On May 20th, my husband and I tied the knot. It was the happiest day of my life. But you want to know the happiest week of my life? My honeymoon week! Steve and I chose to visit St. Lucia, a beautiful Caribbean Island we had both never been to. We never fly, so it was a big deal for us. Thing is, going on a honeymoon is a once in a lifetime thing. So we wanted to make sure we went somewhere special, romantic, and tropical…with as minimal damage to the environment as possible. Luckily, we have a fantastic travel agent who also happens to be family! She hooked us up with a beautiful stay at a Sandals Resort. While I can’t say our stay was entirely a zero waste honeymoon, it was VERY low waste and eco-friendly. Lets jump right in.
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How to Have The Best Zero Waste Honeymoon
Can you have a zero waste honeymoon?
Having a zero waste honeymoon is possible – but it is challenging. Because waste happens. While we were on ours, I did wind up buying a water bottle at one point – the first I’ve bought in years – because the St. Lucia airport didn’t have a place for me to refill my water bottle.
I also bought something to eat on the plane on the way back home (a quinoa salad). But honestly, it came in a compostable/recyclable cardboard container and I could appreciate their effort to reduce single use plastic.
Overall, I’d say Steve and I did a pretty good job of keeping waste to an absolute minimum. Between me packing all the right things, and our hotel being fairly eco-conscious to begin with, it made the trip a lot less wasteful. Let me share my tips with you.
What to pack
Lets be real, you know what you’ll be packing for a honeymoon…a bunch of cute outfits! I’ll admit, I did buy some new clothes for this trip. That’s something I never do. But, I’ve been using those new clothes all summer long! So I consider it a very good investment.
I’d say, try to shop your closet first – then, consider buying secondhand items, or clothes made from durable materials that will last. Try to choose sustainable clothing brands when you can. Or, at the least, choose less flimsy materials that can be more easily repaired (like cotton, linen, hemp, etc. over polyester). A good rule of thumb is asking yourself “will I wear this after the honeymoon?” before you impulse buy it.
For bathing suits (if you’re going somewhere tropical, like we did), I’d recommend looking into Vitamin A or Wolven. They both use recycled/plant-based materials and have really pretty/unique designs and patterns.
As far as zero waste toiletries to bring, I recommend:
- Shampoo/Conditioner Bars (the Lush tins are TSA friendly and are great for storing them in!)
- Body soap bar (can also be stored in a Lush tin)
- Reef-safe Sunscreen (choose a 70 SPF for tropical locations!!)
- Bamboo toothbrush (+holder)
- Toothpaste tablets (compact, liquid free, aka TSA-approved)
For the flight (assuming you’ll be flying), you’ll want to bring zero waste snacks and a reusable water bottle.
Yes – you can bring a reusable water bottle on a plane! All you have to do is make sure it’s empty before going through security. Then you can refill it with water before you board your flight at a refill station (more and more airlines are sporting these, which I love).
For snacks, I used my reusable Stasher bags (made out of silicone) to store a bunch of yummy low waste goodies – like popcorn, crackers, etc. For the flight back home, I even cleaned and filled it with cereal from the buffet table. Anything without liquids, basically!
To keep snacks extra eco, try making your own from scratch! You can also pack a TSA-approved meal on the plane.
You can bring virtually all food past security, as long as it’s not a liquid exceeding 3.4 ounces.
This means bread, cakes, candy, cereal, solid cheese, solid chocolate, coffee, cooked meat, cooked seafood, cooked vegetables, cookies, crackers, dried fruits, fresh eggs, gum, nuts, solid pet food, pies, pizza, protein powder, salt, sandwiches, snacks, spices, supplements and tea are all good to go.
I’d try to pack it sustainably, perhaps in a light weight metal tiffin, or a mason jar.
And remember – regarding the carbon emissions of your flight…try not to feel too guilty. Don’t let it spoil the fun – it’s your honeymoon! Here’s everything you need to know about carbon offsets, and why I don’t think they’re the best way to balance out your flight emissions.
