Traveling can do a lot of damage to the environment, especially when we aren’t consciously striving to make greener choices. While there are many ways to travel sustainably, cutting back on waste is easy and makes a huge difference. These recommendations will help you pack the best eco-friendly toiletries kit. If you want more ways to travel sustainably, read my Sustainable Travel Guide for the best information.
Where to start:
There are many aspects to sustainability, so it can feel overwhelming to make changes. By keeping these tips in mind, you can make the best choices for yourself, animals, and the planet.
Look for vegan and cruelty free brands
Many companies still test on animals despite the fact that there are better alternatives available. In order to see this awful practice come to an end, we have to stop supporting these businesses. To see what products are cruelty-free, you can look for the pink or leaping bunny symbol, or do a quick web search.
Avoid plastic packaging
Plastic has become so saturated in our society, that many of us don’t even think about it when shopping. Try to find products available in paper, tin, or glass packaging at your local grocery store, or see what’s available for refill at zero waste shops in your area.
Use what you already have
Finish the items you already have at home before purchasing special products and containers. Save all of your food jars once you’re finished and reuse them for storage at home or for carrying your toiletries. Finish up the shampoo and other hygiene items in your medicine cabinet, and keep using your plastic items as long as possible before recycling. This is the most sustainable thing you can do in any aspect of your life.
Make sure it’s sustainable for you
Never feel guilty about shopping within your means, many eco-friendly products are unaffordable and inaccessible to many. If anything is out of your budget, find what’s right for you. Keeping an eye out for online deals, coupons, and products in bulk is a great way to get sustainable items at a low price.
What to pack:
Shampoo, soap, and lotion bars
Those travel size shampoo bottles found at hotels or sold in stores only further contribute to the plastic problem our planet is facing. By ditching the travel minis and opting for these products in solid form, you can greatly reduce plastic waste. These bars are easy to travel with and can be carried in small tins or lightweight cotton pouches. They can be purchased at Lush, Etsy, or a number of small businesses.
If you can’t find them at a price that is affordable to you, another option is to refill a small bottle or jar that you already have with whatever products you would like to use.
Bamboo Toothbrush & other dental products
Bamboo toothbrushes are biodegradable and the most sustainable alternative to their plastic competitor. When buying in bulk, you can find them at a reasonable price from Amazon and other websites. Along with bamboo toothbrushes, some dental products you can use are silk floss and toothpaste tablets, read my post on sustainable dental care alternatives for more information.
If you can’t find an affordable zero waste toothpaste, squeeze a small amount of what you have into a small jar instead of purchasing a travel size option. We should try to reduce our waste as much as possible, and avoiding travel size items is the best way to avoid unnecessary plastic trash.
The fact that its all-natural and so versatile is precisely why I always travel with this product. It can be used as a makeup remover, and quite frankly it works better than anything I’ve tried before, including high end options. Just take a dime to quarter sized amount and work it in with your hands, then wash away with facial cleanser and water.
Coconut oil also proves to be a great lip balm, body moisturizer, hair treatment, and more. I even mix it with a few drops of tea tree oil to make a natural deodorant. It’s essentially a 5 in 1 product necessary for your toiletries kit.
Skin care is very important to keep in mind, I always pack my Vitamin C serum from Art Naturals to keep my skin healthy. Their serums are good quality, affordable, and come in glass vials that I always reuse. They also have retinol and hyaluronic acid, which have good benefits, but should be used under advisement.
There are many deodorants that come in compostable cardboard packaging or reusable glass jars. These can be found at local health and beauty shops, zero waste refill shops, and online. I’ve tried a few different brands out myself and have been happy with the results, even living in Florida’s climate.
You can even make your own with essential oils and other natural ingredients you have at home, test out different recipes to find one that works for you. As mentioned earlier, I usually just mix a few drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil, which has anti-microbial properties and a nice scent.
I can boast about the benefits of sugar waxing all day… the natural and biodegradable ingredients, how smooth it leaves your skin, and how long it lasts. Waxing just before a trip means you won’t have to deal with body hair or shaving for up to 2 weeks. Sugar wax can be made at home with 3 low cost ingredients or purchased from various small businesses.
If sugar waxing sounds a bit scary, safety razors are another popular and environmentally friendly option. The handle will last forever with only the blade needing to be replaced, which not only prevents plastic waste, but can prove to be more economical than disposable plastic razors in the long run.
Unfortunately, most sunscreens have ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are detrimental to our health and coral reefs. It’s important to look for sunscreens that are labeled reef safe. These are mineral based and usually have zinc oxide for their main ingredient, which is safe and effective. While ocean health is key, try to find sunscreen in plastic free packaging, there are many options online or on amazon.