3 Eco Friendly Tips for your Hawaii Vacation

by Amy Anne

Have you ever been on a trip and realized how much waste you create? Have you wondered what you could do to do more for the environment? Maybe you find yourself unprepared and not understanding the full impact your actions have on the environment. But with a few of my eco friendly tips, there are some simple ways you can decrease your carbon footprint and preserve the beauty of where you’re visiting. Hawaii is one of those places. 

Are you thinking about taking a trip to Hawaii? How can you be more environmentally conscious when you travel? What can you do to lower my impact on the environment when I travel?

The ways you can go more “green” are listed below, and the options are endless: What you pack, where you stay, and your activities on your vacation all have an impact when you travel. 

What is Ecotourism?

The term “ecotourism” is generally used to describe travel to natural areas that conserve the environment and sustains the well being of the local people. There is usually a cultural and educational aspect of ecotourism. This involves learning about the natural history, its people, and cultural traditions. This article focuses on eco friendly tips that can help you learn about Hawaii, while helping preserve its natural beauty and heritage. 

1. Stay at Sustainable Hotels in Hawaii

Start with your stay, look at the hotel options and their impacts. One of my best eco friendly tips when traveling is to take a look at how your hotel manages its waste. The TripAdvisor Green Leaders Program showcases a variety of hotels and B&Bs committed to green practices like recycling, local and organic food, and electric car charging stations. When browsing Hawaii hotels and accommodations on TripAdvisor, look for the Green Leader leaf icon on the listing. Take a look at these top Sustainable Hotels in Hawaii.

LEED Certified Hotels in Hawaii

The U.S. Green Building Council established the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system to create a framework for sustainable buildings, including hotels. Check out this list of LEED certified hotels in Hawaii before booking your next trip.

Features of a Sustainable Hotel

When selecting an eco-friendly hotel in Oahu, here are some of the features and amenities to consider:

  • All appliances are GreenStar rated

  • Room amenities such as toothbrushes, cups, and shampoo bottles are non-toxic and biodegradable

  • Low use plumbing fixtures like low-flush toilets and low-flow shower heads and sink faucet

  • Partially used bath amenities are donated to local non-profit for people in need

  • Involved in comprehensive recycling program

  • Limit towel and linen replacement to every 3 days unless requested

  • Green transportation program for employees (subsidies for bus passes)

  • No irrigation system or sprinklers—landscaping is hand-watered

  • No chemicals used on landscaping

  • Old uniforms and linens are donated to local non-profit organizations

  • Old furniture is donated to local non-profit organizations

  • On-site furniture refurbishing/refinishing to reduce transportation costs

2. Eco Friendly Tips for Reducing Plastic

The use and discarding of plastic is one of the largest contributors to environmental contamination. In places like Hawaii, which are surrounded by the ocean, it’s even more important to ensure each citizen and visitor is doing their part to prevent plastic from impacting the environment. Here are some tips to help you reduce the plastic you use and throw away:

  • Replace plastic water bottles with multi-use containers.
  • Pack your own toiletries to cut down on the number of small shampoo and conditioner bottles discarded by the hotel.
  • Skip using plastic straws in your beverages or only use eco friendly straws.
  • Pack your own snacks and containers to reduce the number of plastic chip bags, candy wrappers, etc. you discard on your trip.
  • Bring a reusable bag when you shop. Don’t use plastic grocery bags to carry your items.

Hawaii Beach Cleanups

If you’re feeling very generous, and want to do more, you can participate in a beach cleanup. People are always organizing these beach cleanup meetups and anyone can join. This would also be a great way to meet locals and get some insider tips on other local spots. Check out Oahu Surfrider Foundation for their beach cleaning events. 

3. Book Trips with Sustainable Tour Operators

Eco Friendly Tips - Sustainable Tourism Association of HawaiiThere’s a good chance you’ll go on some kind of tour when you visit Hawaii. Whether it is a snorkeling cruise, whale watching, guided kayaking, surfing lessons, or a bus tour around the island, it’s important to know if the tour company conducts their business in an eco-friendly way.

The Sustainable Tourism Association of Hawaii has a process to certify Hawaii tour operators that meet the highest standards of sustainability. When booking a tour, activity, or rental, consider selecting from the list of Certified Tour & Activity Operators first!

What are some other eco friendly travel tips and tricks have you found for traveling? 

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