Travel is, by its very nature, pretty unsustainable. Just think about how much you are increasing your carbon footprint each time you step foot onto a plane. Oh, but don’t worry. Don’t panic. I’m not here to put you off travelling for good. Of course, your travel habits are not solely responsible for the ice caps melting. On the contrary, this post is here to tell you that although travel generally has a bad impact on this dear planet of ours, there are ways you can travel in a more eco-friendly way. Enter eco-friendly travel products…
One of the easiest ways to start living a more eco-friendly life is by making the simple switch from using unsustainable products to sustainable products. So guys and gals, it is time to treat both yourself and the planet with the 27 best eco-friendly travel products that will
probably change your life!
A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021. Switching out buying bottled water for a refillable and reusable bottle is one of the simplest and most effective changes you can make to do your bit for the planet.
My much-loved, albeit overpriced, Swell bottle has seen me through many years across many countries. I love the shit out of it! Not only does it look beautiful but it has never leaked or failed me too. Plus, it keeps beverages cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12. Other options for reusable bottles include the collapsible Que bottle and the Elephant Box stainless steel bottle pictured above. Chilly’s, Swell’s main competitor, is also a good shout, though I’ve found that their bottles aren’t as good quality.
Solid toiletries are a pretty solid way of helping this lovely planet of ours. One of the best places to find solid toiletries is Lush. They have a whole array of eco-friendly travel products including solid shampoo and conditioner bars, solid perfume and solid toothpaste.
All these toiletries are really light, take up very little space and involve no nasty plastic. Plus, they smell proper lush (pun totally intended). Who wants to be lugging around huge plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner anyway? Sounds like a bit of a pain in the arse, if you ask me.
If you know me, you know I love packing cubes. They are frankly one of the best inventions ever. They help you save space in your luggage, fit more in and keep you organised. No more scrambling around for ages in your suitcase trying to find that one t-shirt.
And what makes a packing cube even better? Packing cubes made from recycled plastic bottles, that’s what. These bad boys are manufactured from high-quality recycled polyester (RPET) fabric derived from recycling post-consumer plastic bottles. Not too bad, huh?
One of my favourite eco-friendly travel products for life on the road (and, well, at home too) is reusable makeup wipes. Disposable makeup wipes are a lazy traveller’s best friend, but they are the environment’s worst enemy. Made from a nasty combination of non-biodegradable polyesters, rayon fibres, polypropylene and wood pulp, your much-loved makeup wipes take decades to break down in landfill.
Enter the eco-friendly saviour you have been waiting for: reusable makeup wipes. These easy-to-use pads remove 100% of your makeup away with any cleanser or toner – or even just water! Plus they can be used up to 1000 times. Just clean them as you go!
Did you know that two-thirds of the environmental impact of a piece of clothing is created at the consumer phase? Aka laundry. So opting for clothes which don’t need to be washed as much not only saves you the hassle and cost of laundry whilst travelling, but it’s also bloody great for the environment too.
My boyfriend has recently invested in some Silvertech tees from Organic Basics and they have literally changed his life. He’s gone out clubbing, gone to the gym and all sorts in his tees. And guess what: they still don’t smell at all! Organic Basics sell all sorts from underwear and socks to tops and leggings. All made from antimicrobial, anti-odour, permanently infused natural silver, GOTS certified organic cotton goodness!
You may be protecting your skin but did you know that you are not protecting the environment whilst wearing suncream? Suncream is filled with nasty chemicals that are especially toxic for marine life if you are swimming in the sea whilst travelling. Opting for a natural SPF is a great way to be kind to your skin and to the environment.
A great eco-friendly suncream is Green People’s scent-free suncream which works like a charm! This cruelty-free suncream is made from 84% certified organic ingredients and comes in fully recyclable, plant-based packaging. Pick up their tan accelerator and after sun for extra eco brownie points!
Gather round campers, this solar lantern might just change your life. Not only does it have a great name (big up all Lucy’s) but this solar-powered lantern is also an eco-friendly way to bring a bit of light into your life when travelling. It is really lightweight, collapsible and affordable, making it great for any backpacking or camping trip. Plus, because it charges thanks to the sun it is super sustainable too!
