8 Sustainable travel items to bring on your next tripPublished 08/03/2022
Are you looking for travel items that are better for the environment than the ones you have now? Travelling is great, but it can be very damaging to the environment. Especially when you fly somewhere. However, there are small things you can do to make sure you minimize your impact on your holiday destination. Think about an alternative to plastic bottles or those small one-off plastic shampoo bottles in hotels. Here are 8 tips for sustainable alternatives to take with you on your travels.
1. Sustainable cosmetics
Many cosmetics contain harmful substances that can damage coral, among other things. Everything that is flushed away, whether it is down the sink, toilet or shower drain, eventually ends up in natural water. Much of it is filtered, but ingredients such as microplastics and chemicals are difficult to filter out. Do you know what is in your toothpaste, shampoo, or sunscreen that is harmful to the environment? Go for sustainable alternatives with an eco-label that cause less damage to our planet.
2. Choose environmentally friendly packaging
We now know that plastic is bad for the environment. However, we still tend to take small packaging with us when we travel to save space or because we are only taking hand luggage and are bound by the limits of the airplane. These are almost always made of plastic. Fortunately, there are many alternatives. If you go for sustainable cosmetics anyway, they often come in recycled packaging or are made of glass or biodegradable material. This is always mentioned on the packaging, so just read carefully to find the proper products. Are these containers too big? Then go for reusable travel minis made of silicone instead of the well-known plastic versions. Easy to wash and better for the environment.
3. Ditch the wrapping altogether
Do you want to go the extra mile and be sure that it is allowed on the plane? Then go for packaging-free products such as shampoo bars, soap bars and toothpaste tablets. These products have several advantages. First of all, you don’t have to worry about any bad packaging materials. In addition, these products are made of environmentally friendly ingredients. And finally, they are not liquid products, which means they are always allowed on the plane. No more hassle with 100ml per product, you could fill your whole bag with these products.
4. Reusable products
Do you normally take a pack of moisturizing wipes with you when you travel? Or a plastic bottle with toner and a load of cotton pads? Then you might want to reconsider. Most wet wipes contain plastic, and the cotton pads are sprayed with pesticides to ward off pests. Bad for the environment, but also for you. The same goes for cotton swabs. Go for reusable alternatives instead. Reusable cotton swabs are made of silicone and are easily washable. Reusable cotton pads are made of microfibres and can be cleaned during your trip by putting them in hot water and rinsing them out. At home, simply throw them in the washing machine.
5. Bamboo toothbrush
Most people replace their toothbrush every month. So, that’s billions of pieces of plastic thrown away every month. Fortunately, there is an alternative, made from bamboo. Bamboo is a fast-growing plant, some grow up to a metre a day! That is a lot faster than a tree grows. There are hundreds of different species of bamboo. Some of them are an important food source for, for example, pandas, but there are several species that are not a food source. Moreover, they grow so fast that it has a minimal impact on the environment to cut them. Also, they are 100% biodegradable. A whole lot better than a plastic toothbrush. And while you’re at it, go for plastic-free toothpaste alternatives too!
6. Bamboo cutlery and straw
Do you often find yourself using plastic cutlery or drinking a cocktail? Then you probably have a plastic straw in it. In Europe, this is now prohibited, but not in the rest of the world. All this plastic is awful for the environment, and sea creatures can suffocate from the straws. Fortunately, you can buy beautiful sets of bamboo cutlery and straws nowadays. In a nice package to keep it together and a rag to clean your straw. Just remember to ask the waiters for a cocktail without a straw.
7. Sustainable sunglasses
You are probably not even aware of this, but most sunglasses are made of plastic. Do you regularly buy new sunglasses because you lose them, or do you want to follow the latest fashion? Then you might want to reconsider. Invest a little extra in a nice pair of bamboo or metal sunglasses that will last longer and be less harmful to the environment once you get tired of them.
8. Reusable water bottle
Every year, we throw out billions of plastic bottles, which often end up in nature. In most countries, there’s no proper recycling system, so they just end up in a big pile or in the ocean. To avoid contributing to the plastic soup of other countries, it is always a good idea to bring your own reusable water bottle. But what about in countries where you can’t drink tap water? Then go for a water bottle with a water filter.
The same goes for your coffee mug, by the way. Instead of getting to-go coffee in plastic containers, you can bring your own coffee cup and ask them to serve it in it. This isn’t very common everywhere and might be difficult to explain in a language you don’t speak. But in most cases, they will understand if you show them your cup. Bringing a thermos with your own coffee from your Airbnb or hotel is also an option. Especially nice in countries where the coffee isn’t very good anyway.
.. And many more
I could make this list much longer with sustainable clothing, sustainable deodorant and bags for fruit and vegetables if you like to go to the market during your travels. The most important thing is to be aware of what products you use and what impact they can have on the planet. Wherever possible, go for organic products, as this will ensure that you are at least making a better choice than the average products. Organic products would not exist if the average products were good enough. Most cosmetic shops have organic sections, or go to a fully ecological or wrapping-free shop and just have a look around to see what alternatives they offer. You might not even be aware of the harmful products you are using.
Through the links on this website, you’ll find a whole bunch of my favourite products as well, if you prefer to order online.