10 Essential Eco-Friendly Travel Products & Accessories for your next trip

Tourists and travellers are enjoying trips more and mores

Tourists and travellers are enjoying trips more and mores

Waste Not on Your Travels

Whether you are travelling for business, on vacation, or simply out for a weekend day-trip down to the beach or the country side, the act of travelling itself can bring with it moments of inspiration, serenity, and fulfilment.

No single person ever has the same feeling as another, yet it is possible to share some of the most special times of one’s life together when embarking on a trip - a trip that could potentially change the course of one’s life.

This, arguably, is one of the reasons why we’re all experiencing a growing addiction to travelling, why there were a total of 1.4 billion international tourist arrivals around the world in 2018. Many people are falling victims to the travel bug, coming out more and more to explore the world and to experience different people, different cultures, and even different foods, climates, or sporting activities.

“there was a total of 1.4 billion international tourist arrivals around the world in 2018”

While this enlightening experience can both educate and relax individuals who partake on these adventures, the recent boom in tourism has also been adding to an already-prevalent strain on the world – waste.

Many of the world’s most beautiful and exhilarating spots are already paying a very heavy price due to an immense amount of littering, our cultural addiction to single-use plastics, and inadequate recycling or environmentally friendly waste-disposal systems in place. An example of this is illustrated in a report produced by the WWF in 2018 which showed that more than 200 million tourists had visited the Mediterranean every summer in recent years, and that these massive numbers had brought about an incredible 40% increase in marine litter to the area.

It is becoming abundantly clear that the problem is rapidly reaching tipping point, and it’s time we seriously start considering how we can go about minimising the waste we generate every time we go on vacation by focusing on sustainable tourism and zero waste.

We’ve put together a list of essential eco-friendly travel products and accessories so that your next trip can be environmentally friendly and as waste-free as it can be.

1.  Reusable Water Bottles

Millions of plastic bottles wash up on coasts all over the world

Millions of plastic bottles wash up on coasts all over the world

Millions of water bottles pile up in landfills and wash up on beaches all over the world every year, damaging local landscapes and putting an immense strain on global pollution as a whole. Add to this the very basic fact that tourists end up spending a lot of their hard-earned money on purchasing disposable water bottles while travelling, and you’ve got a very unpleasant result for the environment, as well as for your wallet.

The solution is a plain and simple one; save money and the environment by getting a good quality BPA-free, stainless steel, or glass water bottle. Your very own water bottle saves you in so many ways, while openly showing the world that you care for the world around you.

2.  Bamboo Utensils

Using eco-friendly utensils can seriously help to save the environment

Using eco-friendly utensils can seriously help to save the environment

Skip the single-use plastic utensils with a set of bamboo utensils for your next vacation. These are reusable, super lightweight, and heat resistant. Whether you’re on a backpacking adventure or on a fancy tropical trip, these eco-friendly utensils will always come in handy.

3.  Solar Phone Charger

Solar powered chargers are a great option to keep you powered on-the-go

Solar powered chargers are a great option to keep you powered on-the-go

Yes! The technology does exist!

Solar chargers make sure you always have enough power to charge your phone and other gadgets without the need to run around hunting for the awkwardly located wall sockets at your lodgings. Many are already choosing the environmentally friendly charging method as it eliminates major hassles for travellers while reducing carbon footprints. That’s because these chargers run on our most renewable of energy sources; the sun! Just a few hours of daylight can power your devices for hours.

According to multiple sources, charging your phone can use anywhere from two to seven kilowatt hours a year. Depending on your energy company, each kWh from the grid creates up to 1.63 pounds of CO2 (according to BlueSkyModel), so if you’re using 7 kWh a year just for your smartphone, that’s 11.41 lbs of CO2 for a single smartphone. If all two billion smartphone users worldwide made this switch to solar, we’d decrease man-made CO2 emissions by 10 million tonnes annually.

4.  Organic Sunscreen

Organic sunscreen will not hurt marine life

Organic sunscreen will not hurt marine life

Sunscreen is a necessity for many tourists who are not used to excessive exposure to the sun. But many tourists are simply unaware of the environmental impact sunscreen has on marine life.

Sun protection products are jam-packed with chemicals that pollute the waters and destroy the coral and marine life every time we go for a swim. One way to combat this is to switch to a raw organic sunscreen that’s mineral-based and eco-friendly. A lot of these come in plastic-free, recyclable packaging which is even better!

5. Shampoo Bars

There are plenty of environmentally-friendly shampoo products out there

There are plenty of environmentally-friendly shampoo products out there

Say no to all those fancy travel sized hygiene products packed in plastic bottles and opt for greener alternatives. Eco-friendly hair products like shampoo and conditioner bars are less harsh on your hair and great for the environment, ticking two boxes at the same time!

Eco-friendly brands have not only come up with a host of environmentally-friendly shampoo bars, but also a wide range of other toiletries like creams, perfumes, and even toothpastes.

6. Organic Bags for Shopping

Wherever you go, take a reusable shopping bag with you

Wherever you go, take a reusable shopping bag with you

 Regardless of the length and destination of your trip, you will probably need to head out to the local markets do some grocery shopping. Moreover, some travellers love to shop while they move from one city to another.

You don’t have to use paper or plastic bags every time you shop. Instead, get a few organic shopping bags that are made of cloth, jute, or drawstring. These are stretchy, durable, lightweight and great at minimising waste or packing out landfills once you’ve discarded them.

7. Portable Washing Bags

Finding somewhere to do your laundry can sometimes be a challenge, and many places will use a great amount of electricity to power the washing machines needed to clean your clothes.

Make your trip a more environmentally-friendly one by using portable washing bags that make laundry absolutely hassle-free. All you need to do is place your dirty clothes into one of these bags, add some water and a little detergent and rub!

Along with all the electricity you’ll be saving, you’ll also cut down on the water used to scrub down your clothes. Use organic detergent that’s free from harmful chemicals to further reduce the negative impact on the environment.

8. Solar Lamps or Torches

If you’re going on a mountain hike or planning a little bit of forest camping, you’ll certainly be needing some light sources. Instead of using ordinary battery operated torches or lamps, invest in a good solar-powered device, or a device that can be charged on a solar charging pack. There are many on the market today that last longer than conventional battery-powered torches, and you won’t have to be scratching around for non-environmentally-friendly batteries.

9. Beeswax Wraps

If you enjoy a good packed lunch during your travels, beeswax wraps are a must-have item. As well as eliminating the need for cling-film to wrap your sandwiches, these wraps are long lasting (usually up to a year) and can be easily washed using dish soap.

10. Portable Water Purifiers

If you’re an avid world-traveller, you may very well find yourself in places where the local water isn’t suitable for drinking. But this doesn’t mean that you need to keep buying water in plastic bottles. As aforementioned, plastic bottles are one of the greatest threats to our environment.

Instead, invest in a portable water purifier that treats water there and then. There are a number of options available including filter-equipped bottles, UV light devices, and water purifying tablets.

About the Author

Silvia Pelham is the (e)co-founder of Five-Leaf System, regular blog writer for the company, and an architect with a PhD in environmental retrofitting of existing buildings. Residing and working in Portugal for over 40 years, Silvia became increasingly aware of the importance of environmental issues in the world, starting up Five-Leaf System as a result.