Travelling this world is an absolute honour. To see the marvellous sights, oceans, natural wanders and unique towns is a true blessing. It is when you truly see how incredible and special this world is, that you realise how much we need to protect and care for it.
Travelling can sometimes be counter productive in the ‘eco-friendly’ department; plastic water bottles, mini toothpastes, takeaway food containers, coffee cups, brochures and one-time use products all contribute to the already overwhelming problem of litter, pollution and rubbish in the world.
“We use over 300 million tonnes of new plastic every year. Half of this we use just once and usually for less than 12 minutes. 8 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year.” – plasticocean.org
With mind-blowing statistics like this it vital we all play a part in looking after Big Mumma Earth and showing her some respect.
Before we left home to explore this marvellous world, we made a promise to each other and the earth that we would travel in a way that either; 1. Leaves the place we explored the same, or (and preferably) 2. in a better state than when we arrived.
‘Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but photos.’
This quote forms the basis for our travels. It is not always easy or convenient to be an eco-warrior on your nomadic conquests but there are a few awesome products and tricks that can make your life (and the ocean’s life) much easier. We have compiled a list of our favourite sustainable stuff that we have used the most on our adventure so far. These little gems have saved us from using plastic so many times and we adore them!
Reusable Shopping Bags
Probably the easiest and cheapest one of all. We keep a little collection of reusable material bags in the camper-van, my handbag and our backpacks. Whenever you go for a little (or big) shop, whip out one of these bad boys and say TTYN to plastic bags! Plastic bags are an absolute nuisance and once blown into the environment or ocean it takes up to 1000 years to decompose.
A wiser choice over your regular plastic toothbrush, this bad boy is 100% decomposable and safe for the environment. Over 30 million toothbrushes are used and disposed of each year in Australia alone! That’s a lot of plastic and plastic that will not decompose in our life time. A simple switch of toothbrush brand can make the world of difference.
LUSH shampoo and soaps
I chose a few LUSH products to take in our extremely space limited wash bags. Obviously solid soap is a much more sustainable choice than bottles of liquid soap, they are also a lot easier to travel with and you don’t run the risk of a massive soapy spillage! The shampoo bars are to die for, once the shampoo runs out there is no plastic bottle to discard, they are handmade, with natural products and oh so YUMMY. Zero rubbish involved in these beauties. I also adore their ethics and values as a company, click on the link to watch their ‘We believe’ video.
Klean Kanteen Insulated water bottles
In fairness we have been lucky enough to have safe drinking water in the majority of places we’ve visited since buying these bottles. But overseas, in less developed countries there are still filtered water points to fill up your bottle; hotels, hostels, restaurants and touristy spots normally have a little station. Bottled water is a very new thing and is costing the environment (and our wallets) heaps. What you drink in just a few minutes will remain on our planet for up to a thousand years, not only that but it costs a fortune to drink only bottled water. There are a variety of reusable bottles out there, we adore Klean Kanteen as it keeps the water super chilled, they are hardwearing and again, we love their values as a business.
Disposable razors and even the ones with the fancy changeable heads are covered in plastic and not to mention expensive. Try getting your hands on a safety razor. Made from steel, they take old school razor blades which are sharper, cost effective and universal. If you are travelling with just a carry on bag, this product is perfect! Just take out the blade, put the body in your bag and buy fresh blades in your new destination.
A little plastic bag to store two tomatoes or three apples while in the supermarket is my pet hate. I either use nothing at all and allow my fruit and veg to roll around in the shopping trolly. Or for the smaller bits (like cherries, strawberries, figs and so on) I use reusable produce bags. They are super cheap to buy and small to carry around.
Reusable coffee cups
If you are a coffee, or chai, or tea lover like us and regularly go out for hot beverages this one is a must! It is also becoming super trendy and stylish to bring your own cup. Many baristas will be used to this concept and have no problem filling your eco-friendly mug with liquid goodness. I prefer Mason jars while Micky loves Frank Green’s coffee cups, but you choose! There are an array of companies manufacturing these beauties, but once you buy one, be sure to use it for as long as possible or the point is moot!
Reusable lunch boxes
Let light weight metal lunch boxes replace your plastic takeaway containers. If you have any left overs at a restaurant or are ordering from a food truck, ask your lovely servers to place the food inside. Keeps your meals fresh, yummy and of course, earth friendly. I often make a light meal the night before and store it in here for an ‘on the go‘ meal the next day.
Reusable Sandwich bags
Super adorable and eco-conscious! Forget glad wrap or aluminium foil, place your yummy sandwiches in these little pockets. We use them to store nuts, biscuits, fruit and (occasionally) sweet treats as well, all you need to do is wipe the inside clean when finished and you are good to go. Perfect for airport waits, long road trips and picnics.
For these last few products I bought them from Biome, a brilliant online store with a variety of eco-friendly products. You can also buy the majority of this stuff at a local health store, or get creative and make your own sandwich bags or up-cycle old items!
Luna Cup or Diva Cup (for the ladies!)
Ok, so for some reason some ladies are totally shocked or weirded out when they find out I use a Luna Cup. I personally love the thing and when you are travelling you are never ‘caught out’ because it can live in your handbag or wash bag. More than 45 billion tampons or sanitary pads are used every year, resulting in 3.2 million kgs of waste! Not only is this little cup better for the environment, it saves a heap of money and is much safer compared to tampons which contain a variety of chemicals from the cotton. So ladies, maybe give it a flow!?
As a couple we still have much to improve on when it comes to our plastic consumption. But remember that every little helps and we all need to start somewhere. Cutting plastic out of your life is a journey which can be done in easy manageable steps. Begin with something small, like using a re-uasble coffee cup or taking reusable bags on your weekly shop. The future of this spectacular world is in our hands and I truly believe we are all strong enough and capable enough to make a big change. It’s the least we can do for Mumma considering all she provides for us.
So wether you are travelling the world or settled in a lovely little home, try to make just one little change today, the world will love you even more for it.
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
Robert Swan OBE