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These eco-friendly travel products will change your life for the better. Why you ask? Because once you start using these green products, you will never go back.
Now that’s something to dance about!
Incorporating these sustainable items into your everyday life will not only change your world for the better; it will change the world for the better. A win-win for you and the planet.
Let’s dive in!
Solid Eco-Friendly Travel Products
Ditch the plastic in those travel-sized containers and go solid!
First up: solid shampoo and conditioner bars
- Pack light
- Last a really long time
- No messy liquids in your bag
- No plastic packaging
- Makes the airport security line a breeze
The cost on Amazon for an Ethique shampoo and conditioner bar set is $29.
When you purchase directly from Ethique, shipments are carbon neutral and plastic-free!
My favorite solid shampoo and conditioner bars right now are Ethique. They have a wide variety of types, such as the shampoo and conditioner bundle for dry hair.
Ethique is a certified B-Corp (balancing purpose and profit) that was started in the kitchen of a university student. An Ethique shampoo bar has just eight percent of the carbon footprint of an equivalent liquid product. The Ethique bars contain no palm oil.
I also love the Lush rose-scented shampoo bar when I’m traveling because it is really small (though it doesn’t last as long, obviously!)
You scrub this little guy on your body at the end of your shower and it serves as both an exfoliant and a lotion. After a quick rinse, you really feel like you’ve applied lotion. Plus there is no mess…and no plastic bottle!
Or you can make your own lotion bars! It’s really easy. Check out my video about making sustainable lotion bars here:
There are many more opportunities in the toiletry department to ditch tubes and plastic bottles, and face wash is one of those opportunities.
Ethique is my go-to solid face cleanser. They also have serums and scrubs!
Eco-Friendly Travel Products for Your Toiletry Bag
It’s not only the plastic packaging that sticks around for 400 years before it degrades. Most dental floss itself is made out of nylon, which is a form of plastic.
When I first purchased this plastic-free, organic floss made by Radius, I did it to reduce my plastic consumption. What I didn’t expect was to love the floss so much! This floss slides between my teeth more easily than nylon floss and it hurts much less. Plus, Radius is a woman-owned company!
Tip: When I’m traveling, I take my sustainable floss out of the packaging and store it in the container that carries my toothpaste tabs. This saves on space. Since the floss isn’t made of plastic, you can just break off a piece with your hands before you floss. You don’t need the feeder. Speaking of toothpaste tablets…
- Ditch non-recyclable toothpaste tubes
- Plastic-free packaging
- Works just as well as “regular” toothpaste
Or get a toothpaste tab subscription at By Humankind (this is what I do, and I travel with the By Humankind toothpaste tablet case).
Say what? That’s right! You don’t have to use those toothpaste tubes that are *not recyclable. There are other options. Like toothpaste tablets!
I also use the Lush mouthwash tablets. Lush only uses recycled plastic, and their plastic bottles are purposely made very thin to reduce the need for plastic at all.
*Big news about recycling your toothpaste tubes and packaging! TerraCycle® and Colgate have teamed up in a new Oral Care Recycling program. Just sign up, print the shipping label, and ship your toothpaste tubes, caps, cartons, and even floss containers for recycling. Or you can buy a TerraCycle Beauty Supply Recycling Box at EarthHero when you are buying your toothpaste tablets!
Electric toothbrush heads are not yet part of the program in the United States, but the same Colgate/TerraCycle partnership in Australia is now accepting electric toothbrush heads, so, if you’re using electric toothbrushes, save the used heads because I think you’ll be able to recycle them soon.
More than one billion toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the United States alone. That’s enough to stretch around the Earth four times!
We use the cotton ends to clean our ears but guess what the part between the swabs is made of? You guessed it! Plastic.
Much like it takes trial and error to find the right shampoo for your hair, it may take some trial and error to find the right natural deodorant fit for your pits. I’ve tried many different kinds from solids to creams and I find the Little Seed Farm deodorant cream to work best coupled with a bamboo applicator (also sold by Little Seed Farm).
