Zero Waste Travel Essentials
My favourite zero-waste travel essentials that will save you waste en route and at your destination:
Light weight reusable bags
These Eco Bags hold up to 40 lbs and stretch like crazy without ever losing their original form. How I wish I functioned after an all-you-can-eat buffet…
To be totally honest I have two of these bags and they are the only bags I use. So much so that I had no need for my other reusable bags that I had acquired over the years so I donated them or gave them to friends. These two Eco Bags fit all of my groceries, I take them to markets, use them at the beach, they are my best sidekick! And they pack up really tightly. I don’t usually carry a purse but if I did they’d fit right in!
Shampoo and soap bars
Making the switch away from bottles to shampoo/conditioner and soap bars has made packing for travel way easier. I don’t have to stress that bottles are going to leak. I’d rather avoid a Ross Geller sized freakout from a “major shampoo explosion!”
I also don’t have to worry about squeezing shampoo from a big bottle to a travel sized bottle so that I can take it on a carry on. Bars tend to last a long time and they’re easy to pack up in a tin and carry-on with no questions at security.
I love eating with my hands but there’s a time and a place! For every other time I have my bamboo cutlery handy so I avoid any plastic or single use sets. Whether you want to carry bamboo or metal cutlery doesn’t really matter. Go with whatever you prefer or have already. I choose to travel with bamboo cutlery because it’s light but most importantly they won’t get taken away at security. You can, in fact, travel with wooden cutlery (including a wooden knife)!
I love my stackable container. I use it a ton at home too but it makes a great travel companion because I can pack food for the plane/train/car, helping me avoid any food wrappers or disposable plates. It also makes a great take home container if you have leftovers at a restaurant. If you don’t plan on packing any food for the transportation part packing it away can be a bit annoying as containers can be bulky but like any other odd item use it to your advantage! It’s really only bulky if you leave the inside empty so shove some socks or underwear in there and save yourself some room. You don’t need to go out and buy yourself a fancy container or bento box, check your tupperware drawer, any container will do!
Most often disposable coffee cups are not recyclable and yet they are one of the biggest single-use polluters. Putting travel aside for a hot minute, if you grab a to-go coffee on your way to work each day, assuming you work about 250 days of the year that’s 250 cups that are going straight into the landfill and will be there for decades if not generations to come! So when you hear people say the ever so cliche line that one person can make a difference and you doubt it, know that all it takes is a little math and a reusable mug and you can save 250 pieces of garbage from the landfill each year. I take my Ahimsa Eco biodegradable mug everywhere even if I’m not sure I’ll use it, mostly because I know I’ll use it! This way, at least I’m prepared. This is another item you can pack stuff into while you’re in transportation. Maybe a swimsuit, lipsticks, really anything small that you can squeeze in.
DIY dry shampoo
Pass on that miniature-sized aerosol can of dry shampoo that slowly kills your hair and instead opt for this super easy, all natural, one ingredient, DIY dry shampoo that gives you a bit of volume back while wicking away the 2, 3, 4, and 5 day ew-ies of unwashed hair.
DIY body lotion
DIY body lotion is another great way to save on plastic bottles. It’s nearly an everyday product (I’d say everyday but honestly sometimes applying body lotion is just too much effort) which, means that throughout the year you could be using anywhere from 2-5 bottles of lotion. So whether I’m at home or traveling I use this DIY Velvety Whipped Body Butter that makes putting on lotion more enjoyable so I actually do it!
You may have heard the phrase “every single toothbrush ever made still exists today.” And unless it’s been burned (terrible for the air) then that statement is true. The plastic they’re made from can’t be recycled and they take over 400 years to breakdown, and even then they only breakdown into tiny little microplastics that still pollute the earth. With Bamboo toothbrushes so widely available now they’ve become just as affordable as plastic ones. Next time you’re at your dentist’s office refuse the toothbrush, mini toothpaste tube, and plastic dental floss and opt for bamboo instead.
Compostable dental lace
Zero waste compostable dental lace is actually a thing! There are different kinds available but I’ve been partial to charcoal bamboo dental lace. It comes in a little glass vial, much more compact than the plastic containers of yesteryear and you only need to buy the vial once. Then, simply buy refills of the dental lace thereafter.
Another item we use everyday that comes in plastic. And yet, a simple item we can make ourselves for the exact same effect that costs a fraction of the price, causes no plastic pollution, and is natural and toxic free. Need I say more? If you tend to be a heavy sweater check out this recipe for my heavy-hitter deodorant that has a similar consistency to store bought deodorant so you can reuse a container from a previous deo. Or for something a little lighter check out this deodorant balm recipe.