There is more than just packing clothes for a vacation, sometimes it can frustrating to figure out what you need to bring in your luggage. Want to have more eco friendly holidays? Or to become a more responsible traveler in general. I can help! I have compiled the best eco-friendly travel checklist to help you be a more eco friendly, sustainable traveler.
The tourist industry is growing, and with generates a lot of its own waste, which adds to the increasing global problem of waste. And, as you know, most waste is not easy to recycle. As well as this, many countries don’t have adequate waste management systems in place to deal with this. If you are traveling or planning a holiday, consider planning in ways to minimize your waste. The best way to start is with what’s in your luggage.
A new study a few months ago shows that plastics emit powerful greenhouse gases. Researchers from the University of Hawaii discovered that these greenhouse gases are emitted as the common plastics degraded in the environment. They also say that the production rate of plastic is expected to double over the next two decades. When the common plastics are exposed to sunlight, they produce methane and ethylene. We need to get all the plastic out of the ocean, so it is not just sitting in the ocean getting exposed to sunlight, breaking down and adding to the global climate crisis.
I have made the ultimate backpacking packing list to help you avoid plastic and it is packed with my favorite eco products below that will help you automatically reduce your carbon footprint, as you travel.
This is another eco product to help you travel responsibly. “Going zero waste,” says that on average an American will throw away 300 toothbrushes in their lifetime.
Medium.com says that over 99% of the toothbrushes the world uses are plastic. And they are made of the kind of plastic that’s not recycled.
Just alone in the United States of America, in 2015, they use and then throw away over 1 billion plastic toothbrushes and it has increased year on year.
Switching to a toothbrush with a bamboo handle and organically grown bristles will eliminate this landfill waste. It will not break the bank and goes great with organic toothpaste.
My good friends over at Positive Outlook Clothing offer a pack of 2 bamboo toothbrushes for £7 or you can get a pack of 6 for £10.99 on Amazon that is £1.83 for each toothbrush.
The independent newspaper said the UK that plastic cutlery and plates might be banned. Plastic cutlery is very flimsy and useless, you can get very annoyed when you trying to cut something and it is no cutting, so you just try harder and then, bam, break the cutlery.
Well if you carried some Bamboo Cutlery set it could save the day! It not only looks nice, but it also does the job of cutting up your food. Shame I did not know about bamboo cutlery sooner, as it would have been good on my trip to Vietnam. Everywhere we went they just gave us chopsticks. If like me, you don’t know how to use them, you have to learn quickly or you can’t eat. That’s where bamboo cutlery, and it’s eco friendly too, would have come in really handy.
Bare Vida Bamboo Cutlery Set fits this eco friendly bill and it looks good too! It is very sleek in design. It comes with a bag and inside the bag, you get Bamboo knife, fork, spoon, straw, chopsticks and napkin. You can get all this just for £17.95, made in Bali, and that is a bargain on Amazon. And it can be used again and again. Also –helps you keep sanitary, and germ-free by using your own set of cutlery!!
Scrubba Wash Bag
You can just wash your clothes with just soap and a sink but they won’t wash that well. As well as this, some hotels/hostels offer washing services but I don’t trust them as I did one in Vietnam and they lost some of my clothes (or someone took them).
It is the world’s first pocket-sized washing machine quality washing bag. Great if you are camping or somewhere where there is no sink or washing machine on hand to wash your clothes. The great think about it is that it uses less water than a regular one and packs up very small. And it only costs £42 to get on Amazon.
Every responsible traveler needs an eco backpack. One of the best ones is from Positive Outlook. They have constructed an essential day bag that is very lightweight but durable and comfortable.
It comes with 15-inch laptop compartment, two side pockets, 1 large front pocket with additional quick access pocket you’ll fit all your everyday essentials with ease. The bag has lots of space and is very styles, as I have been using it for a few months now and love the number of things you can pack into the bag. The great thing is that the bag is not to expletive like most bags now a day costing £55. I have another cool backpack you should check out on my another blog post.
You should pack not any old clothes but Bamboo clothes. Lots of people have yet discovered the joys of Bamboo Fabric and are curious as to why this wonderful material is becoming so popular. I have had the pleasure of trying it out thanks to some samples provided to me by Positive Outlook clothes and I made a blog post all about the clothes.
Bamboo is very soft, much softer than cotton. In addition to this, Bamboo is extremely environmentally friendly, sustainable product as it uses very little water to grow, grows very quickly, needs no harmful pesticides and is 100% biodegradable.
Bamboo is 40% more absorbent than the finest organic cotton. This means that it wicks moisture away from the skin in hot weather and you remain dry and comfortable. Find out more about Bamboo clothes in the post I did for Positive Outlook Clothing.
Water Treatment/ Water purifier
Water in some countries is not safe to drink. The only way you can get drinkable water is buying bottled water that comes in a bottle. House of Commons Parliament Publications said that approximately 13 billion plastic bottles are used each year in the UK and that was from last year. These single-use plastic bottles are damaging our beautiful earth.
However, there is a way to drink any water in any country without wasting money on plastic bottles. You can treat the water with water treatment systems. Water treatment is the way in which wastewater is processed into water that can be returned to drinkable water with minimal impact on the environment.
Sawyer offers a range of water filtration products that are one of the best water purifiers you can get on Amazon. They have a mini water filtration system great for travelers. It comes with a drinks pouch, a standard disposable water bottle, a hydration pack and comes with a water filtration straw that allows you to drink from any water source. You get all this for just £23.05. It says it will remove 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli; and 99.9999% of all protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium.
