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15 Innovative Items For A Zero Waste Travel Lifestyle

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By Katie Foote & Daniela Frendo, Epicure & Culture Contributors. This post on zero waste travel essentials contains affiliate links to trusted partners.

If you’ve been considering zero waste travel, or even if you haven’t, these statistics will move you toward a cleaner lifestyle.

For instance:

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, of all the waste produced in 2017, only 8.4% of it actually got recycled.

Moreover, according to a 2018 The Los Angeles Times article, over half a billion plastic straws are used every day around the world.

Travel can actually lead to an increase in generating waste, as the tendency to grab a coffee on the go, buy take-out or use plastic cups and napkins on airplanes increases.

Additionally, many people visiting developing countries rely on purchased water, leading to significant plastic waste.

Travelers can easily produce dozens of single-use, convenience trash items per day.

But, there is good news:

You can reduce your contributions to the global landfill with a conscious effort and the right supplies.

Several innovative, eco-minded companies help ease the transition by offering reusable containers, products with compostable or reusable packaging—or no packaging at all.

If you’re a traveler interested in eliminating single-use plastics or minimizing unnecessary waste, here are some great products to ease the transition into a waste-free lifestyle.

1) Lounge By The Pool In Fashionable and Sustainable Swimwear

Love wearing unique swimwear?

Wolven Thread has a colorful collection of one-piece swimsuits.

Not only are these pieces elegant and innovative, but they’re also made from sustainable fabrics, including recycled bottles.

Bonus:

Use code “EPCIUREANDCULTURE” for 20% off your purchase!

zero waste travel
Zoetica’s Explorer Pack. Photo courtesy of Zoetica.

2) Have Waste Free Travel Picnics

If you want to dive into zero waste travel, The Explorer Backpack by Zoetica Zero Waste Systems should be added to your waste-free shopping list.

The pack has everything you need to get started on your journey to say no to convenience trash.

Here’s why:

It includes a double-walled coffee/beverage cup, double-walled bottle/thermos, folded shopping tote, nested tiffin/to-go container set, produce bag, metal straw, stainless cutlery (spoon and fork), and an organic cotton napkin.

Your next picnic just got an eco-upgrade!

responsible tourism checklist

3) Get Some Proper Sleep With Bamboo Travel Pillows

Love traveling with a comfy pillow?

This amazing sleep travel kit by Ettitude is not only super soft, but it’s also made from organic bamboo lyocell fabric. The material is sustainably harvested, renewable, and biodegradable.

The kit includes an eye mask, an eye pillow with removable lavender and wheat inserts, and a pillowcase.

The items are packed in a reusable drawstring bag, without any plastic packaging. 

zero waste travel
Zero Waste Daniel’s essentials + pouch. Photo courtesy of Zero Waste Daniel.

4) Give Your Fashion An Eco-Twist

Zero Waste Daniel has a variety of sustainable clothing made from recycled materials.

These include zero waste bags and pouches, as well as swimwear and activewear.

These pouches are sourced from USA fabric scraps and are completely handmade and unique; based on what’s available.

This leads to a big impact, as your zero waste shopping purchase reduces textile pollution and supports local artisans and sustainable fashion crafters in the United States.

Actually, Silverstein is on a mission to expand the zero waste movement — particularly in the fashion industry.

He even mentors aspiring designers, teaching zero waste design workshops and lectures at the Fashion Industry of Technology.

5) Brush Your Hair With Gorgeous, Non-Plastic Combs

Cheap, plastic combs and brushes tend to break easily and can also be rough on your hair.

Instead, make your hair look great for those amazing while contributing to less plastic waste by using healthier and more eco-friendly brushes and combs.

Well Earth Goods offer sturdy no-plastic hair products, including this amazing wood comb made from the neem tree in India and this elegant bamboo hairbrush.

zero waste travel
The Yellow Bird Shampoo Bar. Photo courtesy of Yellow Bird.

6) Primp With Conscious

Truth:

The world has a huge problem with plastic bottles, globally purchasing one million plastic bottles per minute.

Which is scary, since 91% of all plastic is not recycled.

One type of bottle most of us purchase on a regular basis is shampoo — which is why Yellow Bird crafted a shampoo bar offering an earth-conscious solution.

The base is perfect for campers, backpackers and really anyone who enjoys the minimalist lifestyle.

Since these handmade, chemical-free shampoo bars are solid, they can be easily transported in carry-on luggage through airports.

