London is one of the oldest great cities in the world and has a history that dates back nearly two millennia. It is located by the River Thames in southeastern England and is currently the cultural, economic, and transportation center of the United Kingdom. As the largest metropolis in all of Britain as well as the capital city of England, London holds quite a lot of power and influence. Like many other major cities, it is hoping to lead the charge against the environmental crisis and is doing a lot to reduce its impact.
Some of the things that London is focusing on include increasing the water quality in the Thames River, reducing their greenhouse gas emissions as well as monitoring and improving their energy efficiency. If you are planning a trip to London, there are some things that you can do yourself to help the city be green. Keep reading to learn how you can be more sustainable during your visit, and remember that you can stow your bags at a London luggage storage facility at any time!
How to Pack Sustainably
The journey of being sustainable on your trip to London actually begins before you even enter the city. Being mindful about what you pack in your suitcase is the first step to reducing your impact, so keep reading for some tips!
- Be Prepared for the Weather
The first step in packing sustainably is to research where you are going and be realistic about what you will need. London has a reputation for being a rainy city, and that should influence what you bring. Make sure that whatever you pack in your suitcase is consistent with the weather and climate at the time that you are visiting, and bringing the proper clothes, jackets, and footwear means that you won’t have to buy anything while you are there.
- Pack Strategic Outfits
Once you’ve figured out the kind of clothes and accessories that you need, you can start to reduce the number of things in your suitcase by being strategic about your outfits. Try to bring only a few pairs of pants and shirts by choosing items that can be mixed and matched with each other to create new outfits. When it comes to shoes, hats, and other accessories, try packing just one item that can go with everything!
- Bring Reusable Items
If you are planning to stay in London for a while, you can do a lot for the environment by bringing reusable kitchenware and containers. Instead of buying a one-use bottle of water every time you go out, consider packing a refillable one! The same goes for travel-size containers that you can put food in to save for later. Metal straws and plastic utensils that can be used more than once will also help by reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfills.
- Use Sustainable Products
Many people don’t know how damaging the skincare and haircare products that they use can be for the environment, but if you just put in a little bit more effort you can shop sustainably for these items, too. If you are planning to visit any beaches near London (Camber Sands is less than 2 hours away), reef-safe sunscreen is a great idea and can reduce the amount of toxic chemicals going into the water.
You can also find non-toxic shampoos, conditioners, and soaps! Additionally, instead of buying mini containers of shampoo and conditioner, consider packing reusable travel-sized containers that you fill up at home. Shampoo, conditioner, and soap bars are great alternatives that create less waste as well.
How to Shop Sustainably in London
If you want to do some shopping during your stay in London there are a few things that you can do to be eco-friendly. Keep these tips in mind when you are doing some retail therapy in London.
- Avoid Cheap Souvenirs
Although at the moment you might be tempted to buy those tacky souvenirs, do you really need a shirt that says “I Love London”? Make sure that whatever you buy during your vacation will be used more than once, instead of buying something cheap that will get thrown out as soon as you get home. Also, it is better to spend a little more on quality items instead of trying to save money on fast fashion that won’t last. Buying second-hand and thrifting is great, too!
- Shop Locally
There are lots of stores all around the city of London, so consider shopping somewhere close to where you are staying instead of commuting to that big shopping street far away. It is also better to support small local businesses rather than going to those big retail stores that you can find everywhere else around the world.
- Buy Only What You Need
When it comes to food and groceries, you can do a lot for the environment by only buying what you need. If you are staying in London for a while then you can consider buying in bulk, but otherwise, you should avoid buying too much stuff that will just have to be thrown away at the end of your vacation. Try saving your leftovers from restaurants or takeout, too (this is where the reusable food containers come in handy)!
Zero-Waste Stores in London
Now that you know what to look out for, let’s go shopping! Check out these stores that do their part in helping the environment in London.
Gather is a low-waste shop in London that sells food, cleaning products as well as hair and skincare items that are healthy for you and for the environment. Come here if you need a refill on any of your toiletries or other consumables.
- The Source Bulk Foods
Buying from a bulk food store is always a good idea when traveling since you can buy only what you need and won’t have any leftovers after your trip is done. The Source Bulk Foods is one of the best places to go and here you can find everything from cooking oils to organic wholefoods, grains and spices, and even household products. Make sure that you bring those reusable containers.
- Greener Habits Co
This store does a great job at making a zero-waste lifestyle available to everyone. Greener Habits sells some awesome natural deodorant sticks, soap bars, and other items that are often vegan and always eco-friendly.
Extra Tips for Being Sustainable in London
By packing smart and shopping sustainably, you are already well on your way to being zero-waste while visiting London. Here are just a few more things that you can do to reduce your impact on the environment when traveling.
- Compost or recycle whenever possible.
- Try to use public transportation or, even better, bike and walk to get around the city!
- Don’t have enough room in your bag? Donate any items that you want to leave behind.
Being Green in London
The environmental crisis can seem daunting, but once you find a few tricks to going zero-waste you will see that being sustainable isn’t actually that hard. As long as you are mindful of what you buy and how you travel, you will already be doing a lot to help the environment. Most of the time being eco-friendly saves you money as well, making it a better way to travel for you and for the planet.