Sustainable Water Bottles
As I said earlier plastic bottles are very bad for the environment. Every traveler has bought plastic bottled water on their travels. Carrying a water bottle with you will help you stop buying plastic bottles that are one of the biggest contributions on the landfills. If you are backpacking cheaply, then having your own bottle will save you money, as you won’t need to buy any water.
It also can save you from getting ill, as in hostels and restaurants you don’t know if the water is safe to drink or even the cup has been washed properly.
Lots of countries are now providing water fountains around their cities like New York City and Amsterdam. They offer better water than in most hotels.
There is a vast varsity of water bottles on the market, but one of the best travel bottles you can add to your ultimate packing list is Lifestraw that allows responsible eco travelers to drink any water without fear of getting ill. The water bottle comes with two stages of filters, stage one removes waterborne bacteria, while the stage two filter is a carbon filter reducing odors and chlorine content.
They both ensure that you get clean and fresh water every time. The bottle is made so that it is leak-proof and comes BPA-free. Bisphenol-A is an estrogen-imitating chemical used in producing reusable plastic products the bottle cost £31,85.
Every time you go in the ocean your sunscreen washes off into the water and can create contribute to ecological damage. This is because many sun lotions contain harmful ingredients. Recent studies have shown that the active ingredients in sunscreen are contributing to the rapid bleaching of our coral reefs and harming the aquatic life.
There is a solution for people that love to spend their time — an ocean-friendly sunscreen. There is a wide range to choose from and one of the best is Thinksport Sunscreens. Travels and Leisure sites say it is very good. There are many good ones to choose from.
ThinkSport Sunscreen contains no harsh toxic chemicals. It is water-resistant for up 80 minutes. They are one of the leading U.S. eco-friendly brands. You can get an SPF 50 sunscreen with 60oz for just £12.35 — that is a bargain to protect your skin while helping the environment on your sunny beach holidays.
Toiletry products are the often one of the least eco friendly as most of them come in plastic. Most people are actively trying to minimizing the number of toxins that enter their body. However, people don’t know that toxins can also be absorbed through your skin.
Using organic soaps comes with many eco benefits that will make you feel more environmentally friendly. Firstly, one of the main benefits is that organic soaps are animal cruelty-free. Secondly, it is better for the environment, as organic ingredients are grown without chemicals and pesticides that both can pollute the water supply, air, and soil. Lastly, they use eco packaging that is not plastic.
The best organic soap to get is from lush. I have tried them and they have lots of different flavors to pick from and they all smell amazing and last a long time so very reasonably priced. None of their products are tested on animals,
They also add lots of natural materials in their soaps such as fresh fruit juices, seaweed, and sea salt and rhassoul mud. Everything is packaged in completely recycled material and the soaps starting price is £4.50.
In addition to this, you should also buy Shampoo bars instead of shampoo in plastic bottles. They are also way better for any responsible traveler. Shampoo bars take up less space in your luggage. The nice thing is that you can get shampoo bars also from Lush, their starting price is £7.50.
Solar powered charger
Normal chargers use electricity and lots of people are charging their phones way too much and not even when the phone is dead. Phone manufacturers are making the phone battery run down quicker than before so that you have to get a new phone. There is a solution to this, so you don’t have to buy a new phone every year.
Phones are essential to have when traveling, they help you with getting around and booking hotels/hostels and even translating things. Finding a way to charge all your gear while traveling is a major hassle.
There is a wide range of eco chargers on the market. I have many different chargers and the best eco charger brand is Anker. They have the Anker solar charger, which generates its power from the sun. This is great as most travelers are traveling around hot countries where it is always sunny and are often off-grid where there are no plug sockets. The Anker solar charger cost £39.99. I have a blog post about a cheaper portable charger.
The last two are not your usual eco friendly travel essentials, but you always need them. I don’t want to think of the number of disposable pens I’ve bought and consequently discarded over the years.
We Hate Waste said in 2013 that Americans throw away 1.6 billion disposable pens every year! Add the rest of the world, multiply by over 50 years of writing with disposable pens, and that’s a lot of metal and plastic waste ending up in the landfill.
BIC – the first and most famous of disposable pens, sells 100 Billion pens in 2005 and have probably doubled or tripled this by now. That is the lot for pens sitting in landfill sites around the world. But they have come out with an environmentally friendly pen. They have a range of products called BIC Ecolutions. BIC Ecolutions products are made from recycled materials. You can get a box of 60 pens for just £9.69
Tree Free Organic Journals
If you’re like me and like writing down things from your trip you carry a notebook with you. As a blogger, it helps me remember stories to add to my blog about the trip. So you never know when you will need a notebook, and it is very handy to have one while traveling.
You must be thinking why to get an organic notebook, as you know the paper is 100% recyclable. But to make paper you need to cut down trees and we need them to provide habitat for animals. And trees absorb carbon dioxide and potentially harmful gasses, such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide from the air and release oxygen. I have a notebook and the paper inside it is made from recycled elephant poo! Crazy but true! What a good use of an animal’s poo. You thinking the paper must stink but does not. And it looks beautiful—very textured and hygienic!
Tree free paper allows you to keep writing without environmental impact. It is very affordable for only £10.44
Which of these eco friendly packing accessories did you bring on your travels? Which ones do you want to add to your shopping list? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.
And tell us if you carry any other eco-friendly accessories that we did not mention that should be on our list!
More ways to be eco-friendly on holiday.