I began looking for eco-friendly products while on the beaches of Greece surrounded by plastic waste. Then we traveled to truly remote destinations like Mozambique and Seychelles; however, the plastic followed us. While the tourists may have remained in Greece the plastic waste followed us. Now it’s all over the world. On every beach we visit, every mountain we climb, even in beautiful national parks it’s the same story – plastic everywhere.
I just read a beach quote recently and it stuck with me.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men will never gather up all the plastic and put the ocean back together again.”
— Charles Moore
We are all guilty of littering at some point, even if not intentionally. It’s time that we do something and care for Mother Earth that is letting us rent space and destroy her day by day. However, we don’t have to stand by and let the world go to crap, there are measures we can take to become environmentally friendly travelers starting with what we buy. Read on for a great list of eco-friendly products to help you go green on your travels. Most of these products are here to help reduce your waste and make simple purchase decisions.
What is the importance of Eco-Friendly products?
We’re destroying the earth and it’s something that can be prevented. We can all take small steps toward reducing our environmental footprint. Even as travelers we use a plethora of eco-friendly products that can make a huge difference. When it comes to taking green initiatives a great place to start is to reduce waste. It is said that by 2050 the amount of plastic in the ocean will outweigh the fish in the ocean – that statistic is shocking. We all need to replace simple items we use in our everyday lives with environmentally friendly products to have a large impact.
Did you know? According to the World Wildlife Fund
- 90% of the world’s seabirds have fragments of plastic in their stomach.
- Only 9% of plastics are recycled around the world.
- It will take hundreds of years for a single piece of plastic to decompose, and then it will turn into a dangerous microplastic.
- 80% of ocean plastic originates on land. Then it enters our ocean through rivers and streams.
The Best Eco-Friendly Products For Travel and Beyond
Reusable Bamboo Utensil
Starting off this list of eco-friendly products are my favorite reusable bamboo utensils. Plastic utensils are not only terrible for the environment, but they are terrible for you too! Did you know that only 6% of all plastic can be recycled in the US? That’s an awful number, and I feel that if more people knew that, they would cut back on their plastic consumption and strive to become more eco-friendly.
On top of that, most plastic silverware is made with BPA, a chemical that is absolutely terrible for your health (scientists have found links to cancer). The first step towards more sustainable lifestyles and travel is with reusable utensils. That’s why we were so excited when we found the To-Go Ware RePEaT Reusable Bamboo Utensil!
This silverware is heat resistant, small, and lightweight making it the perfect environmentally friendly travel accessory. These eco friendly utensils have saved us during those random times when we desperately need a spoon or fork to eat too.
Reusable Makeup Remover Pads
These makeup pads are a perfect go green biodegradable product and are ready to reuse over and over again. The set of 14 is made out of organic bamboo fibers and come with a high-quality small laundry bag to wash these. Save money over time by not buying cotton pads and save the environment!
GoToob Travel Bottle
Don’t lug around a full sized body wash container, put liquids in little travel bottles instead! GoToob bottles are made with durable silicon that are food safe and airplane carry-on approved. Of course, they are 100% BPA free and also a great eco friendly gift idea.
The GoToob is made by HumanGearwho make a wide range of reusable products. We love their eco-friendly product line for things like their FlexiBowl, GoBites, and GoTubbs. It’s all gear made to be reusable thus eliminating one use plastic products. It’s simple switches like this that can make a big impact on your environmental footprint.
As metioned I love Humangear products especially the GoTubb. When I first got these I had no clue what I would actually do with them and actually considered returning them. Six months later and the truth is I use these on every.single.trip. They are great to have for all those little things that you never know what to do with on travels. I’m talking things like bobby pins, earrings, keys, and now I store a few pairs of earbuds in them for the plane. Even if you don’t know what you need them for immediately I promise they are a great eco alternative to plastic bags.
Never ever pick up a plastic cup again with the GoCup. This thing is so perfect for traveling, hiking, and on a long haul flight. It’s compact, made from FDA food grade silicone, and a fitted lid with an integrated pill container should you need medication.
Reusable Coffee Cup Cover
We have a few of these because we absolutely love coffee and tea. Although we make a lot of our own coffee we do have the occasional $5 cappuccino. This escalates when we travel and we usually have a cup of coffee a day. I hate those plastic lids given out and this is the best alternative to a wasteful plastic lid. Plus I love drinking off the silicone top.
Hydroflask Insulated Tumbler
Speaking of coffee lids, did you know that most of those coffee cups we grab from Starbucks every day are not recyclable? I actually just learned this and it blew my mind that the UK alone throws out 2.5 billion of them a year. Of course, I’m not saying to give up your coffee, but why not completely switch to a reusable coffee to go tumbler? We just got this last year and have traveled the world with it ever since. Yes, I’m serious.
