I never even used to think about my environmental foot print. I would check into a hotel room, open up the plastic-wrapped plastic glass and fill it from the plastic water bottle in the mini bar. Throughout my stay I would use the plastic-wrapped ice bucket, the plastic stir stick, plastic toothbrush and the plastic shampoo and body wash bottles. All of these would end up in the garbage. It’s actually brutal once I realized just how much waste I created in one night at a hotel. Now multiply that by an estimated billion people that stay in hotels annually.
I was guilty of NOT being a responsible traveler. It wasn’t until I started seeing photos like the one below circulating on social media that I ever gave it a second thought. Once I realized that I was part of the problem, I decided to do something about it. I realized I could drastically reduce my environmental travel footprint just by changing a few things in my bag! You can be part of the solution by learning how to build your own sustainable travel kit. Be sure to share this article as we work together to help reduce single use plastics and waste created by the travel community.
How To Build Your Own Sustainable Travel Kit
Building your own sustainable travel kit is fun and feels great knowing you are helping to protect the environment. Here are some affordable and light weight items we added to our own eco-friendly travel kit!
Each year over 50 billion plastic water bottles are consumed. Only 20% of them end up being recycled while the other 80% end up in our landfills and oceans. By using a refillable water bottle you can help reduce your single use plastic consumption. Baiji Bottle came up with a lightweight and collapsible water bottle that is perfect for traveling!
Plastic straws can take up to 200 years to decompose and can’t be recycled in most places. Americans use over 390 millions plastic straws every single day. Unfortunately plastic straws are also one of the most littered items resulting in the 11th most found ocean trash. Reduce your ecological travel footprint with Buluh Straws. They are made from 100% organic bamboo, reusable and completely biodegradable.
We’ve all heard that plastic bags are awful for the environment. What you may not know is that 5 TRILLION plastic bags are produced yearly. Side by side they can circle the world 7 times. Only 3% of plastic bags are recycled and they take up to a 1000 years to degrade. Once it does start to degrade, it will only break down into smaller toxic bits of itself that bleed contaminates into the environment. You can easily stop contributing to this madness by adding a reusable shopping bag to your sustainable travel kit. BeeGreen has affordable lightweight and compact shopping bags perfect for traveling!
Half a trillion disposable cups are manufactured every year. That is enough for 70 disposable cups for every person on the planet. Composting and recycling of paper cups is extremely rare as they contain 5% polyurethane plastic. We used to use a paper coffee cup every morning when we left our hotel. Now we use our Yeti insulated stainless steel reusable mugs. They are lightweight and don’t take up much room in our bags. You can also stuff things inside the mug to maximize space when packing.
99% of all toothbrushes in the world are made from plastic. The plastic used in making these brushes is the type that can’t be recycled and will never break down. These plastic toothbrushes end up in either landfills or the ocean. We recently switched to WOWE bamboo toothbrushes which are natural and biodegradable. As a bonus they are infused with charcoal for whiter teeth!
Plastic cutlery uses the worse type of plastic. It’s the kind that can’t be recycled and does not break down. Unfortunately, giving the responsibility to restaurants and cafes to make the change to compostable cutlery isn’t going to happen anytime soon. The cost of these one time use compostable utensils is 5 times the price of plastic cutlery. We need to make the change ourselves first and it doesn’t cost us much to help save the environment. We picked up a set of these bamboo cutlery for only $12 each and we can use them over and over. To-Go Ware makes great bamboo reusable cutlery that is perfect for travelers looking to reduce their environment footprint.
What ever happened to soap bars? We stopped using them as companies figured out a way to squeeze more money from us. Body wash gets used up faster and costs more. Not only is it hurting our pocket books but it’s also hurting the environment. Body wash, shampoo and conditioner bottles are all made from plastic and are rarely recycled. I bet you didn’t know that you could get shampoo in bar form too! My wife Kashlee tried Sun Kissed shampoo bar and was happy with the quality on a short trip. You may have noticed these do come in plastic containers. These are meant to store your soap bars and be reused after for other small items you pack. For bar body soap we chose the natural and organic Crate 61.
Helping reduce your environmental impact while traveling doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Start small and pick one single use plastic item you want to eliminate. If every traveler did that, imagine the difference it could make. It all starts with the attitude that we can make a difference. If you have tips or suggestions on more items we can add to our sustainable travel kit, let us know by commenting below!