Updated: Jan 22
(Disclaimer: travel towel and coconut wood cutlery gifted by Firera Home)
Today I wanted to share some of the sustainable travel items I like to pack to keep my impact on the environment as low as possible.
Before we begin, I want to acknowledge that travel itself can obviously leave a huge carbon footprint, especially when flying is involved. Other than giving up travel altogether, which is a major lifestyle choice and not one that many people are willing or able to take, a great way to try to neutralise this footprint is by carbon offsetting - which Kate from Travel for Difference explains brilliantly here.
Reusable Water Bottle
I think we all know by now that single-use plastic bottles are incredibly wasteful, and switching to a reusable bottle is one of the simplest changes you make towards a more sustainable lifestyle. In countries with safe drinking water, you can simply fill up your reusbale bottle from the tap before leaving your house or accommodation, and away you go! It can be a little harder in countries where drinking from the tap isn’t recommended, but you still have options available. Reusable Nation has a great article with a number of suggestions, from filling up at hotels and restaurants to using filtration techniques.
The water bottle I use (pictured above) is from Swell.
When we’re buying food on the go, vendors often provide disposable plastic cutlery. It’s convenient, and often the fact that we’re using something so briefly before throwing it away doesn’t even register with us. Worldcentric.org (Via plasticstoday.com) estimated in 2016 that the US alone uses 40 billion plastic utensils each year, the majority of which ends up sitting in landfill or floating in the ocean. This can be combatted so easily, by simply bringing our own set of cutlery!
This set of coconut wood cutlery and linen wrap (gifted by Firera Home) is so lightweight and convenient to pack, and I love that it’s made entirely from natural materials.
Reusable Food Containers
On a similar note, bringing your own food containers can prevent you from being caught out by plastic or disposable packaging on the go! Most street food sellers will be more than happy to serve their food in your own container if you simply ask, and you can take reusable bags or boxes with you to supermarkets, grocers, bakeries etc to avoid disposable packaging during your food shop.
Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
Switching to packaging free shampoo and conditioner bars has changed my life (or at least, my hair care routine). Not only does it mean no more plastic shampoo/conditioner bottles, bars are also much smaller and much easier pack, and there’s no risk of them leaking all over my luggage. I’ve also found that my hair has been a lot healthier and voluminous since I’ve been using these particular bars from Lush, which is a plus for me and my typically quite flat hair!
Lush is one of the most accessible places to find shampoo/conditoner bars, as it has stores all over the world, but you can also support smaller businesses by looking for bars made and sold in your local area (or on market place websites like Etsy).
If you chose to shave, I honestly can’t recommend a safety razor highly enough. A lot of people are intimidated by the idea initially as the blades can look a little scary, but they’re very easy to use. It didn’t take me long to get used to mine when I made the switch about a year ago, and I honestly would never go back. It‘s so much easier and less wasteful to simply replace the blade on my razor than it was to have to buy a whole new plastic monstrosity each time the last one became dull or worn out! It’s also much more space efficient to pack a couple of spare blades than it is to take multiple disposablue razors, if you’re going on a long trip. The main body of the razor should last years (if not a lifetime!) if you look after it properly, keeping the parts clean and dry between uses.
My razor, which is stainless steel with a bamboo handle, is from Bambaw.
Linen Travel Towel
Most travel towels are made from microfibers, which as you may have heard recently are not so great for the environment. Microfibers are tiny pieces of synthetic fabric which don’t biodegrade, and so therefore make their way into ecosystems and can have dangerous ramifications food chains. The alternative? Natural fibres like linen and cotton.
Firera Home have a beautiful range of linen travel towels like the one above (gifted). They’re lightweight, elegant and (best of all) sustainably produced. They’re also antistatic antimicrobial, as well as very fast drying.
These are just a few ideas you can use to make sustainable choices when packing for your travels. A lot of these are swaps you can make to simplify everyday life too. I hope they were helpful!