It’s holiday season! After two years of restricted travel due to the pandemic, we can now enjoy, to some extend, the freedom and pleasure of going places! But still, the whole situation has made us more aware for the fragility of our existence and the necessity to do more to protect our planet, our home! We have become even more sensitive to the urgency required to act!
Environmental and economical considerations have an impact on our purchasing decisions and general habits. Many of us reevaluate the way we are doing things: this summer, maybe stay home and enjoy local hospitality and gastronomy, or when going abroad look out specifically for eco-friendly hotels.
As for getting around: maybe not take a flight but opt for public transport, car sharing, or hire an eBike.
At home or on the go, reduction of plastic waste is a main concern in the summer months: thrown away bottles and cutlery litter festival venues, campsites, lakeshores and beaches…
How to counteract that and adopt a more eco responsible approach to mobility and enjoying summer is subject of this Midweek Mindfulness edition; a series of articles that we are creating with the support of our partner BE WTR.
The young company offers innovative water solutions for the home, the restaurant, or bar by allowing to install to the water circuit a dispenser that allows to enjoy filtered, chilled, still or sparkling water directly from the tap. All the info here: www.bewtr.com
1. Travel: EcoHotel.com – Sustainable Hotels Only
Ecological, sustainable and social: traveling with a green conscience is an important – because necessary – trend in tourism. Travellers are increasingly paying attention to sustainability when choosing their form of transport and a hotel. However, not every establishment that says it is committed to “going green” is effectively working towards a better future for the environment. So far, anyone who wanted to make their trips more sustainable often had to do a lot of research.
This is now different thanks to EcoHotels.com, the booking platform that makes sustainable travel easy. Via www.ecohotels.com, people interested in eco-responsible travel can now easily find and book hotels that are certified as sustainable.
The platform, founded in Copenhagen in 2020, already offers a portfolio of over 20’000 bookable hotels in 160 countries worldwide. Only partners who meet the standards for sustainable travel of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) are included in the offer. They have to make proof that they are actively working towards being carbon neutral, offer environmentally friendly products, vegan and vegetarian food to reduce the ecological footprint in tourism.
The startup uses five percent of all profits for sustainable and ecological purposes. A tree planting program, for example, and such targeted at reducing plastic waste. As a first step, EcoHotels has entered into a partnership with Plastic Exchange in Bali – an organization that cleans up the island by exchanging plastic for rice for the population. In addition, a tree is planted for every booking on EcoHotels.com in Denmark – 25,000 so far!
2. Mobility: Youmo – Swissmade eCruiser
Like all teenagers, Jon one day had the desire for freedom and mobility and a vehicle that enabled him to get around. You know what it is like to be young and to just want to get out there… At this age you want to be motorized: scooter or moped, anything else is just not cool, right? Fine. BUT: at our day and age, does it really have to be one of those noisy, gasoline-powered, environment polluting vehicles? NO!
Luckily, Jon’s father Knut, an engineer, has developed a clean, eco-friendly alternative: the YouMo eCruiser. It takes you from A to B in the cleanest, most noiseless fashion, be it in the city or in the countryside.
Emission-free, sustainable and stylish, the YouMo e-bike meets the Zeitgeist and has cult potential. The Swiss universities and companies already supporting YouMo would certainly agree.
Why else do we find YouMo cool? One of the many reasons is that it can be personalized! There are various models, components, accessories and design options so that you can assemble your bike to your own taste. An aspect that lets the heart of any individualist beat faster. In general, eCruising is a statement. It says: I do not want to be part of the pollution; I want to decelerate and enjoy the environment.
Now in summer, Switzerland is so beautiful with its many lakes and the coloured foliage of the trees. It feels good to just escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a bit and to enjoy the warmer days, alone or accompanied. With such an eBike, you can upgrade your Sunday excursion, because you can go places that you would not otherwise reach within a day.
The YouMo is a great choice for getting around in the urban jungle, too. If you have to sit down after all the shopping – a stop in a café, a small snack – the shopping remains in the basket and you can take a break. Scooter was yesterday; today Dolce Vita is written with an “e” for electric drive!
3. Straws: La Paille Verte – for plastic-free beaches
Maybe you have already seen it yourself, if not, then surely on social media or in the news: many a dream destination is affected by horrendous levels of pollution. That not only overshadows the holiday, it also shows the extend of our impact on the planet.
Massimo Caputo, a young entrepreneur from Lausanne, loves nature and travelling. During his travels, he observed the pollution caused by plastic and decided to do something against it. He founded his own startup, La Paille Verte – literally The Green Straw – with the objective to counteract our throwaway culture and to offer alternatives to plastic products, notably single-use straws!
Plastic straws, so colourful, yet so harmful to our environment; so convenient, yet so dangerous to our wildlife. Did you know: plastic straws take up to 400 years to fully decompose! According to a study by the American journal Science, 8 million tons of plastic waste are dumped into the world’s seas and oceans every year! Among this waste, single-use plastic straws make up a small but not insignificant portion: 500 million straws are used every day in the US alone, and more than a billion worldwide.
Many plastic straws are simply thrown in garbage cans or are destined for recycling, but countless numbers end up in our rivers and oceans. Drinking straws are among the top ten most common plastic items found on shorelines. Due to their composition and form, they directly threaten biodiversity and contribute to soil and water pollution.
While there is a ban on single-use plastics in the EU since July 2021, a similar legislation has yet to pass in Switzerland. La Paille Verte offers eco-responsible alternatives. Massimo sources more eco-responsible solutions: reusable straws made of metal, biodegradable straws made of cornstarch or bamboo; he also proposes recyclable, sustainable products like isothermal flasks.