This Earth Day is a unique one as we are amid one of the most significant pandemics and global quarantines the world has ever faced. Times are scary and uncertain as this terrane has yet to be traversed. If you turn on the news, it is easy to let your anxiety and fear run rampant. But amongst the bad is a lot of good. All around the world, humans are slowing down from the rapid-paced lives we are accustomed to. We are using the internet as it was originally intended, for connection and unity. And above all, these stay at home measures have given Mother Nature time to breathe. We see less pollution, meaning clearer skies and better air quality. Animals roam freely in their habitats, undisturbed by human onlookers. This year on Earth Day, we will not be piling into the national parks, crowding the beaches, and although that is sad for us, it is a blessing for the delicate nature which surrounds us. Travel is more than just a passion of mine. It has become something imbedded and ingrained in the fabric of my soul. I feel a great sense of urgency to see as much of this magnificent orb as possible, but realize that preserving is a vital part of the capability to witness Mother Nature in all her glory. While traveling (and at home for that matter), I try my best to make environmentally conscious decisions. I buy products and take transportation that helps me lessen my ecological footprint. For Earth Day, I thought it would be fun to curate a list of my favorite eco-conscious products that help me keep my waste production low while on the road.
1. Lifestraw Bottle
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. This bottle is the BEST travel companion. Buying water bottles is one of the biggest producers of single-use plastic, and now you can say goodbye to that - regardless of your destination. The built-in two-stage water filter will clean tap water through the straw as you drink. Unlike some other means of filtration, this means instantaneous potable water. I used this bottle all through South America and cannot wait to take it on the road again! Shop here.
2. Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
It is time to say goodbye to those tiny hotel shampoos and conditioners and say hello to shampoo bars. (I mean, can ANYONE make those last more than a couple of washings anyway?!) Solid shampoo and conditioner bars are entirely plastic-free and last a heck of a lot longer than travel-sized liquid shampoo. If you are traveling within or from the US, these solid toiletries will help you pass the TSA fluid restrictions. Another advantage- your shampoo will never spill all over your clothes again! There are many options as far as companies producing these shampoo and conditioner bars. I have used Lush shampoo bars in the past and will give Ethique a go next.
Not sure which scent/style is the right one for your hair? Try this awesome sample pack to test out the different products before committing to a whole bar.
3. Foldable Bag
The amount of single-use plastic bags is shocking, and the impact is all around us. I have been diving the depths of the ocean and witnessed a plastic bag float by. I was sandboarding down the remote dunes of Huacachina, Peru, and saw what I thought was a tumbleweed, but it was a plastic bag. Depressing. These foldable bags are PERFECT for traveling. They take up no room, so you can throw it in your purse or daypack when you go out to the market to buy all the delicious fresh produce. I have used them as beach bags to throw my sarong and book in so I wouldn’t get my backpack sandy. They’re washable, whippable, and even waterproof. Can your plastic bag do that?!
Here is an inexpensive five-pack, leave a couple in your car, your home, and your luggage!
4. Dr. Bronner's Soap
THIS STUFF DOES IT ALL. I’ve used it to wash clothes, clean my body, and yes- even in desperate times, brush my teeth. The soap is made with all-natural ingredients and is by far my favorite soap I’ve ever used. My go-to scents are lavender and peppermint. Give them a try with these travel-size pack. Or better yet, grab a large bottle and fill your refillable travel containers (like the next item on the list).
5. Spill-Proof Containers
Another way to avoid generating single-use plastic is to replace your one-time (albeit cute) travel-size toiletries by switching to reusable containers like these. Another advantage, these refillable containers are spill-proof and are less likely to spill whatever precious contents are inside. There’s nothing worse than opening up your bag after a long travel day to find your last bit of lotion has spilled all over your clean clothes. Shop here.
6. Zip Pouches
I used to use good ‘ol ziplock bags for everything. To put my toiletries in, organize my electronics and cords, and even for my clothes. And as unbiodegradable and tough plastic is ziplocks break after a lot of use (or if you try to shove way too much into them- they split :) experience talkin’ here). Then I found these babies. They will last you a heck of a lot longer, they are more durable, and they are still wipable and clear so you can easily access whatever is inside. Shop here.
7. Set of Utensils and Straw
We can all agree that one of THE best aspects of traveling is the FOOD. (Duh.) These sets of bamboo cutlery and stainless steel straws make for the perfect companion. The set is compact, easy to throw in your day bag and carry with you. Sip your cocktail without producing waste. Sit in the bustling market and enjoy the delicious local cuisine, without the flimsy plastic fork. Shop the set.
8. Reusable make up remover pads
LADIES, these have to be one of my favorite items on the list. Say goodbye to those plastic-covered single-use makeup wipes. These reusable face pads are made from bamboo and cotton, two excellent materials for sensitive skin like mine. The pads are dual-sided, one terry-cloth-like fabric, and the other side is super soft, perfect to use around your eyes. I have tried multiple kinds of reusable makeup remover pads, and these are, by far, my favorite. Though I don’t wear much makeup while traveling, these are great to wash your face with, apply toner, or what have you. The best thing is they come with a zip pouch so you can throw them in the wash with your other items. OR even hand wash them with your nifty Dr. Bronners soap! Shop here.
To remove my makeup and cleanse my face, I use the Bioderma micelle solution.
9. Menstrual Cup
Okay, I have to admit that I have never used one. But I have a ton of friends (whom I love, and would trust their opinions with my life) that use it and love it. Especially if you’re traveling for an extended time, save yourself from bringing 2,034,778 tampons (frequently a hard item to find in some counties) and do yourself and the world a favor with a cup! Shop now.
10. Bamboo Toothbrush Plastic handled toothbrushes are SO out of style. Over a billion toothbrushes are discarded every year in the United States ALONE. Make the switch from plastic to bamboo to ensure you’re using a biodegradable option, like these.
There you have it! Those are some of my favorite products for “going green” while going far. It can become overwhelming at times to try to understand how to help the world around us. The more people who choose to make small changes like switching to products that help cut down consumption and waste production, the more significant results we will see. Happy Earth Day, and may we value Mother Nature today and every day.
BONUS ECO TIPS:
I realize the irony of suggesting to buy eco-friendly products on Amazon, a notable polluter, and waste-producer. But I have some suggestions to help keep your waste to a minimum. First, consolidate your orders. Wait until you have several items in your basket to hit purchase. If you have Prime, you have the option to select an “Amazon Day,” where you can choose a day of the week to get all your orders delivered. Scheduling a day helps minimize unnecessary boxes and deliveries for your ONE item.
In addition to your Amazon Day, be sure to take advantage of Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging program, intended to significantly reduce the amount of cardboard and plastic used to ship items. Your order will be sent in 100% recyclable materials. Read more about the program here.
You can also use Amazon Warehouse, purchasing high-quality used or returned products. You can give a second life to an item and save these products from being thrown into the landfill. Shop Amazon Warehouse here.
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Disclaimer: if you chose to buy any of these items through the links provided, I do get a minor percentage back. Helping me to continue my travel dreams and helping you to find just the right items to make yours the perfect adventure.