Beyond keeping me smelling fresh, Little Seed Farm offers what they call zero-waste shipping and packaging, and there is no frustrating, useless plastic wrapping over the top of the eco-friendly glass container. In fact, you can opt-out of the item box and even ship back your glass container. And the packaging peanuts are made from grain, which means they are fully compostable or they dissolve in water!
- Spare the planet from single-use applicators
- Spare landfills and plumbing systems from tampons
- Save money. You don’t have to buy tampons every month!
- Healthy and comfortable
Saalt Soft Silicone Menstrual Cup sold by sustainable marketplace EarthHero for $28.99.
In 2018, 5.8 billion tampons were purchased in the United States. That’s 5.8 billion with a “B”.
Those tampons often come wrapped in plastic and with a plastic applicator. Pads, according to a study covered quite delicately by the National Geographic, include even more plastic, and both products end up in our landfills as “medical waste” that is not officially tracked.
I’m not here to continue the cultural shame that has long been a part of menstruation. I’m just here to point us toward a product that I absolutely love for offering an eco-friendly alternative to the tampon.
It takes a little getting used to, but the Diva Cup is actually far more comfortable, far less work, and far less expensive than tampons or pads. Another win-win – this time for women and for the Earth.
Update January 2022: I made a switch to the saalt soft menstrual cup. The softer silicone is more comfortable for me.
Eco-Friendly Travel Products for Sustainable Eating
My reusable water bottle may just be my favorite traveling companion! I use the Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle because it rolls into a tiny, little ball when I’m going through airport security, and it works for both cold and hot drinks, so I never use a single-use coffee cup either!
I love this water bottle so much that I sometimes travel with two of them.
More than 22 billion plastic water bottles are thrown away every year. Only one in six water bottles purchased in the United States is recycled.
What do we do most when we travel? Arguably we eat! (Maybe drink? It’s a no-judgment zone here.) Make sure you have reusable dishes, cutlery, and cocktail glasses when you travel to reduce your footprint.
I almost never leave home without my reusable wine cup, but it is especially important when I’m getting on a flight. Those single-use cups for our wine and ginger ale break my heart.
Admittedly, the flight attendants do look at me a little funny when I insist on using my own cup, but most are appreciative of my efforts once I explain that I don’t want to use single-use plastic. And it almost always strikes up a good conversation with my seatmates!
I found the above cup while shopping in Cannon Beach, my favorite little Oregon beach town. It bends to fit into my over-the-shoulder bag quite nicely (plus it makes me laugh). But I also carry another collapsible cup that lies flat and slips into my backpack:
On a long flight delay in Barcelona, I was glad I had this cup folded up and stashed in my bag!
The Sea to Summit cup also helped me avoid plastic on a 500-mile walk on the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and it continues to help me stay plastic-free during trips to the famous food carts in my hometown of Portland, Oregon!
In 2018, airlines generated about 6.7 million tons of cabin waste. (That reads CABIN not CARBON!) Bringing your own cups and your own cutlery reduces this waste when you travel.
Many people don’t know that the single-use cups made for coffee and tea are lined with plastic, making the cups nearly impossible to recycle. In fact, less than one percent of those coffee cups are recycled, and they are used for just 10 minutes on average.
That is even sadder when coupled with this alarming fact brought to us by the good folks at ecoffeecup:
Half a trillion disposable cups are made each year. That’s 70 disposable cups for every person on the planet.
The above reusable cup comes with a straw, which brings me to the next in our list of eco-friendly travel products.
- Comes with four stainless steel straws
- Includes a cleaning brush
- Comes with a carrying case for travel
Most recycling machines cannot accept straws because they are too small. And it takes an estimated 200 years for a plastic straw to break down and decompose.
I carry this bamboo cutlery set when I travel, and I often bring it with me even when I’m not on the road. It comes in handy at festivals, outdoor events, or the famous food carts in my hometown of Portland.
