Eco-Travel, Zero Waste

How to Compost While Traveling

At this point, it’s common knowledge: we trash A LOT of food.

Food waste is a major issue, with over 40% of our food ending up in the landfill every year. It’s one thing to practice better food storage techniques, incorporate leftovers into new meals, and vermicompost at home, but it’s another to think about our food waste while traveling. Who has the space? Who has the time? It’s not a big deal, right?

It is a big deal! You can and should be a eco-warrior in your daily life AND in your travels. Use these ideas to find easy composting options while traveling and ensure you never throw away valuable resources on the road again.

composting while traveling

Travel Toolkit

  • Food waste vessel. We like mason jars because they’re versatile and leak-free. Store your food scraps in your jar, and use the composting options below.
  • Basic composting knowledge. Remember what can and can’t be composted. In general, you’ll always be able to compost fruit and veggie scraps. Beyond that, double check with the rules of the composting location.
  • A fridge or freezer (optional). Store your food scraps in a fridge or freezer if you’re able to do so. The last thing you want is a stinky mess.
  • An eco-warrior mindset. When you compost on the road, you’re a bad ass. Own it.
composting while traveling seattle airport
The Seattle Airport knows what’s up.

How to Compost While Traveling

  1. See if any local food stores or coffee shops have in-store compost bins for their customers. For example, Whole Foods usually has trash, recycling, and compost in their stores (assuming they’re part of a city or community composting program).
  2. City-wide composting programs. If your city has a composting program, you will find options. There will be compost drop-off options, or you’ll be able to find compost bins around neighborhoods. If you’re staying with friends, family, or Airbnb locations participating in the city composting program, your job will be easy. Do a simple search for “composting program” in the city you’re visiting, and you can go from there.
  3. Community composting initiatives. Many communities create their own composting programs to reduce food waste and give local soil some precious nutrients in the form of finished compost. Whether it be through a local co-op, farmer’s market, community garden, or other community space, do some simple searching for options within the area you’re visiting. Here are a few community composting initiatives in the U.S. to check out.
  4. Go rogue and bury your compost. Find the perfect spot away from homes, dig down a foot, empty, and bury. It’ll turn to compost in no time. If you go rogue, make extra sure there are no meats, dairy, or accidental plastics (like produce stickers!). The last thing you want is to attract rodents or leave behind polluting plastic.
  5. Take it home with you. If there’s no composting option and you want to live your zero waste mission, take your scraps home with you.

Food waste is a major issue and you shouldn’t sacrifice your food waste warrior habits just because you’re traveling. Use these compost-while-on-the-go techniques to ensure you never throw away valuable resources on the road again.