Plastic Free July is a global movement helping people be a part of the solution to plastic waste around the world, so that we can all benefit from cleaner streets, oceans and communities. A cleaner environment means the animals we share this earth with can also live in safe habitats that are free from plastic.
One disadvantage about travel is the amount of waste it creates, especially non-recyclable items like takeaway containers, water bottles and toiletry items. However, we can change this by starting with what we pack into our backpacks. As travellers, we can all be a part of the solution and create more eco-conscious travel habits. Once COVID-19 restrictions ease and we start to embrace small bursts of travel again, we can still pack an eco-friendly backpack while ensuring we can take the comforts of home with us.
Start with what’s on your plate
You can start doing your bit to travel more eco-consciously by starting with what’s on your plate. Eating vegan is one way where you can reduce carbon emissions, land-clearing for cattle and water consumption. Plus, you can give your health a boost while on the road. However, you’ll need some implements to eat vegan. When you’re not eating in a restaurant, try packing a compact bowl and plate in your backpack, along with a reusable cup and bottle. In addition, remember to pack reusable cutlery, chopsticks, and a metal straw. If you plan to pack a knife, just make sure you pack one that won’t get you into trouble at border crossings.
Keep germ-free while you’re roaming around
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has gripped out travel habits, there is now an extra need to keep clean during your travels. If you need to pack face-masks, look out for a local maker who makes reusable masks. Etiko Fairtrade is adding masks to their range in the coming week. You can also find a local charity or NFP that will be selling them as a fundraiser, too. Buy a few masks that can last you for about a week while you’re on the road. That way, you have time to wash them each day while still having a back-up in your bag. You can also buy a fabric sleeve that doubles up as a neck warmer. For your skin, choose a travel-sized bottle of anti-bacterial gel or spray with a high alcohol content, contained in recyclable packaging. My go-to spray at the moment is KOi from my local supermarket.
…and keep your body clean, too!
Rather than packing multiple bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash, why not choose a multipurpose soap bar? A Bit Hippy makes a shower bar and a fabric ‘soap saver’ bag for easy transport. Shampoo With A Purpose also makes a multi-purpose shower bar that’s the equivalent to six bottles of product. Either way, you’ll invest in a product that will last a considerable amount of time while you’re on the road. If you need a friendlier option for cotton buds, have a look at the Green + Kind biodegradable bamboo buds with cotton tips. They come in compostable packaging.
What about your teeth?
Ditch plastic toothbrushes for a bamboo variety. Pure & Natural White Glo toothpaste also comes with a bamboo toothbrush or they can be purchased separately. Grants of Australia also manufacture vegan toothpastes and vegan toothbrushes. Packaging for both brands is recyclable or compostable. Green + Kind can help you out with a plant-based dental floss that comes with a refillable glass vial.
…but what about down there?
Finding vegan eco-friendly sanitary products is starting to get easier. TOM Organic make organic cotton tampons, pads, liners, maternity and nursing pads. Packaging is recyclable (and some are biodegradable) and soy-based inks are used where possible. If you need some help in the bedroom department, you might want to turn to Jonny for their plastic-free vegan and palm-oil free condoms. Each box comes with a supply of biodegradable disposable bags. You can also use the bags for disposing of tampons.
Disclaimer: All thoughts and recommendations in this blog post are that of Justine de Jonge. Fire & Tea did not receive any compensation for recommendations in this post.