassiano Zaparoli
A responsible, zero waste system has all of the following except:
Correct Answer: Incinerators as the primary waste disposal method.
Explanation: In a zero waste society, the aim is to replace incinerators and landfills with resource recovery infrastructure that recovers 90 percent or more of our waste. New policies and rules can be implemented through environmentally sound legislature. Smarter designs for manufacturing processes can encourage more responsible use of natural resources. When manufacturers are held accountable for a product’s end-of-life impact, it gives them an incentive to design for the environment, not for the landfill. Conservation programs can educate and involve community members, inspiring them to be advocates for an environmentally friendly planet. Support Natural Habitat Adventures as we debut our first zero waste adventure, and call for zero waste progress in your community!
The World's First Zero Waste Adventure
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