• Susan

Take the climate guilt out of your summer holiday

The pandemic scuppered international travel for many of us, and understandably the nation is looking forward to getting away for a change of scenery. However, with the climate crisis a growing consideration for everyone, even when we are away, Olio’s co-founder Tessa Clarke shares her top tips for holidaying as sustainably as possible.

1. When you are choosing your holiday, consider where you are going to travel to and how you will get there. The average carbon footprint in the UK is over 10 tonnes per person per year, and we need to get this down to 2.5 tonnes by 2030 for global heating to remain within 1.5 degrees. Unfortunately, one of the most carbon intensive things we can do is hop on a plane. A return flight to Rome is 1/4 tonne, to New York is one tonne and to Perth is three tonnes. This is in contrast to going vegan for a year which saves 0.8 tonnes. So that flight you are thinking of taking… why not check out a train or ferry instead?


2. Suncream is a must have for all of us. Consider buying coral friendly suncream before you go so that the harmful chemicals do not bleach the sea’s precious reef builders! There are many more eco friendly brands than there used to be, including high street favourites.



3. Before you go, make sure that you share any food you have in the house that you won’t be able to use. If you can’t give it to a family member or a neighbour, consider sharing it on the Olio app, which is easy to use and the majority of food listings are requested in less than half an hour. Ensuring that food gets eaten instead of binned before your holiday is an easy way to cut your own carbon footprint. The same goes for when you leave your holiday to return home. If you have a self-catering apartment or AirBnB, you can share any leftover food like olive oil, jams, cheese or fresh fruit on the Olio app to be collected anywhere in the world!


4. Take reusable water bottles with you! Most countries in the EU have safe drinking water, so you can fill up in your apartment or hotel which is better for the environment and your pocket. If the country you are travelling to doesn’t have fresh drinking water, it is still better to take a reusable bottle, and fill up from a larger one each day rather than buying multiple small bottles of water. It is estimated that around eight million metric tonnes of plastic ends up in the sea, and it takes 450 years for every plastic bottle to decompose – let us not be part of the problem. I really recommend the Grayl water bottle which filters pretty much everything from any fresh water source, and I estimate it has saved at least 500 plastic bottles since I bought it.


5. Don’t be tempted to buy everything you need for your holiday new. As the saying goes, the most climate friendly fashion is the outfit you already have in your wardrobe. The same goes for buckets and spades, towels and everything else you might need. If there are some items you want but don’t have – like inflatables for the kids or camping equipment, consider trying to source them second hand or borrow them from a library of things or the Olio app.



Olio is a local community app that connects neighbours with each other so they can give away, rather than throw away, spare food and other household items; and so they can lend and borrow everyday things instead of buying new.

Half of all food added to the app is requested within 30 minutes of posting. Half of all non-food items (toiletries, kitchen appliances, books, clothes and toys etc) are requested within three hours.

Over five million people have joined Olio so far.