The Hydroflask coffee tumbler was the first travel coffee thermos we ever invested in. It’s one of the best-insulated coffee mugs out there and continues to remain our favorite that we have in the cupboard. Not just because we absolutely love Hydroflask products but because they come in so many fun colors, have vacuum insulated stainless steel, and the lid can be interchangeable so that you can have it with coffee or with a reusable straw for iced coffee or other cold drinks.
The tumbler comes in both 22 and 32 ounce sizes, and in our opinion the 22 is perfect for travels and packing up the tumbler in your suitcase.
Bamboo Drinking Straw
I once saw this video and broke down in tears. Marine life everywhere is threatened because of our plastic consumption. It pains me that the are paying the price for our greed and need to be completely comfortable. For some reason every bartender, barista, and restaurant thinks that we need a plastic straw for our drinks. Seriously, next time you go out to eat really question if you need that straw. Most people do not need a straw and I think they should be done away with all together except for those in medical need.
The reality is that we use these little things once and then they go right into the landfill. That’s where these bamboo drinking straws can come to the rescue. They are reusable and look cute in any drink – talk about a cool eco-friendly product! They are also hand crafted by artisans in Bali using rare Bali mountain bamboo. Bonus! Drink in style while knowing you are supporting a small business.
This is another straw alternative that easily fits in your purse or pocket while traveling. Essentially this straw is collapsible and has a small carrying case. You can travel with it everywhere and then never have to take a plastic straw with your iced coffee. The Final Straw is so awesome Time even ranked it as one of the ’10 Smartest Sustainable Products of 2018.’
This is not only a good eco friendly product for travel, but also a perfect eco friendly products for the home.
I know this is yet another eco-friendly straw, however I knew that I had to mention it because silicone straws are my FAVORITE plastic straw alternative. I bought our silicone straws after trying out glass straws, avocado straws, paper straws, metal straws, and everything in between.
I find that the silicone are comfortable on your teeth and are big enough to slurp up a smoothie in the morning. You can use these straws when you are traveling as well as at home. Keep them clean with the scrub brush.
MPOWERD Luci Outdoor Solar Lantern
We love to travel and hike with a solar-powered lamp! We just got it a week ago and have already had to use it a number of times when we were low on light. This little device is a solar-powered lamp and is a completely environmentally safe product.
It can be used on a table, hung around your neck, or attached to a bicycle. Five hours of sunlight will yield seven hours of bright illumination, and 24 hours of low illumination.
HydroFlask Coffee Thermos
Twenty ounces, for those who need more than a little shot of espresso in the morning (you’re welcome) – so no matter what your day entails, you can quench your thirst at every turn with this Hydroflask travel mug. No more wasteful paper cups of coffee, although you can really store anything in here that you want. The twist cap makes it entirely leak-proof, so if you’re the kind of person who likes to add flavor packets to water, or sugar to your coffee, you can feel okay about giving this one a dang good shake to mix things up.
The double-walled interior insulation will keep your morning coffee hot for up to 12 hours, or your icy water chilled for up to 24. If you happen to shop around a bit more with this brand, the cup is also compatible with other lids, so you can mix and match to best suit your needs for the day. Extra bonus: get color-happy. This baby comes in a whopping 12 different colors. See more of our favorite coffee thermos here.
I love traveling with my Aurorae mat for yoga sessions on the road. They are my absolute favorite eco friendly yoga mat. All their mats are made from a non-toxic resin free from Phthalates, Phenols, PAHS, Latex, Rubber and Silicon. On top of that, they are biodegradable, hypoallergenic, and made from eco-safe patented PER. These yoga mats are ¼” thick so definitely not as small or compact as the Manduka.
That’s why I say it’s my favorite for an actual class where I will spend an hour or more on the mat and want something comfortable. Make sure to pair any yoga mat with a travel bag so it doesn’t get dirty from all the movement.
Biodegradable Dental Floss
I have to floss my teeth all the time and sometimes even have to travel around with a spare string of floss in my backpack. I bet you never thought about it, but floss is usually plastic. It’s also toxic and coated with PFC’s (harmful chemical) that make the gloss glide better. These chemicals have even been linked to dementia, cancer, and thyroid disease – yikes!
So I had to mention silk floss on this list of eco friendly products used in daily life. A good way to avoid all the chemicals and plastic waste is with flossing alternatives like this one.
Washing your clothes while traveling is never fun. That’s why we were super pumped to get the Scrubba. Which is a tiny and lightweight mobile laundry machine. Just put your dirty clothes in the bag, add water and soap, seal and scrub away. Now you can literally wash your clothes anywhere there is water.
