8 best plastic alternatives in hills

It has become a common theme to blame the industries for plastic pollution and then coming up with an excuse that our personal efforts don’t matter. So before I start this blog, let’s talk about some facts –

Humans eat 50,000 plastic particles every year

We eat 5 gram microplastic every week which is equivalent of a credit card

So before you start with your usual plastic is a global problem and not my personal problem, let me tell you, yes it is. Consuming plastic leads to diseases and organ failure. Plastic is an anomaly which is not made for consumption of humans or any living being. So yes, plastic consumption is your personal problem.


Why plastic alternatives only for hills, you’ll ask? Well there are two reasons why I am suggesting this for hills while these ideas can be applicable in daily life.

  • More people travel to hills and they leave plastic at places from where bringing it down is not possible unlike the cities where the plastic end up at a dump site.
  • Compared to towns, hills are still in a cleaner condition. Fruits, vegetables and many different herbs are transported to the city. Microplastics mix in the soil and ruin the composition of the food in its organic form which is then consumed by the locals as well as city folks.

Now that I have answered this question, let’s get on the point.

What are plastic alternatives?


Plastic alternatives are the objects that you can use in place of a plastic. While the hipster folks will relate this with bamboo toothbrushes and metal straws, there are alternatives that are easy to source and available to everyone.

Some of these plastic alternatives are –

Water bottles instead of mineral water bottles



Mineral water bottles are a huge problems in the hills. Tourists buy a bottle, use it and then throw it. A tourist consumes almost 10 mineral water bottle during a 3 day visit to Manali. As the number of days increase, the number of bottles increases.

Having your own thermo flask will save you from buying almost INR 200 worth of mineral water bottles. Almost every café, hostel and hotels in the hills offer free water refill facility. The water in hills is fresh and will be if you stop buying mineral water bottles.

Carry your own shopping bags

Souvenir shopping is okay in the hills. Everyone likes to buy shawls and jackets while travelling. But you can easily avoid plastic buy having your own shopping bags. A cloth bag runs for a longer time and is more robust unlike a plastic bag.

The plastic bag eventually tears and is thrown. Whether it is the city or the hill station, it will end up polluting the locality.

Avoid soap and shampoo tubes

Many hotels in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Ladakh offer soap and shampoos in small plastic containers. Once you use them, they are thrown away and add to more garbage in the dumpsites. You can avoid this by carrying your own soaps and shampoos and leave the plastic bottles they way you found them in your hotel room.

Say no to wet tissue

Wet tissue is one of the biggest problems in the hills. These tissues don’t decompose and mix in the ground. Instead of using wet tissues, just use the normal tissue papers with water and it will do the same effect. Many trekking companies have banned wet tissues as it is not environment friendly and in the low temperature of the hills, the decomposition becomes even slower.

Metal lunch box for food packaging

Packing food, munchies and snacks is not a new thing. But having them in plastic container is where the problem starts. It is very easy to carry a metal lunch box and carry the leftover food or the snacks on the go. Plastic packaging becomes useless after a while and the food inside gets cold in no time. With lunch box, the food will stay warm for a longer time.

Carry your own utensils like spoon and fork


Now when you are carrying your lunch box then what is wrong with carrying a spoon and a fork as well. Metal and wooden spoons run for a longer time and can be cleaned and reused easily. Unlike plastic forks, you don’t end up consuming microplastics with every bite. Reusable travel cutleries are the best addition to your travel needs.

Biodegradable bags


Today, biodegradable bags are easily available online and in many stores that sell eco-friendly products. These bags decompose easily and don’t harm the soil the way plastic bags do. But here are two facts about these bags

1 Biodegradable bags still carry loads after three years which means that the bags are robust and run for a longer time compared to the simple plastic bags.

But this also means that the bags will not decompose for atleast three years after they are thrown away. The bags are needed to be carefully burned or destroyed. The decomposition of biodegradable bags also depend on the environment and temperature. This means that chances are that the bags won’t decompose in hills and you’ll have to bring it down to the plains in order to destroy completely.

However, it won’t be harm to shop from a place that offers biodegradable bags or jute bags over plastic ones.

