Updated February 2019
Want to live a greener existence, but not sure where to start?
In 2016 I went full-throttle in trying to give up plastic for a year. I learned a lot and still continue to apply these lessons to my life now.
One method I had success with, was writing a list of disposable items that I would not use under any circumstances – and looking for alternatives.
Once I had sourced or purchased these alternatives, I could take them travelling and use them in lieu of the disposable items.
I didn’t mind having to buy these items, as I was going to reuse them forever. I firmly believe you can save money by travelling responsibly, anyway.
So, here are five items that you too can eliminate the use of, with a few, simple green swaps. Plus, here are 25 eco-friendly products I pack when I’m going travelling, for short breaks or long-term.
For me, straws are public enemy number one. I really can’t think of a more pointless item. What’s wrong with drinking straight from the cup?
Replace with: If you want a substitute, use a [easyazon_link identifier=”B019YJT918″ locale=”US” tag=”birdgehls10-20″]stainless steel straw[/easyazon_link]instead. You can also buy[easyazon_link identifier=”B00KM61F88″ locale=”US” tag=”birdgehls10-20″]glass straws[/easyazon_link], but they’d probably be silly to take travelling. I usually pre-empt the situation by saying I don’t want a straw whilst ordering. This works 2/3 times… sometimes they forget and on other occasions, I’ve been presented with a straw when I haven’t expected one (such as with soup).
Shop here if in Australia or on [easyazon_link identifier=”B07CS7HRSH” locale=”US” tag=”birdgehls10-20″ cart=”n” localize=”y”]Amazon[/easyazon_link].
Wet wipes are regularly worshipped as being an ideal addition to one’s travel toiletries bag. So multi-purposeful! You can use them to clean your face on planes, take your makeup off, or even wipe your bottom with them, in lieu of toilet paper!
[bctt tweet=”Here are some alternatives to wet wipes, which you can use whilst travelling #SustainableTravel”]
The ones that don’t go down the toilet, get to sit in landfill for probably all eternity.
Replace with: If you’re on the go, I would recommend a small, quick-drying hand towel – you can purchase some as a [easyazon_link identifier=”B0168LB0TY” locale=”US” tag=”birdgehls10-20″]set with larger towels[/easyazon_link].
That way you can wet it, give your face a scrub, rinse it and let it, well – quickly dry out! For make up, I apply Jojoba Oil onto a [easyazon_link identifier=”B01BVPP8GI” locale=”US” tag=”birdgehls10-20″]reusable cotton round[/easyazon_link] and scrub it off with that – or sometimes I just wash my face with water and a flannel. I get pimples quite irregularly, so must be doing something right.
If you’re using them as a hygiene item, to keep your hands germ free – invest in a travel soap tin and carry around a tiny bit of soap in that. Take your water bottle, wet your hands, scrub the soap and dry on your quick dry towel, or your trousers. Now you’re sanitised!
Here are some other items that I keep in my environmentally friendly toiletries bag.
Soap is a good segue into mini-toiletries. You know those items that you can find in any drugstore/chemist/Boots that are small sized versions of deodorants, shampoos, conditioner, moisturiser, perfect for carry-on?! Oh, they’re so tiny and handy and guaranteed to be used once before being lost in the back of your bathroom cabinet forever.
Replace with: [easyazon_link identifier=”B002VS8H3G” locale=”US” tag=”birdgehls10-20″]Containers[/easyazon_link], which you can decant your shampoo, moisturiser and the like into. These ones have their capacity written on them (so you won’t get caught out at airport security – it’s happened to me before) and you can write what’s contained in there on the bottle.
Shop for GoToob bottles here or on [easyazon_link identifier=”B002VS8H3G” locale=”US” tag=”birdgehls10-20″ cart=”n” localize=”y”]Amazon[/easyazon_link].
Oh goodness, I go on about plastic bottles a lot, but not without good reason – I promise.
I don’t really understand why anyone would pay money for plastic bottles, when it’s so easy to use an alternative. It saves you money and is helpful to the environment – so why wouldn’t you do it?
Replace with: Any reusable drink bottle. For places where the tap water is undrinkable, consider a filtered alternative like the [easyazon_link identifier=”B01C6HAVVM” locale=”US” tag=”birdgehls10-20″ cart=”n” localize=”y”]Grayl Water Bottle[/easyazon_link]
or a [easyazon_link identifier=”B00M3SOJIG” locale=”US” tag=”birdgehls10-20″]Steripen[/easyazon_link].
I also now take my KeepCup wherever I go. I don’t drink coffee, but use it for tea, lattes and in lieu of plastic cups on planes.
[easyazon_link identifier=”B01C6HAVVM” locale=”US” tag=”birdgehls10-20″ cart=”n” localize=”y”]Shop for a Grayl Water Bottle[/easyazon_link] and [easyazon_link identifier=”B07N732WBJ” locale=”US” tag=”birdgehls10-20″]KeepCup[/easyazon_link] here!
Here are some other options for reusable water bottle for travel.
Once again, plastic bags are silly, pointless and quite easily replaced. Just shove a reusable bag into your purse, suitcase or pocket and use it when you need it.
Replace with: I love my cotton tote and investing in a collection of cloth bags is also a good place to start.
So there you have it – five items that can be swapped out quite simply for reusable alternatives. You’ll be saving money (and the planet) in no time at all.
What other eco-friendly swaps have you made?
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