The best part? The Scrubba only uses 3-6 liters per wash. The Scrubba boasts one of the highest price tags on this list, which may make you wonder “Is being eco-friendly expensive?”
Although, the Scrubba retails for just around $50, think about how much money washing your clothes can cost in a hostel, hotel, or laundromat. We usually pay about $5 per load. So you will easily make your money back after just 10 loads of wash. Most importantly this eco-friendly product uses less water than a commercial washing machine and no energy. I also found that this is another fantastic eco-friendly gift idea for travelers and hikers.
Hemp Flip Flops
We live in flip flops, so when I discovered Rainbow Sandals 10 years ago I bought my first pair and never looked back. Rainbow Sandals are seriously the most comfortable sandal you could ever own. They take a little bit of breaking in, but once they form to your feet they are yours forever.
Rainbow Sandals create strong, quality footwear that won’t end up in a landfill. I’ve only had two pairs in my life. I’ll be getting a third, but not because they didn’t hold up, but because they were stolen from under my seat in Thailand and then again a dog ran away with my flops years later in Nusa Lembongan.
These flip-flops are made using hemp, these strong fibers are durable and long-lasting and are perfect for those living an eco friendly lifestyle. The hemp sole and strap are double-stitched using nylon thread. The bottom of all Rainbow Sandals is non-slip.
If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you know we have a deep love for Africa. Recently, when I lost my face wash in expensive Las Vegas I got on Amazon to find something with coconut oil for my skin (my secret ingredient). What I found was even better. Alaffia is a skin care company right from Togo in West Africa. Their products are made out of all natural ethically traded ingredients.
It doesn’t end there though. Alaffia empowers and employs women from rural Togo and pays them a real and fair wage and run a number of empowerment projects. This includes reforestation projects, education projects, maternal care projects, and FMG (female genital mutilation) projects. In case you needed another reason to buy from them, they’ve also planted more than 60,000 trees since 2003.
We have raved about our Lifestraw Go’s in past posts and for good reason! This water bottle is extremely durable, BPA free, and lets us fill up in anywhere in the world because of the filter inside. The filter inside lasts for 1000 liters and will filter out 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoa.
For each Lifestraw Go that is purchased Lifestraw provides one child in a developing nation with safe drinking water for a year. I can’t even count the amount of money and plastic bottles we have saved because of this bottle. Purchasing a reusable water bottle has to be one of the easiest ways to become earth friendly. If you’re looking to go more in-depth we detail our favorite water bottles.
Instead of always getting take away food in styrofoam or plastic container opt for some Prepworks Tupperware containers. These things pack up nice and small and really come in handy for long travel days when you don’t have easy access to food. These collapsible food storage containers are among some of the best environmentally friendly products as they are BPA free, lead, and phthalates free as well.
Reusable Snack Bags
You know where you can find those little Ziploc bags to put your lunch time sandwiches in outside of North America? Nowhere. Trust me they are quite impossible to find abroad and I love that. They are so wasteful especially when you can get a green product like reusable snack bags. Reusable snack bags come in incredibly handy when traveling and at home. These little snack bags are Lead-free, PVC free, BPA free, phthalates free, and vinyl free. Score!
Recycled Yoga Pants
I never forget to bring clothes that are good to workout in when I travel. I always travel with yoga pants, sports bras, and breathable tank tops. One of my favorite brands to buy yoga pants from is Yoga Democracy. Yoga Democracycarries yoga pants that have fun designs, yet they are still extremely durable. All their gear is made from recycled nylon from material like fishing net that does great damage to our oceans.
It’s estimated that there over 600,000 tonnes of this fishing net litter is going into our oceans, so wearing Yoga Democracy is choosing to fight against that and use eco friendly materials. They are eco-friendly, USA made, and sweatshop free! To provide an update to this post we recently found out that polyester clothes are often credited for micro-plastics in the ocean. This hasn’t been totally confirmed, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind when purchasing products and hopefully purchase more eco friendly clothing. Use the code TWP20 for 20% off your purchase.
Ethique Shampoo/Conditioner/Face Cream
Ethique makes some of the best eco friendly skincare products on the market right now. Ethique has a wide range of toiletry products ranging from shampoo to face cream. All of their products use natural and organic ingredients and use completely eco-friendly packaging on their products.
Oh yea it doesn’t hurt that this small business was started by a woman and every produxct is Cruelty-Free, TSA Friendly, and Compostable. There are 80 billion shampoo and conditioner plastic bottles thrown out every year and they all make their way to the ocean. By purchasing one bar from Ethique you are saving three plastic bottles from ending up in a landfill.
