We've got an incurable case of wanderlust and we know we're not alone - studies suggest millennials and younger generations are spending more and more of their money on travel and experiences. The problem with this massive increase in global travel is that tourism can have devastating environmental effects, especially in places that aren't well-equipped to handle the mass influx of people and all of the waste produced as a result. A great example of this is Bali (named the #1 travel destination for 2018) where plastic pollution has become a visible and ecologically devastating issue. Swimming in the crystal clear water off the Bali coast isn't quite as romantic when you're surrounded by plastic bottles, disposable straws, and other trash. Enter eco-travelers, a new generation of travelers who care about leaving the places they visit just as beautiful as when they arrived. And the good news? Eco-travel doesn't have to be expensive or inconvenient. These are the best affordable, eco-friendly travel essentials under $50.
Refillable Silicone Toiletry Containers
Buying single-use, travel-sized toiletries is not only expensive (especially when you use non-toxic, green beauty products) - it's inconvenient and it creates unnecessary waste. A ton of waste. Six million tons, to be exact. 12 billion lbs of single-use plastics are thrown out every year. You can lessen your impact by using less, but better products like these reusable, silicone travel containers. These are perfect for carrying your favorite shampoo, conditioner, face cleanser, body or hand wash, and more. They're TSA approved, carry-on friendly, and they can be used over and over again. Plus, you get to bring your favorite products with you! We recommend silicone because it's BPA-free (unlike some other plastic travel container options) and it's resilient, meaning it'll last a really long time (like pass-it-on-as-a-family-heirloom-long) before it ends up in a landfill.
Shop affordable, reusable silicone travel containers here.
Reusable Travel Utensils
Up until very recently it never occurred to us to carry around a reusable utensils set in lieu of using the plastic, disposable utensils doled out at most casual eateries. But the truth is - plastic utensils are incredibly harmful to the planet. After just one use, they end up in our oceans, in beautiful parks and animal habitats, and in landfills. In places like Bali, where there are little if any recycling programs in place, single-use plastics like utensils can literally destroy the natural beauty of a place.
Rather than contributing to the waste, we recommend getting yourself a set of reusable travel utensils. They're made from sustainable materials like bamboo, are compact and easy to carry around, and can be reused hundreds and sometimes thousands of times. That's hundreds and thousands of plastic utensils you don't have to litter the planet with! Bamboo utensils make a great conversation piece when you sit down to eat with others, and who knows? You may inspire someone else to take on more conscious and eco-friendly travel practices. (That's how it happened for us - thanks, Jeannie!)
Shop our favorite affordable bamboo travel utensils set here.
But wait! Some reusable utensils sets will come with a straw and some won't. Either way, a reusable straw is a must-have in your eco-friendly arsenal. Single-use plastic straws are one of the least eco-friendly things out there and yet, restaurants dole them out constantly. In fact, Americans use and discard 500 million plastic straws daily! (National Park Service) Sadly, most of these straws end up in our oceans. The next time your server tries handing you a plastic straw, you can whip out your reusable stainless steel or bamboo straw and say, "No thanks!" These are so affordable and so easy to keep with you, there's literally no reason or excuse not to.
Non-Toxic Travel Tooth Care
Another plastic culprit that contributes to plastic pollution? Toothbrushes! Over 850 million plastic toothbrushes end up in US landfills every year. That's 50 milion pounds of plastic, rubber, and nylon. And that's just in the US. We've been using bamboo toothbrushes for years, and we wish we'd made the switch sooner! Bamboo toothbrushes work just as well, last just as long, and are an overall much eco-friendlier option.
Something else to think about is your toothpaste. Most mainstream toothpastes are not only toxic to your health, they're toxic to the environment. A great (or not so great) example of this is microbeads - some toothpastes contain microbeads that are literally tiny balls of plastic that end up in our rivers and oceans. According to CNN, some 8 trillion microbeads pollute our waterways in the US. These plastic beads are detrimental to aquatic habitats and animals, and are so easily avoidable. In fact, microbeads were recently banned in the US, by a law that is supposed to go into effect in July 2018. Using and traveling with more eco-friendly tooth care products means choosing a non-toxic toothpaste that won't negatively impact the waterways in your hometown or in the places you're traveling to.
We recommend filling one of the reusable silicone containers above with your favorite non-toxic toothpaste (to avoid bringing any disposable plastics with you!) but if needed, you also have the option to purchase a travel-sized, non-toxic toothpaste.
Reusable Water Bottle
Last, but certainly not least, every eco-traveler has a trusty, reusable water bottle. Plastic water bottles are a far cry from sustainable. Americans alone used about 50 billion water bottles last year, and 38 billion of those went completely unrecycled. (Source) Reusable water bottles are easy to find and purchase and can be used not only when you travel, but in your daily life - for coffee, water, or whatever else might be your cup 'o' tea (like literal tea.) Plus, a reusable water bottle is both useful and necessary is places all over the world where tap water is undrinkable and you're required to purchase water. By bringing your own reusable bottle, you don't have to buy a ton of single-use plastic water bottles, but can instead purchase the largest size (gallon+) they have and refill your own bottle as needed. We recommend purchasing a stainless steel bottle as opposed to a plastic one as they're more durable, are BPA-free, and, well, we use enough plastic as it is.
Wabi-Sabi Botanicals prides itself on being a forward-thinking and sustainable enterprise. Our sustainably-sourced ingredients, 100% natural products, and glass packaging are made with you, the planet, and all living things in mind. Shop our sustainably luxurious skincare and support our social impact mission here.