Shrink your carbon footprint with these recycled, reusable, or compostable products
Being sustainability-minded while traveling isn’t always easy. The dirty truth is that travel itself produces a huge carbon footprint, and not all destinations are eco-friendly. But a little foresight can help travelers make a difference no matter where they are. Environmentally-conscious products like these eight pieces of gear enable us to take sustainable action before we even venture out on our next trips.
LunchSkins recyclable paper quart bags redefine the way you sustainably pack your midflight snacks. One hundred percent recyclable (and compostable, when practical), the bags are made from natural wood pulp that has been ground and pressed to form a naturally grease-resistant barrier. They’re plastic- and BPA-free and devoid of toxic chemicals and waxes. The bags are resealable, too, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally dislodging your peanut butter sandwich as you scramble through airport security lines.
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This year, corporate bans of single-use plastic straws have gained momentum; Seattle became the first major city to ban them, and American Airlines vowed to replace them with biodegradable alternatives.
Eco-conscious travelers can reduce their plastic use with KoffieStraws, FDA-approved silicone straws. They’re reusable, washable, and safe under high temperatures (unlike plastic, which can leach toxins into your beverage). Their flat design makes them slide easily into to-go cups and they’re malleable enough to tuck into a purse or carry-on. Silicone ash is biodegradable and compostable, too, so if you need to dispose of them, the company encourages users to burn the straws instead of throwing them away.
Made of Cordura fabric, these Matador’s reusable travel bottles are five times lighter and nearly four times more compact than their silicone counterparts because the container size adapts to content volume. TSA-approved and waterproof, the bottles can be filled with liquid soap, gels, shampoo, toothpaste, and more.
The soap bar case is easy to use and also TSA-approved. It’s also leakproof: the material allows a damp bar to dry without spilling soapy liquid in your suitcase. Plus, it’s long-lasting, so you can use it again and again.
Mother’s Vault Mao Bamboo Toothbrush
Bamboo brushes benefit human health as well as the environment: The Mao Bamboo Toothbrush from Mother’s Vault is a natural alternative to the carcinogenic plastic-handled brushes that dominate the industry and ultimately end up polluting oceans or in landfills. The handle of the toothbrush is made entirely of bamboo and the bristles are BPA-free nylon. If you pull out the bristles after use, the handle can be recycled or composted.
Mother’s Vault is deeply committed to the environment. All the company’s packaging and materials are compostable, and a portion of every sale is donated to EarthJustice, a nonprofit environmental law organization.
Nomadix towels are made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. Its fast-drying travel towel is a multi-purpose solution to any traveler’s towel needs—shower, beach, yoga, camping. Purchases help fund the brand’s beach cleanup initiative, Bare Coast, which organizes coastal community groups to comb shorelines collecting plastic waste.
Reusable, heavy-duty Florious Packing Cubes are made from recycled water bottles. Available in packs of three, they help keep your bag organized and can also be used in the place of plastic bags to conveniently separate dirty clothes from other items in your suitcase. A mesh top allows you to see what’s in each cube during quick repack sessions.
Pela Compostable Phone Case
Last year, approximately 1.5 billion smartphones were sold around the world. That means an alarming number of plastic phone cases exist, too—and eventually end up in landfills.
Pela designers have one solution: the world’s first 100 percent compostable phone case. When you no longer need it, the Pela Case will biodegrade in an industrial compost facility or even a backyard composter (but conveniently, not in your pocket or purse). Free of nasty compounds found in plastics, the cases are made of Flaxstic, a mix of flax straw materials and a compostable substance called bioplastic elastomer. Pela also donates to environmental initiatives after each sale.
Globally, 1 million plastic bottles are bought each minute, and approximately less than half are recycled. Eco-minded companies have rallied to create reusable alternatives, like the Welly Insulated Bamboo Bottle. The company produces bottles from premium food-grade stainless steel and sustainably-harvested bamboo, with BPA-free plastic and silicone under the cap.
Additionally, Welly sells bamboo filters, which naturally absorb chlorine and heavy metals like lead, drawing them out of your tap water, and optional infusers that let travelers brew coffee or loose-leaf tea on the move.
The company also donates thousands of dollars annually to building clean-water wells in undeveloped countries through the nonprofit charity: water.