Made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, the Nomadix travel towel is nothing but kind to the environment. It is also extremely light, compact and fast-drying, making it not only eco-friendly but also really convenient for just chucking in your bag on the go. So whether you are heading for yoga, the gym, the beach, camping or travelling, opt for this eco-friendly alternative.
Alright, uterus-less humans, you’re allowed to tune out for this one. If you’ve started to think about how periods are a bloody nightmare for the environment, then these plastic-free sanitary products will help you have the greenest of periods (not literally, I’d hope). Opting for a more eco-friendly menstruation is as easy as investing in a pair of Thinx period pants, an OrganiCup menstrual cup or Honour Your Flow organic cotton reusable sanitary pads.
10. Solar charger
Solar-powered eco-friendly travel products are some of my favourites. Our good ol’ friend the sun is an amazing source of energy – so let’s utilise it! Finding a reliable way of charging your tech can often be a major hassle for travellers. So why not tick two boxes at once with a solar charger that eases both yours and the planet’s problems? This one requires just a few hours of daylight to power your devices for several charges. Not too bad.
Sun, sun, sun, here we come! Listen to the harmonies of The Beatles thanks to the sun powering your tunes. Perfect for hiking adventures and days at the beach, the built-in solar panel on this portable Bluetooth speaker charges up your device in just ten minutes. This speaker is both shockproof and splashproof so there is no need to worry about light rain or splashed water ruining your speaker.
If you’re not sold on the whole solid toiletries thing quite yet, reusable silicon travel bottles may just be up your alley. My favourites are the GoToob travel bottles which allow you to minimize waste whilst travelling by skipping the travel-sized toiletries and using reusable travel bottles instead. I use them all the time. These fun little bottles are small enough to get through security and their patent-pending LoopLock prevents accidental openings and leaks, so you really can’t go wrong with them.
13. Reusable straws
These bad boys have become all the rage this past year. Apparently, the world really bloody loves straws. Who’d have known it? I personally don’t use straws but if you are a sucker for a straw (pun intended), reusable straws will help you sip your drink in a way that doesn’t suck for the environment (oops, there I go again).
Unfortunately, plastic straws are one of the top waste products being dumped in the ocean, killing loads of aquatic animals. But don’t worry, reusable straws come in all sorts of eco-friendly materials. Bamboo, silicone or stainless steel, whatever takes your fancy!
Millions of plastic toothbrushes are discarded every year – not good news for the environment. Care for your teeth and the environment at once with an ever-popular bamboo toothbrush! Bamboo is highly sustainable because it is a fast-growing crop that requires no fertiliser and self-regenerates from its own roots.
This means it doesn’t need to be replanted. With a 100% biodegradable bamboo handle and charcoal infused bristles for natural teeth whitening, this toothbrush is one of the best eco-friendly travel products.
15. Scrubba wash bag
Nothing beats clean clothes while on the road (or at home for that matter!). But finding somewhere cheap and cheerful to do laundry can often be quite a challenge. Plus, as aforementioned, laundry has a hugely negative environmental impact.
The pretty revolutionary Scrubba wash bag is here to solve all your problems. Branded as “the world’s smallest ‘washing machine'”, all you have to do is chuck your clothes in the bag, add water and detergent, and start rubbing. You are left with squeaky clean clothes in no time, without the nasty environmental impact! Win, win.
If you want your Scrubba wash bag laundry to be even more effective, use eco-friendly detergent. Eco-friendly detergent is detergent that is free of artificial fragrances, chlorine bleach, dyes, and optical brighteners. There are so many ethical detergent brands you can choose from including Ecover, Seventh Generation, Ecozone, The Bio-D Company and Sonett.
17. Soap nuts
Or even better yet, go completely natural with soap nuts. Okay, so these bad boys may sound too good to be true. Washing my clothes with nuts? Seriously?! But they totally work. These 100% biodegradable, vegan-friendly, organic Indian nuts wash your clothes so well. No powder or liquid required – just chuck them in with your washing and your good to go!
Even when travelling it is likely you will need to do the groceries. And you do not need to be using new plastic or paper bags each time. What a waste! Stretchy, lightweight and durable, these organic cloth and mesh drawstring bags are the perfect eco-friendly alternative to your typical shopping bags.