Say no to straws

Using of straws is a tricky topic. Bamboo and metal straws have their equal share of harm as the person sipping from it doesn’t know if it has been cleaned properly. Paper straws are still useable but it again paper is mostly manufactured from plants.

Then the question comes, why are you so selective about using straws in certain situations and then not using in other. Alcohol is mostly a straw-less affair while cold coffee needs straw. It is a useless commodity and has no use in a bigger picture. It is very easy to deny straw and the drink will still taste the same. And if you are so concerned about a place’s hygiene then carry your own straws so that you are assured that they are cleaned properly.

Upcycled products


Many NGOs and individuals in Himachal Pradesh are heavily involved in upcycling of different products. You can easily find flower pots made out of discarded plastic bottles, statues out of containers, bricks made out of plastic, coasters and a lot more things. But unless the products are not sold, they won’t be able to make room for more products. If you are going souvenir purchasing in Himachal then track these artisans and buy something.

I understand that a lot of these suggestions are not doable and may be out of access. But it is really easy to figure out some pointers that you can follow to eliminate plastic from your daily life and save the Himalayas from this pollution.

Leave a Reply

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Great topic, it’s really important to talk about ecology and taking care of the environment! I’ve never understood the purpose of using straws for every drink – even if I’m not sure about the place’s hygiene I usually just clean the bottleneck before taking the first sip. The same with using cloth bags and trying not to waste hotel toiletries. When it comes to your advice I have only a problem with the one about wet tissues – I usually use the cleansing ones whilst camping for many days without water access and using soap. I’m not sure if water (bottled?) really is a viable substitute in that case, especially as I’m always taking my garbage back to the city for proper disposal.

  2. Renee

    Honestly thank you so much for opening my eyes to this.

  3. LifeRiiImagined

    We got a water pitcher to reduce our plastic water bottle use. This was a great post.

    1. Jamie Tutson

      We really should implement these alternatives here in the US. We have to start being more responsible. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hailey

    Great advice! I have really been doing my best to consume less plastic, but it can be harder when traveling to bring with you everything you need. I do have my own straw and shopping bags, maybe next I will work on utensils. Thanks for the push!

  5. Play2WinApps

    great ways to reduce the plastic waste not only in the himalayas but around the world

  6. Thank you. This needed to be said. Everytime I go on vacation, especially in India, it really aches my heart to see the kind of mess we as travellers and tourists are making. And all of the plastic isn’t even biodegradable! I am sharing this post, thank you for putting this out there. 🙂

  7. Joanna

    I have been using a water bottle for a year now and it’s amazing how much difference it made in my own life. By not buying single use bottles of water not only that I saves money but I also contributed to less plastic in the world. If more people would use water bottles, the number of plastic ones produced will get lower.

  8. Mike A.

    Plastic consumption is definitely a worldwide problem. Good list of suggestions.

  9. amayszingblogs

    Loving this idea to protect our environment less plastic helps to save our environment a great topic!

  10. Woraporn

    To save our word , continuing with less plastic and add more re-use product is the best. I agreed with the topic to reduce plastic and come up with eight ideas to protect the environmental. Support you and support our world.

  11. Daniel Kiteski

    Great post!! It is always great to read about all the ways you can travel environmental friendly, which was really rare while I was traveling in India. It’s great to see that people are becoming more aware of it and are taking action.

  12. Shane Prather

    I think it’s so great to see sustainable and eco-friendly initiatives, especially when incorporated with travel! Thanks for spreading the word about these alternatives and making the world a better place in doing so!

  13. aisasami

    What a disgrace and disgust that people throwaway plastic so easily at a popular place! I love your tips and I hope people take heed as recycling is everyone’s responsibility!

  14. Luna S

    There are a lot of great ideas here! I love reusable shopping bags, they are so handy.

  15. Ch. Nikhila

    I support environment-friendly living in every way and thanks for this amazing article.

  16. The Untourists

    So right you are. And straws and plastic water bottles are a huge problem. I always carry around 6 bottles of water in my car so last at least an extremely long day. Most destinations have purified water available. Another big problem is packaging for snacks and other stuff. You buy bread, chips, chocolates, protein bars, they all come wrapped in plastic. I wish SOME company would come with an alternative, considering how proudly we chest beat about our “world class engineers”.