If like me your New Year’s resolution is to be more eco-friendly, then you’ll no doubt be in need of some inspiration. Cutting down on single use plastic and choosing products that are better for the environment are just two small ways we can help make a difference to the planet.
But changing rigid habits is hard – there’s absolutely no doubt about that. To be honest, it’s actually taken me years just to get to where I am (which is much more eco-friendly than I was but still by no means perfect!)
Convenience, price and quality sometimes takes precedent over sustainable options. Annoyingly, it often takes trying different products over time to find something that is actually good, let alone affordable.
That’s why I thought it important to share tried and tested products and accessories I’m using (or have used).
I want to prove that A) changes to eco-friendly products are do-able and B) that these products are actually worth your time. Like I said – I’ve tried multiple brands of the majority of these items!
So, here are my personal recommendations of eco-friendly travel products and accessories. They’re perfect for day trips, weekends away, holidays, long-term travel and even at home to help you live that little bit greener.
All Good Sunscreen Butter
Every time I see people smother themselves in sunscreen and then jump into the sea, it makes me want to cry. Sunscreen is super toxic for the marine life, poisoning corals and threatening marine organisms.
Finding a good, marine-friendly sunscreen that isn’t toxic to your skin (and doesn’t come in a plastic bottle) is quite a task though. I’ve tried a few different brand but they’re thick, sticky, hard to apply and leave you white as a ghost.
Unfortunately natural, eco-friendly sunscreens never apply to the skin as well as the cheap bottled stuff. However the best I’ve tried to date is the ‘All Good’ Sunscreen Butter.
It’s water resistant and made with only six naturally derived ingredients. The tin is super convenient to chuck into your day pack or beach bag too.
Although it needs a bit of work to get warmed up on your fingers, it does melt quite nicely. It’s sort of a white paste to start with, but absorbs clear.
If you’ve got very dry skin, you may want to moisturise first, but I still think this brand is one of the best environmentally (and skin) friendly, plastic-free sunscreen products the market.
LifeStraw Go Water Bottle
Be it a day hike, weekend away or a longer trip abroad, I’m never without my LifeStraw Go water bottle.
This bottle has saved me from buying plastic bottles of water for about four years. It filters out 99.99% of bacteria meaning I can drink water straight from the tap in countries where it would usually be unsafe to.
I also love the fact when I’m hiking, I don’t have to worry about carrying lots of drinking water, as I can fill up from a stream or waterfall – and it tastes sooo good!
In the time that I’ve had it (four years), I haven’t had to change the filter once. I also love the handy carabiner clip so you can hook it onto your backpack or day bag.
I am also impressed that this company has a social conscience. LifeStraw have a ‘giveback program’ where they donate their products and work on projects across the world in nations needing clean drinking water and better sanitation.
Although it would be good if they could make a metal bottle (though they do make just the straw in a metal version), I still love this product.
Ethique Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
The Ethique brand do some of the best eco-friendly hair and skincare products on the market right now. All the products contain organic, natural ingredients and are vegan, cruelty free, plastic-free, and do not use palm oil.
For years I had been using the Lush shampoo and conditioner bars. They soap up brilliantly but I find they’re quite harsh on my hair. I thought that perhaps it would just have to be something I compromise on, until I tried the Ethique brand.
The Ethique shampoo and conditioner bars are the equivalent to FIVE bottles of conditioner or THREE bottles of shampoo. That is an incredible amount of plastic to be ditching with each bar!
Considering there have been over 9 billion tonnes of plastic produced since the 1950s and only 9% of it recycled, this is an easy way to reduce plastic usage.
If you don’t want to commit to just one product, they do a super awesome mini sampler kit so you can try a few to find the one most suited to your hair.
I initially stumbled upon beeswax wraps at a market in Melbourne. I bought one out of interest and found it so effective that I bought more online a few days later.
Beeswax wraps are essentially a piece of cotton with a thin beeswax coating that makes them slightly sticky. They are great for use at home for wrapping foods instead of using cling film or foil. I also have one in my bag just in case I can’t finish that slice of cake and want to take it home (though it’s rare I don’t finish cake!)