I recommend staying somewhere that’s eco-conscious and puts money back into the local community. We stood at a Sandals resort in St. Lucia and it turns out, Sandals is doing a lot for the environment.
Here’s what Sandals does to protect the Carribean, its people, and the planet (taken from the Sandals’ website):
- Buying local to boost Caribbean businesses, farmers and fisher partners
– An average of 56% of Sandals Resorts’ produce needs are purchased from local farmers.
– 90% of Sandals Resorts’ produce needs in Jamaica is harvested and purchased from local farmers. That amounts to over 5.4 million pounds of produce bought from local farmers annually.
– An average of 59% of Sandals Resorts seafood sourcing is purchased locally.
- All their resorts participate in the EarthCheck program
– From recycling to conserving, ecological responsiveness is a Sandals commitment.
– They build a culture of environmental stewardship that starts with the basics such as turning off running faucets while cleaning, shutting down/off equipment not in use in offices, spa, retail shops, and more.
– These practices have earned them nine Sandals Resorts Master Series Certifications from EarthCheck, certifying the resorts as a global trailblazer for environmentally friendly vacation experiences.
- Oceanic Global’s Blue Standard
– Working alongside this International NGO Sandals has been able to reduce our environmental footprint through elimination of single-use plastics in both front and back of house operations earning Sandals Resorts the Blue two-star seal and having our resorts recognized as Blue Verified businesses and partners in sustainable industry leadership.
– That looks like: 21.5M single-use plastic straws removed, 1.4M single-use plastic takeaway containers removed, and 1.2M plastic-lined coffee cups removed.
- Caribbean Coast Line Protection
– Sandals Resorts are located on the most pristine pieces of Caribbean beachfront real estate. As a leader in sustainable tourism, Sandals resorts have an obligation to protect these coastal and ocean ecosystems empowering those to take an active role in its preservation and conservation.
- Sandals Foundation created 40 different environmental + social projects, 40 For 40
– Through the Sandals Foundation, SRI has made the environment a priority, investing millions in education and advocacy programs, establishing marine sanctuaries, out-planting more than 12,000 corals, and engaging over 55,000 people in conservation efforts.
I was amazed to see all the effort Sandals is putting into creating a sustainable, all-inclusive stay. I’d book another trip with them in a heartbeat!
We also explored the gift shop and a portion of the money is donated right back into the community. Also, they featured a lot of local authors and makers.
Our overall experience
Truly, we had a beautiful honeymoon experience. I’d go back in a heartbeat. I have so many precious photos and memories from our stay. If you’re curious, we stood at Sandals Regency La Toc and the all-inclusive stay was fantastic.
Every single meal we had was top notch. Trust me when I say there was NO food waste. We finished every single bite. At the breakfast buffet in the morning, we made sure to only take what we knew we’d eat (sometimes, your eyes are bigger than your gut).
We had unlimited drinks too – my favorite was the Blue Hawaiian and the Malibu Sunset. They all came with paper straws, no plastic!
We spent most of our days on the beach, in the pool, or hot tub. But we did book a few excursions! We did one jam packed day where we went to hot springs, a waterfall, and snorkeling.
I also got to eat some locally picked bananas and OMG the flavor was unlike any banana you find in the states. So sweet! I was a little obsessed (had about 4 of them…).
The following day, we did JUST snorkeling which was equally beautiful. I’ve never seen such stunning fish – so many colors from yellow to orange to blue. But one stuck out to me, as it literally looked like a starry night sky.
I even got to see an octopus! It wasn’t on our guided snorkeling tours ironically. We bought our own snorkels and were snorkeling at the La Toc beach when I saw it! He/She was so cute and tiny and it was certainly the highlight of my day – I’ve always wanted to see an octopus in the wild.
The people there were so friendly, and it was truly amazing to just soak it all in. And, this goes without saying but, getting to spend that one on one time with Steve was just incredible. I love him so much and will forever look back on this time together with a wistful, dreamy sigh.
So, are you planning a zero waste honeymoon? Let me know in the comments where you plan to go!
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