- 1 What does “zero-waste” mean?
- 2 Zero-Waste Travel Products
- 3 Build Your Own Zero-Waste Travel Kit
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Traveling is fun, but we should always keep in mind our impact on the environment. Whether you’re flying across the country to visit family or driving from city to city, the way we travel affects the planet.
You might think that you’re being environmentally conscious, but you could be making an even bigger impact if you were to ditch unnecessary packaging and single-use items altogether. These are some of the best zero-waste travel essentials that can help you reduce your carbon footprint while traveling.
You might’ve heard the term “zero-waste” before, but…
Zero-Waste (adj.): Generating little or no waste.“Zero-Waste.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary
What does “zero-waste” mean?
Zero-waste literally means that you don’t create waste to be thrown away. You reuse everything, recycle everything, and compost everything. In a practical sense, it means using only what you need and nothing more. If you want to lower your carbon footprint, then the first step is to become aware of where your waste goes and reducing it.
Zero-Waste Travel Products
Plastic water bottles are one of the most obvious examples to find zero-waste alternatives. Investing in a high-quality reusable water bottle is a great way to cut down on the amount of plastic pollution you make.
Many are very durable and made out of BPA-free materials like stainless steel, aluminum, and glass, making them safe for drinking and washing. You can find them in many different sizes, from small ones that fit into your purse or backpack all the way up to large jugs for camping trips.
I swear by my S’well 24 oz. stainless steel bottle. They come in tons of beautiful designs and keep your liquids at their desired temperature. If the 24 oz. is more water than you need with you at any time, they also offer other, smaller sizes.
Just like a water bottle, try bringing a reusable travel mug or coffee cup with you on your next coffee run. With their lightweight, hard-to-break, dishwasher-friendly designs, reusable cups or mugs are a great way to keep your morning routine simple. Instead of relying on disposable options, it’s another eco-friendly alternative that can even save you money in the long run. Even coffee shops like Starbucks will give you a small discount on your drink order for bringing your own mug.
The best part? You can use it for hot or cold beverages, so there are really no limits on what you can drink!
If you want to take advantage of a stainless steel cup’s benefits, consider investing in a few different sizes. For example, I keep a smaller Yeti mug in my purse for sipping coffee throughout the day and a larger size Yeti Rambler in my kitchen for drinking hot tea during the evening hours.
The reusable straw is a great way to reduce the amount of plastic you use. It’s also an easy and convenient, sustainable alternative to plastic straws since many fold up small and are easily transported.
There are many different types of reusable straws available, including silicone, stainless steel, or even bamboo. I prefer using stainless steel straws because they collapse into a small size and can be easily transported in my bag for the day.
However, it’s important that you thoroughly clean your straw after every use. This will help prevent bacteria build-up in the straw, leading to illness if consumed by someone else.
Reusable bags are essential items of any eco-friendly traveler’s life—and not just for keeping items like souvenirs, groceries, and meals fresh. Although many parts of the world still use plastic bags, I enjoy keeping a few of my own reusable bags around. Not only are they good for the environment, but they’re much more durable than traditional plastic bags. They’ll survive many more uses than their plastic counterpart, and they can support more weight too.
While most people think of reusable produce bags for the grocery store, I love how versatile reusable shopping bags are. From carrying groceries to holding dirty laundry, I keep one with me all the time.
But don’t forget about cleaning them! Since they’re made of fabric, make sure to wash them regularly to avoid cross-contamination.
Need more inspiration? Check out my guides on the best travel essentials for women, the top travel gifts under $20, and great gifts for friends going abroad!
Zero-waste travel containers are a fantastic way to reduce plastic consumption. They cut out unnecessary waste from traditional single-use, resealable baggies since they’re made to last and be washed over and over again.
I use a reusable container for everything from storing leftovers to transporting snacks in my car on the go. They are also great for packing your lunch at work, school, or when you have an upcoming event requiring you to bring something with you.
You can find anything from microwave-safe glass containers to silicone sandwich bags and even food-safe beeswax fabrics to use instead of single-use cling wrap.
Reusable Cutlery Set
If you’re looking for ways to cut down on single-use items, consider reusable cutlery sets. They’re a great way to diminish the amount of plastic you use, and many options come with a carrying case.
Instead of single-use plastic cutlery, stainless steel or bamboo utensils are more eco-friendly. They’re built to be cleaned and reused!