19. Organic utensils
Let’s just sort out your whole kitchen whilst we’re at it, shall we? Next up on this list of eco-friendly travel products is organic utensils. If you haven’t gathered by now, contrary to what Barbie might think, plastic is not fantastic. Especially for the environment. And single-use plastic? Even worse. So skip the single-use plastic on your next backpacking adventure or camping trip with a set of utensils made from sustainable materials that you can use over and over again.
While a reusable water bottle is great for countries where tap water is safe to drink, that is obviously not the case everywhere across the globe. This may mean buying bottled water. However, don’t part with your pennies and contribute to plastic pollution too quickly!
There are so many great portable water purifiers for travel, such as my trusty friend, LifeStraw® Go. This all-in-one device doubles up as both a reusable water bottle and a really powerful water filtration device. The ridiculously clever system reduces chlorine, bad taste and odour, and also removes bacteria and parasites (including Salmonella, E-coli, Giardia) and chemicals. No clean water? No problem!
It’s 2019, gang. Who needs harsh chemicals anymore? To keep both the bugs and chemicals at bay, buy a plant-based, deet-free insect repellant. This will ensure that you are not covering either yourself or the environment in nasty toxins.
22. Reusable razor
This is one of the eco-friendly travel products that surprisingly few people have made the switch to. Buying an ethically sourced, reusable, unisex razor and blades is an easy way to reduce your plastic waste. Locally made in my little city of Exeter, I can really vouch for the quality of this razor!
Whether you’re heading out on a long trek or a short day hike, everyone needs a durable backpack to stow their belongings in. But have you ever thought about how sustainable your trusty backpack is? Luckily, Osprey has introduced Archeon, a new series of 100% recycled backpacks that are also entirely PFC-free. PFCs (per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals) are all completely man-made chemicals which do not occur naturally, so any items without these are good in my book.
Like all of Osprey’s products, these backpacks don’t skimp on quality either. Featuring a fully adjustable comfortable back-system, an all-important rain cover and plenty of different pockets and sections, these backpacks have every you could need and more for adventures near and far. My blue 45L pack is my go-to for all-weather treks!
I’m personally not a coffee drinker but if you can’t function without your everyday caffeine, it might be worth investing in a KeepCup. Rather than using disposable takeaway coffee cups every day, this sustainably sourced reusable coffee cup takes you one step further towards saving the planet.
Wherever you are travelling in the world at whatever time of year, you are probably going to need a good ol’ reliable watch to keep you company. So it’s time to invest in a sustainable yet stylish watch that will last you for years to come.
My favourite is my Native watch from Nordgreen, a company who prides themselves on the Scandinavian values of generosity and social responsibility. Not only does the company have sustainable production and packaging but they also support three great causes: providing clean water, educating the future, and protecting the rainforest. You can read more about their Giving Back Program here.
Quite like plastic bottles and plastic cutlery, plastic takeaway tubs, clingfilm and ziplock bags are also a bit shit for the environment. Buying a reusable, stainless steel food canister is not only great for the environment but great for you too. They really come in handy when camping or if you need to take lunch out with you for the day.
Look, I’ll be honest with you. I’m about to be a massive hypocrite. I own hundreds and hundreds of books. I love books. The type you can hold in your hand. In short, I read a lot. But I hate reading from Kindles. And you know what? That’s a bitch to the environment. But hey, you win some, you lose some.
However, with that being said, if you really want to be kinder to the environment and you are a big reader, just buy a bloody Kindle, yeah? There are just so many good kindles to choose from so you have no excuse! Whether you are waiting around in an airport terminal or a bus station, there’s always an opportunity to whack out a good book whilst travelling. Plus, the weight of books is not fun to travel with. So save yourself a backache and save the environment too by purchasing a Kindle.
Similarly, don’t buy travel guides and maps. I mean, you really do not need to. The internet is chockablock with many travel resources (such as this little old blog you are currently reading) and maps for you to easily use. Download maps onto your phone when you have Wi-Fi so that even when you don’t have access to the internet, you’re not left lost in your destination.
So there we have it! Those were some of my favourite eco-friendly travel products that I hope will not only benefit the planet but will also make your travels that little bit easier too. Are there any other eco-friendly travel products that you think I should try out? Let me know in the comments below!
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