I find they are great for packing your sandwich for a picnic and taking dry, solid foods hiking or travelling.
They can be washed or wiped after used and reused over and over. The smell of the wax is quite strong to start with but you get used to it – and it’s certainly better than plastic.
Alright – straws may not exactly be the biggest or most important thing you can do to cut your plastic usage, but if you’re travelling for a while and eating and drinking out often, bringing your own straw will help make a small difference.
Some people will say just don’t bother using them but I personally hate having ice clink against my teeth. Plus, if I’m on a night out and wearing lipstick, I don’t want it ruined. So I now just bring my own.
These days many restaurants and bars provide metal, bamboo or paper straws, but there are still many places frustratingly using plastic ones without asking you if you need one first.
I have a metal one at home, but I find a bamboo straw is easier to travel with. These Jungle Straws I own come with a little pouch to keep them clean and a brush to make sure you can clean the inside too.
Frank Green Reusable Coffee Cup
There are loads of keep cups available these days, enabling you to get hot drinks on the go without receiving a paper/plastic cup. It’s awesome how many cafes have jumped on board with this movement, offering discounts to people when they bring their own cup.
I always try to use my Frank Green coffee cup because you can chuck it in your bag (yes, even with coffee in!) and so long as the lid is closed properly and the mouthpiece is up – it does not leak!
So many of these reusable cups just have a lid that pops on and off meaning it would just spill. This screw lid and sturdy metal cup is amazing for on-the-go life and travel.
It’s also double lined with an insulating ceramic inner layer and a metal outer layer so it keeps your drink hotter for longer. I seriously think it’s a great product!
Reusable Snack Bags
No trip is a proper trip without snacks in my books. I’ll always come prepared with a stash of dried nuts or cookies for every bus, plane, train and road trip!
These resealable snack bags are good for loose, small items where the beeswax wraps (above) don’t work so well. I used to travel with mini tupperware pots but they were a bit bulky. These bags are much better for space when you’re travelling.
A bamboo toothbrush was probably the first eco-friendly product I swapped to after being inspired by my mum. Considering experts recommend changing your toothbrush every 3-6 months, that’s a lot of plastic wastage produced in a lifetime (which just ends up in landfill).
Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth and biodegrades naturally unlike plastic. It’s an adaptable and sustainable material that more products should be made from.
Bamboo toothbrushes are such an easy thing to swap to and I’ve found no compromise on quality.
In fact, there are many toiletries and bathroom products that can be swapped for bamboo alternatives. For example, the product next on my list…
Bamboo Cotton Buds
Think of this scenario: you use something for a few seconds without even a second thought, discard it and now it’s going to remain on the planet forever. Kind of depressing right? We do this so many times in our daily lives without even realising. The more single use products we can swap for biodegradable alternatives, the better.
Although there is probably too much plastic in my bathroom cupboard for my liking, I’ve been using bamboo cotton buds instead of plastic ones for a few years now. I would recommend the Bambaw or Bambus brand as I have tried both and have found them just as good as the plastic alternative.
I don’t really know why paper or bamboo cotton buds aren’t mainstream, but I guess people just don’t want to spend the extra dollar or two…
Fold Up Tote Bag
I hate having to get a plastic bag when I forget to bring my own at the shops, regardless of whether it’s free or not. To prevent this from happening, I try to keep a fold up material bag in my handbag or backpack at all times.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember to put it back again but I use it way more than I think. It’s also a great back up when you’re travelling and find your suitcase or backpack a bit fuller than expected!
This concludes my list of recommend eco-friendly products for home and travel. I hope this has inspired you or you have found something that you would consider using.
If you use any other environmentally friendly items that you would add to this list – please share in the comments!
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*This post may contain affiliate links meaning should you purchase a product via this link, I’ll earn a tiney tiny commission at no extra cost to you. These are still products I use and would recommend regardless*