Greener Traveling

12 Tips for Greener Traveling in Michigan

Greener Traveling
Courtesy of Kevin Dooley

Spring is in the air which means everyone’s turning their focus back outside towards the beauty of Michigan and all it has to offer. At the same time it’s important to make sure we keep the state looking great, and there are a number of green-minded things to keep in mind that can help with the effort.

Consider the following eco-friendly tips when planning day trips and other outings in the coming months, as every little thing we do for the environment will keep the Great Lake State in better shape for coming generations.

Carpool: Getting from point A to point B in our own vehicle is always nice, but if possible try teaming up with others heading in the same direction. Not only will it save dollars on gas but less cars on the road equals less pollution from car emissions.

Pack light: Depending on whether it’s a day trip to Ann Arbor or something longer in the direction of the Upper Peninsula, try to pack as light as possible. It will make traveling a lot easier and help determine whether carpooling is an option.

Take reusables: When hungry there’s no need to rely on plastic forks, knives, spoons, and plates. Most are non-biodegradable and will only take up space in a landfill. Instead, save the planet (and Michigan!) by tossing a few reusable utensils in a bag when heading on the road.

Greener Traveling
Courtesy of Michael Pollack

Water bottle: Bring along a reusable BPA free water bottle that can be refilled over and over. If it’s an extended trip add a few more to fill along the way. Aside from cutting down on plastic usage, reusables are usually healthier than store bought bottled water bottles. That’s because disposable plastic is low quality and when exposed to extreme temperatures it’s known to break down over time and taint its contents.

Bug spray: Stay away from bug sprays that contain DEET, a chemical which has serious health risks when applied to skin and is especially dangerous for infants. To ward off pests safely look for eco-friendly brands or try essential oils made from various herbs and plants.

Buy local: Heading out to pick cherries in Traverse City or visit Grand Rapids for the day? Try buying local produce along the way to support local farmers helps cut down on the carbon footprint from importing out of state.

Borrow: If you are planning a hiking trip try borrowing gear from friends or find used items online. Buying new can be expensive and may not be worth it if you’re not an avid hiker. In such cases it’s probably better to reuse.

Greener Traveling
Courtesy of Derek Hatfield

Camp out: Going camping is one thing; camping out overnight while sightseeing instead of renting a room is something else. Along with saving some cash you’ll be using less water and electricity and chances are will probably get an earlier start each day.

Good maps: It’s never fun to get lost, especially when it means pressing on the gas more than necessary. Bring along good maps of the regions you plan to visit so the only direction you’re driving is forward.

Collect trash: If camping out under the stars is your goal make sure to collect all trash so it doesn’t become a permanent fixture in nature.

Camp fire: Be careful what you burn in camp fires as plastic and other materials can release toxic fumes into the air.

Discover: Learn about the region you are visiting including its natural resources and plantlife. Doing so provides an even greater appreciation for the Great Lake State and as with everything, greater appreciation often leads to better care.

Jakob Barry, Contributing Writer

Jakob Barry is a green living journalist for helps homeowners save time, money and frustration by connecting them with home improvement professionals. From plumbers and roofers to exterminators and handymen, Networx simplifies the process of locating a reliable professional.


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