We at Gray Line Iceland strive to minimize our environmental impact in the beautiful country we call home and we encourage our visitors to do the same. In an effort to reduce our effect on nature in Iceland, we are consistently monitoring how we do business in order to address environmental issues. Here are our 6 best and easy to follow tips to help you reduce your environmental impact during your holiday in Iceland:
1. Bring a reusable water bottle
It’s a fact that millions of plastic water bottles end up in landfills, oceans and in the open environment every year. In a recent study conducted by the Icelandic Tourism board, it was revealed that 65% of tourists admitted to using bottled water more frequently while on vacation because of lack of trust in the quality of water at their destination and 80% of those bottles end up in landfills or the ocean. Luckily in Iceland, tap water is some of the purest and most delicious you will ever taste. What comes out of the tap of every home in Iceland is pure spring water that has been naturally filtered through lava for centuries. And the best part of it—it’s free!
2. Dispose of your trash properly
Icelandic nature is vast and magnificent to behold. Unfortunately, beautiful nature doesn’t always come with garbage cans so when you can’t find one, be sure to hang on to your trash for when you do find an appropriate receptacle. Keep in mind that recycling and trash cans can always be found at rest stops, gas stations, hotels, and public pools so you’re bound to stumble on a few opportunities to dispose of trash in a day. Nothing ruins the idyllic Icelandic countryside more than trash so let’s work together to keep it clean and pristine!
3. Don't walk where you’re not supposed to
As you travel through Iceland, you will discover that there are signs marking paths where you are and aren’t allowed to walk. These are in place for your safety but also to protect the nature you are standing on. One of the most precious and protected natural phenomenons in Icelandic nature is the moss that grows on cooled lava rock. In the vast lava fields across the country, there are 606 different types of moss thriving and they often die when trampled on. Iceland may seem like it is a tough little country facing harsh elements, but its ecosystem is a fragile one. Moss and other grasses help prevent soil erosion, retain moisture and humidity so stick to the designated paths and watch where you step!
4. Be considerate of others
Iceland is a tiny country but there is room for everyone! Some of the most popular destinations in Iceland can sometimes feel crowded, but remember that everyone is here to admire and experience the beauty of this remarkable country. It is important to be respectful of those around you that are sharing the experiences—whether they are locals, tourists or employees. Also, if you plan on driving, hiking or camping while in Iceland, it is important to learn about the laws and regulations ahead of time to ensure that you are traveling safely and respectfully.
5. Leave what you find
It is no secret that Iceland is brimming with other-worldly nature but it is imperative that it remains untouched and pristine. This is why it’s important not to take lava rocks and other natural elements as souvenirs nor move rocks to make cairns that can damage the surrounding environment. Don’t fret—there is no shortage of souvenir shops for you to buy that unique item from Iceland. We highly recommend a hand-knit lopapeysa (Icelandic woolen sweater) to keep you warm for years to come, or a book of nature photography to keep memories alive.
6. Respect wildlife
While Iceland does not have many native animals, it is important to respect the wildlife that you come across during your visit. Whether that be sheep crossing the road, horses grazing on the edge of a field or ducks swimming in a pond—all of them live within an ecosystem that commands respect. Things to keep in mind when encountering Icelandic wildlife is not to feed animals food that they shouldn’t be eating, drive carefully when you come across them on the road, and be gentle.
If we all do our part (and every little bit counts) to help preserve, restore and respect the environment, together we can continue to enjoy all the natural splendor Iceland has to offer.