Being sustainability-minded while traveling isn’t always easy, but a little foresight can help travelers make a difference no matter where they are. Environmentally-conscious products like these eight travel accessories enable us to take ecofriendly action before we even venture out on our next trips.
1. Welly Traveler Bamboo Water Bottle
Globally, 1 million plastic bottles are bought each minute, and approximately less than half are recycled. Ecominded companies have rallied to create reusable alternatives, like the 18-ounce Welly Traveler. The company produces reusable water bottles from premium food-grade stainless steel and sustainably-harvested bamboo, with BPA-free plastic and silicone under the cap. The company also donates 1 percent of sales annually to building clean-water wells in undeveloped countries through the nonprofit charity: water.
2. Koffie Straws
In recent years, single-use plastic bans have been enforced by a growing number of hotel companies, major airlines, and even entire governments. Ecoconscious travelers can take reducing plastic usage into their own hands by opting for the FDA-approved KoffieStraws. The silicone straws are 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.
3. LunchSkins Paper Bags
Buy now: $4 for 50 bags, amazon.com
Skip the plastic baggies and start packing your midflight snacks in LunchSkins bags. Made from natural wood pulp that has been ground and pressed to form a naturally grease-resistant barrier, the 100 percent recyclable bags are plastic- and BPA-free and devoid of toxic chemicals and waxes. They’re resealable, too, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally dislodging your peanut butter sandwich as you scramble through airport security lines.
4. Cadence Capsules
Buy now: from $14, keepyourcadence.com
Made from recycled ocean-bound plastic, these capsules from AAPI-owned brand Cadence eliminate the need to buy miniatures of your favorite travel toiletries. Simply dispense up to 0.56 ounces of your favorite face wash, moisturizer, etc. into each capsule from the larger bottle you keep at home. They’re seriously leak-proof, too. Sold individually and in sets, each capsule magnetically attaches to the others so you can build a honeycomb of sorts.
5. By Humankind Bamboo Toothbrush
Buy now: $11, byhumankind.com
Bamboo brushes benefit human health as well as the environment: The toothbrush from By Humankind is a natural alternative to the 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 made from castor oil. If you pull out the bristles after use, the handle can be composted. By Humankind is deeply committed to the environment—all the company’s packaging comes without single-use plastic, and it offsets 100 percent of its carbon footprint.
6. Nomadix Original Towel
Buy now: $40, nomadix.com
Made from postconsumer recycled plastic bottles, these fast-drying, stylish travel towels are a multi-purpose solution to any traveler’s towel needs—shower, beach, yoga, camping. Plus, purchases help fund the brand’s beach cleanup initiative, Bare Coast, which organizes coastal community groups to comb shorelines collecting plastic waste. Nomadix also donates 1 percent of its sales (not just profits) to environmental causes via 1% for the Planet.
7. Paravel Packing Cube Quad
Buy now: $65 for 4 packing cubes, tourparavel.com
Reusable, stylish Paravel packing cubes are made from recycled water bottles. Available in a pack of four, they help keep your luggage organized and can also be used in the place of plastic bags to conveniently separate dirty clothes from other items in your suitcase. Their most practical feature? A clear panel allows you to see what’s in each cube during quick repack sessions.
8. Pela Compostable Phone Case
Buy now: $60, pelacase.com
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 a solution to this problem: 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. In addition to being a B Corp, Pela is also Climate Neutral Certified.
This article originally appeared online in September 2018; it was updated in October 2019, and again on April 22, 2022, to include current information.