Now, scent is powerful. Switching time zones and early wake-up calls can lead you feeling zapped, though their peppermint bar can help put some pep in your step (get it?).

Additionally, they offer a grapefruit, rosemary and lavender scent, an incredible combination of calm and focus.

Bonus:

The boxes are 100% biodegradable and compostable. You can either carry the bar in the box once it is dried out or in your own reusable container.

responsible tourism checklist

7) Pack Healthy Snacks in Eco-Friendly Containers

One effective way to create less waste is to prepare your own snacks, rather than buying ready-made meals and salads that come in plastic containers.

More cafes and shops are reducing waste by introducing dispensers for snacks such as cereals, sweets, and nuts. Thus, it’s a great idea to always carry durable, food containers when traveling, such as this air-tight stainless steel container by Life Without Plastic.

zero waste travel
Hydro Flask’s 25-oz Wine Bottle in Mint. Photo courtesy of HydroFlask.

8) Sip Wine Without Wasting

Raise your hand if you hate broken glass, sweaty bottles, and lukewarm leftover wine?

Us, too.

Which is why wine-lovers will love Hydro Flask’s reusable 10 oz Wine Tumblers, perfect for get-togethers and on-the-go imbibing.

The Wine Bottle holds an entire bottle of wine and uses TempShield insulation to keep reds at room temperature and whites, rosés and sangrias perfectly chilled for 24 hours.

On the hand, their insulated Wine Tumbler complements the wine bottle perfectly. Each tumbler holds two standard pours in a stylish container for sipping, with an insulated press-in lid and a no-drip lip.

The pro-grade stainless steel containers won’t break, sweat, heat up in your hand or retain flavors.

As for the sustainable side of things, these eco-friendly products are 100% recyclable as well as BPA and Phthalate-free.

Love goods that give back?

Each purchase contributes to their charitable grant program Parks For All, supporting the development, maintenance and accessibility of American public green spaces.

zero waste travel
Wine-themed cloths. Photo courtesy of Soak It Up Cloths.

9) Save Money — And Waste — With Paper Towel Alternatives

One thing you’ll need to give up to be a zero waste traveler:

Disposable towels.

Which is where Soak it Up Cloths comes in.

Made from 100% natural, reusable and biodegradable sponge cloth, they serve as the perfect replacement — especially as one cloth can save you at least 15 paper towels.

These towels clean up faces, hands, and unwanted spills, and dry fast so bacteria doesn’t have time to grow. Plus, they can be quickly disinfected in the microwave, dishwasher, or in boiling water.

For homemade, chemical-free wet wipes on the go, you can wet the towels and add your favorite lotion, oils, or vinegar then put in a reusable bag.

You can also cut used cloths into strips, and add vinegar and essential oil to transform them into lint-free dryer sheets.

10) Have A Plastic-Free Morning Routine

If you’re looking for travel gear and essentials for your morning routine, there are many amazing zero-waste options.

For instance, Petit Vour has a range of cute, deodorant products that come in biodegradable products, like this Lavender Bergamot Deodorant Stick.

They also have some beautiful zero-waste make-up products, including lip & cheek tint balm and beautiful eye shadow palettes made from organic ingredients, like this Rose Quartz Crystal Gemstone Palette.

waste free travel
Last Straw Initiative. Photo courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village resort.

11) So No To The Straw (And Save Wildlife)

According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, 500 million straws are thrown out every single day in the United States.

Not only do straws clog landfills, but they can be dangerous for wildlife.

Due to their small size, wildlife can mistake straws as food, and the stable shape means it can be incredibly dangerous to their digestion. You might have seen videos of sea turtles with straws up their nose or penguins with a straw puncturing their stomach.

For a solution, this portable bamboo cutlery set feature reusable cutlery, chopsticks, straws, and cleaning brushes, while these reusable straws are foldable and come with a case and cleaning brush.

Resorts are also starting to take notice of the danger of plastic straws.

Even if you don’t use straws enough to buy your own kit, you can support organizations that no longer offer to use plastic straws.

For example, in 2017 the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort used more than 800,000 straws while serving more than 1 million guests. Last month, they became the first resort on Hawaii Island to no longer offer plastic straws and they only offer FDA-approved, GMO, and BPA-free compostable paper straws across the 1,241-room resort.

Other resorts and restaurants are starting to offer paper straws as a plastic-free travel option.

