I began looking for eco friendly travel products while on the beaches of Cambodia surrounded by plastic waste. Even when, in what we believed to be truly remote destinations, the plastic waste is overwhelming. It is time to look for sustainable alternatives!
On every beach we visit, every mountain we climb, even in beautiful national parks it’s the same story – plastic everywhere. It is estimated that a million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute.
It is important that as a traveller you understand why sustainable tourism is important and how sustainable travel products can help to minimise our waste.
Here’s some statistics that might make you think twice about buying another bottle of water or throwing away another plastic bag.
- By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean – (source)
- 18% of tuna and swordfish and 90% of the world’s seabirds have fragments of plastic in their stomachs – (source)
- It will take hundreds of years for a single piece of plastic to decompose, and then it will turn into a dangerous microplastic. – (source)
- 91% of plastic isn’t recycled – (source)
The truth is, a lot of the stuff that you’re throwing into your suitcase isn’t great for the environment – whether it be full of chemicals or packaged in plastic.
All of these things can be easily replaced by environmentally friendly alternatives – without sacrificing useability. We’ve listed a bunch of our favourite eco friendly travel products below that will automatically reduce your carbon footprint.
Eco Friendly Toiletries for Travelling
Using solid shampoo and conditioner or refillable shampoo bottles for travelling can drastically reduce the number of disposables we produce.
This video shows just how much waste shampoo bottles create, these statistics make reference to US alone!
- more than 552 million shampoo bottles could be ending up in US landfills every year
- the number of shampoo bottles thrown out every year could fill 1,164 football fields
- only 1 in 5 people consistently recycle items from the bathroom
Did you know that most sun cream damages coral reefs? When you swim with sunscreen on, chemicals like oxybenzone seep into the water and damage the coral’s reproduction and growth cycles.
According to the national geographic, roughly 14,000 tons of sunscreen wash into the oceans each year and over 82,000 chemicals from personal-care products may be tainting the seas.
Try using a no-waste makeup removal method. There are many options to help reduce waste, using biodegradable makeup wipes would help but it would be best to use reusable makeup wipes or a reusable makeup removal cloth.
Plastics started being used in toothbrushes in the early 1930, given that these take 100s of years to decompose, every toothbrush that has ever been created still exists!
Each of us will use roughly 300 toothbrushes in our lifetime. Imagine that, for everyone on the planet. This problem will be amplified as developing nations emerge from poverty and start use plastic convenience goods to clean their teeth.
In the US alone, over 1 billion toothbrushes are disposed of each year, that is equal to over 22,000 tons of plastic. If you laid out them out they would wrap around the Earth four times!
Bamboo is 99% biodegradable and is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet.
Cotton swabs are another example of single use plastics that we have grown accustomed to. Scotland has taken the first steps and plans to ban these, claiming that they have cleared more than 150,000 plastic cotton bud sticks from beaches in Scotland over the past quarter of a century.
Eco Friendly Gadgets for Travelling
We don’t need to explain how toxic batteries are! Use renewal energy products where possible or use landfill friendly batteries (these are still single use disposables though, not ideal!).
Not only has this thing come in handy when I have had no access to the mains, it also makes use of renewable energy. It does take a little longer to charge things so be patient.
Tip: Combine this with a powerful battery pack so you can store the energy to use later.
Eco Friendly Travel Accessories
A study from Science Advances suggests that 8.3 billion plastic straws litter our beaches.
To put the plastic bottle problem into perspective, it is estimated that a million plastic beverage bottles were purchased each minute in 2017 and this number is only increasing.
We throw away billions of utensils every year, and many of them end up in the environment, taking hundreds of years to break down. The bring your own cutlery movement could make a dent.
Here’s a really cool tool that we found helpful to have – Spork knife
So, think twice next time you take a plastic bag or use any other kind of single use plastics. This is even more important when you are travelling in the developing world, in the US it is estimated that 30% of plastic bottles are recycled where as in Norway they recycle 97%.
Using eco friendly travel products is only a step in the right direction as much of the other goods we consume account for much more of the waste.
If you have any more ideas on sustainable travel products, please leave a comment and we will do our best to update this list.