By now I think everyone has noticed that sustainability is kind of my thing, and I want to give a bit of practical advice for a packing list while also educating on the importance of sustainability, especially when traveling. This little list below should come in handy for your next trip if you’re looking for quick ways to produce less waste. For each item, I give a simple swap-out that makes travel more convenient, while also helping you do your part in protecting the environment by traveling in a clean and sustainable way!
Item: Carry-On made from plastics or leather.
Swap-Out: Luggage that is upcycled, vegan, uses recycled materials, and promotes sustainable business and fair labor practices!
Ethics: This is more about ethical travel fashion than anything else, but purchasing luggage to travel should be an investment, not a budgeted buy. When you shop for luggage, you want something sturdy that has plenty of room while still being aesthetically pleasing. Instead of opting for basic hard-tops or leather baggage, consider spending the same amount for something eco-friendly, made with sustainable materials. Starting with “green” luggage is a great way to begin the habit of conscious traveling!
My Pick: Matt & Nat
Item: Plastic Shopping Bag
Swap-Out: Canvas Tote or Shopping Bag
Ethics: This is more of a tip for when you go out shopping abroad. Simply, if you carry a foldable canvas tote bag with you, then you can turn down the plastic shopping bag at the register and opt for your reusable option instead. Look at you being waste-free!
My Pick: I have a really great burlap reusable shopping tote that I love, but any reusable tote made with recyclable materials will work fine, just make sure to check the sustainability practices of the company before you buy a new bag!
Item: Plastic Toothbrush
Swap-Out: Bamboo Toothbrush with Bamboo Case
Ethics: Instead of going through a toothbrush every few months and tossing them away, opt for a bamboo brush that is completely biodegradable when you throw it out!
My Pick: Brush With Bamboo
Item: Plastic Disposable Razor Blades
Swap-Out: Safety Razors
Ethics: More and more people are swapping disposable razors for safety razors. These blades last longer as long as you take care of them, and the stainless steel razors are 100% recyclable.
My Pick: Life Without Plastic
Item: Skin Care Products
Swap-Out: Sustainable Oils Travel Kit
Ethics: Instead of toting around several different bottles with different potions and serums for the face, try out a single face wash meant for travelers that is plant-based, non-GMO, reusable, recyclable and compostable.
My Pick: Earth Tu Face
Item: Makeup Remover Wipes
Swap-Out: Coconut Oil
Ethics: Makeup remover wipes are great in a cinch, but after you throw them away, consider what happens to the wipe itself and all the oil that is still clinging to it. They are not flushable nor biodegradable, so try a simple glass jar of coconut oil! Coconut oil is great to use for every skin type, and there are no parabens, microbeads, fragrances or foaming agents ensuring a nice clean wash. Also, the glass jar is recyclable, so the whole package is waste free!
My Pick: Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil
Item: Wet Wipes
Swap-Out: Microfiber Towelettes or Flushable Wipes
Ethics: Kind of in the same vein as the makeup remover wipes, wet wipes are causing a huge issue for sewers. Although the labels deem flushable, they alas, are not as flushable as you may think. For more info about the problems they are causing, check out this article to get a better idea. For those of us who know what a fatberg is, we already know it’s time for everyone to make the switch to either 100% biodegradable wipes or reusable towels while traveling.
My Pick: Stall Mates
Item: Plastic Comb
Swap-Out: Bamboo Comb
Ethics: Combs are great, but eco-friendly and completely biodegradable ones are even better. Swap your plastic one with a 100% natural bamboo comb instead (or brush if you prefer!)
My Pick: The Body Shop Bamboo Comb
Eating & Drinking
Item: Plastic Water Bottle
Swap-Out: Metal or Reusable Drinking Vessel
Ethics: The hardest thing, even for me, was to kick my plastic water bottle habit. But as you travel, you’ll find it easier to refill your own bottle as you travel instead of wasting a cup or two in-flight. A metal bottle is completely reusable and completely recyclable, and there are also other water bottles that can roll up and go until they are refilled! What you’ll want to look for is something BPA-free, consciously produced, completely sustainable, and big enough to keep you hydrated!
My Pick: The Anti-Bottle
Item: Plastic Cutlery
Swap-Out: Bamboo Spork
Ethics: Sporks are easy to pack away, as they don’t have serrated edges, and they are great to stow in a carry-on! Even better, you can reuse the bamboo spork over and over instead of wasting plastic cutlery during your in-flight meal or any other meal that offers plastic cutlery with it! Organic, vegan, and bio-based, bamboo sporks are your secret weapon for being a more green-on-the-go traveler!
My Pick: Bambu
Item: Cell Phone Charger
Swap-Out: Solar Charger
Ethics: A great way to reduce your carbon footprint while traveling is to opt-out of using those free outlets to charge your phone, and opt-in for a solar charger instead! For every hour of sunlight, it’ll produce an hour of battery life for your phone or any other USB connected device.
My Pick: BigBlue
What are your favorite eco hacks? What is your favorite way to be “green on the go”? Tell us!
5 thoughts on “Packing List: Sustainable Swap-Outs”
Tons of great tips here! That’s a very comprehensive list including a few I didn’t think of at all. Sporks! Nice one!
Lovely article, well written and I used most of your tips on my last trip!