Even if you do stay at a property that still offers plastic straws, remember that you always have the option to #SayNoToTheStraw.

responsible tourism checklist

12) Use Comfier & Plastic-Free Sanitary Products

Thanks to plastic-free alternatives to sanitary pads and tampons, you can now travel more confidently and comfortably during your time of the month.

Menstrual cups are becoming quite popular. Not only are these products more comfortable, but they’re also reusable and therefore more eco-friendly than single-use menstrual products.

The Saalt Silicone Menstrual Cup is made from medical-grade silicone that is BPA free and chemical-free. It offers 12 hours of protection (day or night!), so it’s perfect to wear for long trips, especially when traveling in places where bathrooms are few and far between.

Not keen on menstrual cups?

Check out these reusable organic menstrual pads, which are made from organic cotton without any traces of plastic. They’re also absorbent and very easy to wash.

zero waste travel

13) Help Save The Rainforest With Minimalist Toiletries

NaturaBrasil has created a travel size set of eco-conscious hair products with social benefits.

If you’re a carry-on only traveler, most of their Chronos Skincare line is below the 3.4-ounce, 100-milliliter TSA limit so it can be carried on planes.

For some zero waste beauty, the containers are accompanied by eco-conscious skin treatment refills, encouraging customers to reduce beauty waste by buying the initial jar and only using refill pods moving forward.

All of Natura’s packaging is made of 100% post-consumer recycled materials or green plastic sourced from sugarcane ethanol.

Their NaturaBrasil products are cruelty-free, and no biodiversity — as in, plants, animals, or humans — are harmed or displaced in the process of making these minimalist toiletries.

Here’s a moving stat for zero waste travel enthusiasts:

Through their donations, NaturaBrasil has saved nearly 635,000 acres of Amazon rainforest and counting.

14) Keep Your Teeth Clean And Healthy With Natural Products

Want a healthier and more eco-friendly alternative to toothpaste?

Ditch those tubes for organic and natural products, including natural toothpaste tablets and powder, and natural mouthwash tablets.

Buying these great alternatives to traditional toothpaste also means you won’t have to worry about restrictions on liquids when traveling.

What’s more, these natural, cruelty-free products by georganics come in reusable and refillable glass jars, so you’ll be contributing to less plastic waste when while looking after your teeth.

Aquamarine Sea Turtle Tote. Photo courtesy of Sea Bags.
Aquamarine Sea Turtle Tote. Photo courtesy of Sea Bags.

15) Snag Functional Fashion That Also Reduces Waste

Sea Bags turns used sailcloth into a variety of bags — like totes, handbags, wine bags, and bucket bags — saving over 600 tons of material from the landfill thus far.

Zero waste travelers will love their special travel collection, featuring trendy unisex designs with simple patterns.

A few of our favorites include their Large Navy Anchor Tote and Blue Lobster Print Tote.

To celebrate Earth Day, the company donated 20% of their Sea Bags and Chart Metalworks Sea Turtle product sales from April 20-30th to the Sea Turtle Conservancy.

The Aquamarine Sea Turtle Tote shown here was designed to commemorate the amazing journey of baby sea turtles migrating from their nest and towards the sea.

Even though they cover a short distance, it’s the start of a new, challenging aquatic life.

This original print was designed as a reminder to stay strong and work towards your goals, against all odds.

Sea Bags’ sister company, Chart Metalworks, will also be a part of this campaign by offering a Rope Bracelet with a Sea Turtle Charm that pairs perfectly with the tote.

Additionally, travelers will love their Rose Compass “You Keep Me On Course” Necklace.

responsible tourism checklist

What steps have you taken to get closer to a zero waste travel lifestyle? Please share in the comments below! 

Liked this post on zero waste travel? Pin it for later!

Further Exploration:

5 Environmentally Sensitive Areas Tourists Shouldn’t Visit [Blog Inspiration]

Take A Trip With BookYogaRetreats [Travel With Purpose]

Clever Travel Companion Pickpocket-Proof Garments [Travel Safety]

Katie Foote

Katie Foote may be a physicist by trade but she spent several years travelling the world as much as possible. After four years of semi-nomadic life, she spent a couple years in Auckland, New Zealand and recently moved to Vancouver, Canada. Despite living more traditionally, she has insight on how to travel the world on a graduate student budget (cheap!), explore off-the-beaten-path destinations and authentically experiencing new places by connecting to locals. When she's not doing physics or globe-trotting, she likes kickboxing, yoga and exploring her extraordinary new backyard of British Columbia.

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