English for Earth-Friendly Travellers

At home you may know the rules about recycling. You know where to put the papers. You know where the plastics belong. You even know which bottles can be returned. Good habits often go out the window when you are travelling. Sometimes this is out of laziness. Sometimes it is because you don’t know the language or the rules of the region you are visiting. It’s easy to be earth-friendly in English. Just ask your nearest human for help!

Questions you may need to ask

  • Do papers go in here?
  • Where can I recycle the papers?
  • Where do the plastics go?
  • Who picks up the papers for recycling?
  • Can this be recycled?
  • Can I compost this?
  • Do you have a compost pile?
  • Where does the trash belong?
  • Can I return my bottles here?
  • Where can I buy a reusable bag?
  • Is this bin for bottles?
  • Which day is the recycling picked up?
  • When is garbage day?
  • Where can I buy a reusable bottle?
  • How do I turn this off?
  • Is there a used/second hand clothing store around here?

Earth-Friendly Choices

  • I don’t need a bag.
  • I don’t need a receipt.
  • I’m okay to walk.
  • I’d like to rent a bicycle.
  • I’m looking for LED lights.
  • I’m looking for a recycling bin.

compost (noun): a pile of soil that food and yard waste can be added to (also used as a verb)
LED light (noun): an energy-saving light bulb

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Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub | March 2010
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.

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