Reusable, Collapsible Plate and Bowl
- Folds flat into bags or even pockets
- Great for sustainable eating at festivals or even backyard BBQs
- Get the solo cup or solo bowl or opt for a set
- Set includes a carrying bag
The X-Set from Sea to Summit is $50 for the cup, bowl, and plate
If you have a little more space in your bag, a great option for carryout and to-go orders is the Stojo Grab-and-Go Box. When I’m at home, I leave one of these in the car so that I can take leftovers without using a single-use box.
(Pro tip: If the deli or shop has a rule against using outside packaging, just ask them to hand you the sandwich without any wrapping. There is no rule against NO packaging and there is no rule that you can’t wrap your own sandwich.)
According to American Rivers, almost half of the litter in the United States is from food packaging. Much of that litter from juice boxes, snack packaging, and sandwich bags end up in our waterways.
Eco-Friendly Travel Products for your Suitcase
An expanding sustainable suitcase!
- Hard-case carryon that unfolds to a hanging closet
- Built-in shelving system and charging port
- Made from sustainable materials like plastic bottles
- Saves 229 plastic bottles from the ocean
- Comes in a backpack too
Sells for $275 from Solgaard + free shipping in the United States
Tip: Because airlines are dealing with different recycling systems in different cities or even countries a lot of your recyclable items from an airplane are not recycled. If I do end up using any of the single-use items on a plane, I take those items with me to recycle. I put them in the above bag, and I usually take my seatmates’ items, too!
Each time you use a reusable bag instead of a single-use plastic bag, you have reduced the need for more bags. That small decision is a huge achievement when you consider that 100 billion plastic bags are used every year.
Eco-Friendly Packing Cubes to Hold All Your Eco-Friendly Travel Products!
- Durable to last for many trips
- Organize your suitcase
- Made from sustainable materials
See options below for pricing
I live by my packing cubes. They may just be my favorite item in my suitcase or backpack any time I pack. But back when I bought them I didn’t know there was an eco-friendly alternative.
The first step to sustainability is to reuse what you have as much as possible, so I’m keeping my regular old packing cubes and considering myself in packing envy of anyone who has this eco-friendly travel product:
packing cubes made from recycled water bottles, like the Quest Travel Cubes made by tentree.
The packing cubes are such a good sustainable travel product at such a good price (just $31 for all three cubes) that they are often sold out.
Plus tentree plants 10 trees for every purchase!
Another option for a sustainable packing cube set is Patagonia’s clamshell packing cubes made from 100 percent recycled fabric and seriously durable.
While these are a little more expensive at $29-$49 (depending on size) per cube, they are seriously durable and made from 100 percent recyclable material.
I first used this towel when I walked the Camino de Santiago. It fit easily into my backpack and dried very quickly. Usually, it would dry so quickly that I didn’t need to hang it from my backpack to dry while hiking, but when I did, its convenient, built-in loops make it very easy to hang from my pack while on the move.
It started with the Camino, but now the Rainleaf microfiber towel is one of the eco-friendly travel products I cannot live without. It reduces my environmental impact if I stay in a hotel since many hotels needlessly wash your towels every day (even when you hang them up!)
Other Eco-Friendly Travel Products I Will be Trying Soon (Laundry & Shaving)
I’m in the market for an eco-friendly alternative to laundry while on the road. I’ve heard great things about the Scrubba Wash Bag paired with an eco-friendly detergent like the BerryPLUS eco-friendly, natural detergent.
I am also going to try safety razors with bamboo handles and plant-based shaving cream.
Thank You for Your Desire to Go Green with Eco-Friendly Travel Products!
Look, it’s not the easiest or the cheapest decision to travel – and live – sustainably. But it is the most responsible decision for the planet. Thank you for caring for our Earth.
I will continue to update this post as I find new eco-friendly travel products that work!
About the Author
Hi! I’m Jen!
I’m a freelance writer and travel blogger who quit my nine-to-five after my fiancé, Jeff, died of cancer at the age of 40. When he died, I realized that life is just too short to delay our dreams. Since my dream was to travel and write, I now travel and write full-time. Today I wear hiking boots instead of heels and collect experiences instead of things.