Zero-Waste Quick Tip: To avoid plastic waste, you’ll want to make sure that the product and its packaging are compostable, reusable, or recyclable.
A soap bar is a great way to keep your hands clean and sanitized. Since they’re solid, they don’t require any extra packaging to carry or keep around. Liquid soaps are often made with harsh chemicals that can irritate skin and are harmful to our environment. However, many bar soaps are made from natural ingredients like olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, or castor oil.
Solid Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
If you’re interested in reducing your carbon footprint with more sustainable travel products, bringing a solid conditioner or shampoo bar is a great way to go. They’re made with natural plant-based ingredients that won’t dry out your hair like other products do and can be used as an alternative to traditional shampoos. They also tend to last longer than liquid versions of the same product and make no plastic waste since they don’t come in plastic containers.
I love this shampoo bar because it’s a great alternative to the traditional shampoo bottle I use at home, and it’s made for curly hair. Plus, it smells amazing too!
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Just like solid shampoo and conditioners, you can find all-natural solid deodorants, which means you won’t find yourself with any non-recyclable packaging. And, unlike some deodorants where you can’t use the last dregs of the product, you’ll be able to use bar deodorant until the very end!
Using natural deodorants is a great alternative to the chemical-based products that are currently on the market. You’ll find that most use essential oils and plant extracts, which means it’s safe for your skin as well as being completely free from chemicals or toxins. And better for the environment since they cut out plastic containers.
Bamboo products are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to help reduce our carbon footprint by reducing deforestation. Not only does bamboo grow quickly without using any pesticides or herbicides, but it also helps prevent soil erosion which reduces runoff into waterways. In addition, bamboo grows naturally without needing fertilizers or chemicals, making it safe for humans and animals alike.
The bamboo toothbrush is the perfect way to eliminate plastic toothbrushes from your life while keeping your teeth clean and healthy. It’s also a great alternative for allergic or sensitive to plastic bristles, as it won’t scratch your gums like other brushes can do. The brush holder keeps all of your brushes organized, so you don’t have to dig through them when looking for one!
When I switched to an electric toothbrush, I discovered companies creating bamboo replacement heads that work with popular electric toothbrush brands like Oral-B and Philips Sonicare.
Zero-waste toothpaste eliminates the need for plastic bottles in its packaging. You’ll find all kinds, ranging from tablets to pastes to powders, that are activated by liquid and are transported to you in a reusable metal or glass jar.
The products are made from natural ingredients such as coconut oil, making them safe for sensitive teeth. You’ll even find some eco-friendly kinds of toothpaste enhanced with fluoride or charcoal for teeth whitening.
The problem with floss is that it’s usually made of plastic fibers that come in many plastic packaging. Zero-waste floss uses biodegradable materials such as bamboo, corn husks, and paper pulp to create the string.
You’ll find many compostable floss options that come in a glass container, which means that they can be broken down into organic matter after being used. And you can either recycle or reuse the glass.
If you prefer floss picks, you can even find biodegradable options.
A reusable menstrual cup is a product that collects blood during menstruation, similar to a disposable tampon. The menstrual cup is made from medical-grade silicone and expands to hold menstrual fluid inside the cup when inserted to prevents leakage and keep the area clean.
They’re a great way to avoid the hassle of disposing of tampons and pads. The only downside? You’ll need to empty them every 4-6 hours. But if you’re looking for an eco-friendly alternative that’s easy to use, this could be perfect!
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Build Your Own Zero-Waste Travel Kit
While you can buy zero-waste travel essential kits from online small-business owners like those on Etsy, you can personalize an eco-friendly gift set by creating your own. These make great gifts for the conscious traveler in your life!
Zero-Waste Travel Utensils Set
For a kitchen and utensil zero-waste travel gift set, you’re going to need to include these reusable products:
- Water Bottle
- Travel Mug
- Reusable Straws
- Reusable Bags
- Food Containers
- Cutlery Set
Zero-Waste Travel Toiletries Set
To create a zero-waste kit for travel toiletries, you should include these reusable products:
- Bar Soap
- Solid Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
- Natural Deodorant
- Bamboo Toothbrush
- Menstrual Cup
With this list of zero-waste travel gifts you’re sure to find something they’ll love! However, if you’re looking for more present ideas, take a look at my list of travel necessities every woman needs to take with her on her travels.
What do you think about zero-waste travel essentials?