Reusable Grocery Bag Set
In today’s day and age, I feel like this is kind of a duh eco-friendly product. If you could help reduce waste on the planet by simply bringing your own bag to the grocery store would you? Of course! These bags are cute, reusable, and pack up nicely. These aren’t just good for being eco-friendly at home either, but for traveling with just about anything in general.
Some may say Q tips are bad for you, but personally, I can’t go one day without cleaning out my ears. I try to opt for organic Q-tips when traveling and at home and they always are at the top of my environmentally friendly products list. Not only are they good for the environment, but they are also sturdier and better quality than your typical ear swap. These particular cotton swabs are disposable, biodegradable, organic, and all natural bamboo!
These toothbrushes are the best (seriously, check the reviews!). These bamboo toothbrushes are recyclable along with all their packaging. The bamboo ensures they are just as strong as plastic toothbrushes and at about $3 a toothbrush they are about the same price as your conventional toothbrush. So why not buy these and help the environment? Even the bristles are BPA free so you won’t have to stick all those toxins in your mouth!
These are one of my favorite environmentally safe products not only for traveling but for everyday life in general.
Grayl Ultralight Water Bottle
It’s not always safe to drink water from rivers and streams. We previously used the Lifestraw Go for all those times during our travels when the water is questionable.
However, over time we became annoyed with the water bottle as the filter aged and clogged. Plus the Lifestraw leaks when it is on its side. We now switched to the Grayl Ultralight Purifier. It’s a simple design that is effective and does not leak.
Most importantly it is a purifier, not a filter. The Grayl water bottle system purifies water vs. filters which removes viruses and virtually removes all threat of waterborne illnesses. The only drawback is it costs double the Lifestraw Go.
Skin cancer is for real! Not having sun protection can lead to sunburn and in the long term skin cancer/skin aging. You will spend a lot of time outside when you travel and therefore under the sun. We highly recommend getting an eco friendly sun cream that does not contain harmful chemicals. Once you go into the ocean those harmful chemicals from your sunscreen will run off and ruin the coral and marine life so it’s super important to sunbath responsibly.
Eco-friendly sunscreen is mineral based and usually only cost a few dollars more to help protect our natural bodies of water. If you’re not going to swim and only sunbathe just go with a reliable name brand — granted runoff often still ends in our oceans and lakes.
Solar Phone Charger
With this waterproof and dustproof solar panel charger, you will be able to stay charged and save energy at the same time. This was the perfect earth-friendly product for our year-long road trip across Africa. When you’re camping or out in the wilderness as I’m sure you are aware, there are no outlets.
This solar phone charger can handle charging my phone at least three times before I have to throw it in the sun again. Sometimes we even use it to charge two phones at once! It took me a while to invest in one of these bad boys, but now my camping/outdoor/adventure life has never been the same!
We always recommend bringing a travel towel when you’re on the road. They pack up small, antimicrobial, and are lightweight so they will save you from always needing a new towel or from constantly washing yours.
The biggest complaint about travel towels is that they often feel nothing like the plush cotton towels we are accustomed to at home and in hotels. However, with the PackTowl you can forget about all of that because they set out to create a towel that mimics its cotton counterparts with the technical features of a travel towel.
Ladies, have you heard of the diva cup yet? It’s one of those new eco friendly travel products that may change your life. This 100% silicone piece will completely eliminate tampons out of your life. Which means you can eliminate those plastic applicators.
Yes, the DivaCup is a reusable menstrual cup that collects menstrual flow and offers 12 hours of protection. It’s odor free, comfortable, and definitely saves you money on buying tampons over time.
Safety Razor with Blades
Ditch the disposable razors and get your hands on a proper razor with sharp blades. You get a much closer shave with these types of razors anyway, aluminum is much easier to recycle, and most importantly, you’re not throwing away a plastic razor every three days.
Still curious how to how to be eco friendly? Read more!
- How to be an Eco Friendly Traveler
- Five Sustainable Gift Ideas To Make Your Holidays Greener
- Too Many Tourists? How We Can Help Beat Overtourism
- These 10 Lodges are Supporting Ecotourism in Africa
- Tips For Eco Friendly Travel
- These 10 Lodges are Supporting Ecotourism in Africa
- 10 Unethical Animal Encounters to Avoid • The Dark Side of Animal Tourism
- 10 Unforgettable Wildlife Experiences To Have In Africa
- 101 BEST Adventure Quotes Sure To Ignite Your Wanderlust
- How Ecotourism in South Africa is Implemented at Gondwana Game Reserve
- The Ultimate Mozambique Travel Guide: All You Need to Know
- 29 Ethical Wildlife Tourism Experiences to Take Part In
- 36 Essential Beach Packing List Items You’ll Want for Vacation
- Where are the Seychelles? The Islands We Now Dream About
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