Some of us just love to travel, whether it’s camping in national parks or jet-setting off to far-off lands. But there is an ugly truth to travel: it’s harmful to the environment. Every time you jump in a car for a road trip or take a flight, it increases your carbon footprint and impacts the earth. But even if we removed all vacations and frivolous weekend getaways, humans would still need to travel for work and see family. So, as one of the humans of this big blue marble, what can we do about it?
First, we can think more sustainably in our daily lives. Second, we can think more sustainably about how we travel. Choosing to offset your entire flight is a big ask. But for smaller baby steps, here are 11 eco-friendly travel accessories to take on your next trip.
1. Compostable Tech Accessories
Electronic waste, or e-waste, has quite harmful effects on our environment. But abandoning electronics is simply not a part of our future. Instead, we need to learn how to adapt and create a more sustainable product. That’s where the world’s first compostable phone case comes into the scene. Brands like Pela Case are not only designing tech accessories like Apple Watch bands and AirPods cases to prevent our gear from becoming e-waste sooner, but are taking green-friendly initiatives, too.
2. Reusable Water Bottle
Toting along a reusable water bottle these days is a no-brainer, cutting down on single-use plastic water bottles. They can keep drinks cold and hot for long periods while you’re galavanting around, seeing the sights. However, it helps to think compact and transportable on your travels, so we’re going to recommend a collapsible water bottle.
3. Reef-Friendly Sunscreen
Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is doing the ocean harm. Many sunscreens are filled to the brim with nasty chemicals — not only bad for you, but for the reefs and marine life you’re snorkeling to see. So be sure to choose a reef-friendly sunscreen and wear something like a rashguard and a hat to reduce how much you lather on.
4. Plastic-free Sanitary Products
When that time of the month rears its ugly head on your travels, it pays to be prepared. But don’t just opt for the conventional one-time-use sanitary products. Instead, choose the reusable, plastic-free types that you can use again and again. Same time next month? You betcha! Check out some green alternatives like Thinx period pants or menstrual cups.
5. Bamboo Toothbrush
According to research by Foreo, one billion toothbrushes (roughly 50 million pounds of waste) are added to landfills each year. The good news is that there is a more eco-friendly alternative. Bamboo is a highly sustainable material and fast-growing crop, grown more readily than wood species and kinder than electronic brushes that produce e-waste.
Luckily, there are more environmentally sound bamboo toothbrushes you can take on your travels, complete with features like replaceable heads, compostable handles and charcoal or castor bean plant-based bristles.
6. Laundry Essentials
Planning on a long trip where you might need to drop into a laundromat? Then consider carrying some of these eco-friendly laundry essentials. For starters, a wash bag allows you to do laundry right in the hotel sink without needing an energy-consuming washing machine or dryer. All you have to do is add your clothes to the bag with water and detergent and begin rubbing.
You might also need an eco-friendly detergent. Choose a soothing detergent that is free of harsh chemicals, chlorine bleach, dyes, optical brighteners and artificial fragrances. An even more natural alternative to laundry detergent is soap nuts. Soap nuts are 100 percent biodegradable, vegan and require no messy powders or liquids that could leak in your luggage. Win-win!
7. Reusable Totes
A reusable tote is one of the easiest ways to up your green-friendly game. Use it to collect groceries at the market or take home souvenirs. Choose a tote made from an organic cotton canvas or a more sustainable alternative like bamboo or hemp fibers.
8. Reusable Utensils and Straw
Single-use plastics are detrimental to the earth and our oceans. So instead of using throw-away utensils with onboard meals or camping excursions, bring your reusable utensils. The same goes for straws. If you prefer to drink through a straw, bring your own. Reusable utensils and straws come in all kinds of materials — bamboo, silicone, stainless steel — you name it! Whatever you use, you’ll feel good saving aquatic wildlife.
9. Stainless Steel Bento Box
Dining out at restaurants to taste the local cuisine is just one of the many enjoyments of travel. However, what happens when you can’t finish your meal? Instead of asking for a take-away or to-go box, bring your own. Pack a bento box for not only carrying home leftovers, but for taking on-the-go lunches to the park or beach, too. These plastic-free containers are even great for camping and everyday activities.
10. Water Purification System
Tap water — for the reusable bottle, remember? — is perfectly safe to drink in most countries. However, there are some places where it’s safer to buy bottled water. But with all this fuss over single-use plastics, we’re not suggesting that. Instead, we’re suggesting bringing a water purification system or purification tablets. Check outLifeStraw Go Stainless Steel Bottle and the even more portable LifeStraw Go to remove chlorine, bacteria and parasites like Salmonella, E. coli and Giardia.
11. Reusable Safety Razor
Need a cleaner shave? We don’t mean sharper. We mean cleaner for the environment. Much like toothbrushes, disposable razors are not considered single-use, but they’re growing in numbers. It’s estimated that by 2024, over 160 million people in the U.S. will use disposable razors. The good news is that several styles of reusable and sustainable safety razors are available to reduce this type of plastic waste.
Article Submitted By Community Writer