Replace plastic toiletries
A great way you can travel plastic-free is by reducing the number of plastic toiletries you use in your washbag. Here’s how:
1. Toothpaste – Bye-Bye plastic tubes
First off, the toothpaste tubes! There are great alternatives to reduce plastic like the zero-waste Georganics Tooth Paste. This naturally foaming tablet comes in a glass jar, 120 pieces that last for 8 weeks, and sent in a compostable box. The tablets are allowed in your hand luggage as they won’t count as a liquid. Oh, and they’re also cruelty-free and vegan!
2. Shampoo – Make reducing plastic fun!
Invest in a shampoo and conditioner bar. First of all, it lasts as long as two or three bottles of shampoo! It can be packed as a carry-on because it is not a liquid, and it’s also much better for your hair, as it’s made mainly from natural ingredients. Store it in a small tin box and travel plastic-free!
The compressed gases found in aerosols and the plastic packaging of all standard deodorants are extremely harmful to the environment. Solid deodorants or dusting powders are the perfect replacement to travel plastic-free. The solid deodorant is like a soap block made from natural ingredients that you simply rub under your arms and lasts much longer than the aerosol deodorant.
Pssst: Did you find these plastic-free tips interesting? Keep on reading until the end of the guide.
4. Switch to a plastic-free beauty routine
Are you using make-up? Challenge yourself to do your entire facial cleansing routine plastic-free! The best way to start is with reusable cotton pads and a cleansing balm or facial soap with less to no plastic, made from natural ingredients and not tested on animals. (like these)
5. Reduce plastic by getting a shaving razor
Disposable plastic razors often go under the radar on the war against reducing plastic, with over 2 billion ending up in landfills per year. To combat this, purchase a safety razor, which is reusable, plastic-free, and made from sustainable materials. Although the price might be a little bit scary to start with, the blades are very affordable!
6. Cotton Swabs
A few years ago, a heartbreaking photo went viral of a seahorse clinging on to a cotton swab in the ocean. Cotton swabs may look harmless, but they are detrimental to the environment, not least because they are made up almost entirely of plastic. Luckily, Europe has agreed to ban cotton swabs by 2021, but we can all get ahead by using a bamboo alternative.
7. Menstrual Products
Menstrual products are the environment’s worst plastic nightmare. Due to hygiene reasons they are not recyclable and end up in landfills together with 12 billion sanitary pads in the US alone.
Switch to using a menstrual cup means, changing less often as you can leave it in for around 12 hours, it’s made from comfortable silicone (which doesn’t release harmful toxins like plastic) and is reusable for up to 10 years! It might feel like a small investment, while 10 years of tampons and sanitary pads will cost you a lot more.
Say ‘No’ to plastic a little more often
Saying ‘Yes’ to plastic is convenient for us to do but simple changes can drastically reduce our plastic use and help to say ‘No’ more often.
8. Say ‘No’ to hotel mini toiletries
While getting pampered in a beautiful hotel and using all the amenities is lovely, the use of plastic mini toiletries is not. Bring your own soap block, shampoo, and tooth tabs so there are zero reasons to use hotel toiletries.
9. No more plastic bags
Supermarkets are, sadly, a plastic producing monster starting with every small plastic bag we are demanded to use when weighing our fruit. By bringing a reusable bag from home when doing our shopping, we can say ‘no’ to more plastic bags and reduce plastic even more!
Tip: Research for an environmentally friendly supermarket near you, as more supermarkets, are using zero-waste dispensing systems. Check out ‘Zero Waste Bali’ for inspiration!
11. Replace your sunscreen
Our sunscreen is killing ocean corals. Yes, that’s right, regular sunscreens contain two harmful chemicals: oxybenzone and octinoxate. Coral reefs generate nearly 50% of the world’s oxygen, so taking care of them is extremely important. In 2019, Hawaii even completely banned these harmful sunscreens already!
The good news is that there are plenty of reef-safe sunscreen alternatives. A couple of good options are:
- Suntribe’s Reef Safe Zinc Sunscreen for the face (SPF 50) – Protects the coral and comes in a tin!
- Suntribe’s All Natural Mineral Day Cream (SPF 20) – All natural ingredients and plastic-free packaging. Good for the ocean and your skin!
- Suntribe’s All Natural Body Butter Coconut and Argan – 100 % natural and free from microplastics. It’s packaged in a recycled tin with recycled labels.
12. Reusable bottle – The easiest way to reduce plastic
One of the easiest and possibly best ways to reduce plastic while traveling is by getting a reusable water bottle. They don’t have to be expensive, look so much nicer, and they are also healthier for us. That is because regular single-use bottles we purchase in the supermarket release toxins into our water. Two water bottles per day are what a person usually drinks, so you will reduce plastic easily by having a reusable.
- Much less energy will be used, making your reusable bottle than when manufacturing the (yearly) billions of single-use plastic bottles.
- Protect marine life – 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean every year in which fish eat and eventually ending up in the human body who eat the fish.
Why travel plastic-free? The facts.
Every 6 hours, 1 million plastic cups are used on US domestic flights alone! Plan for your trip when traveling, by bringing a reusable water bottle. Airports typically have refill points before boarding, and most airlines will fill your water bottle for you on the flight if their water supply allows it. Sadly, airlines are still not obligated to provide you with free water, though, so make sure to double-check their policy before you fly.
Although this is a problem that needs to be fixed at the source, we can help an extra hand by participating in organized beach clean-ups. Alternatively, always take a bag with you and make an effort to pick up plastic wherever you may see it — research where the nearest beach clean up is taking place or organize one yourself. (Find clean-ups via TrashHero)
Making steps in reducing plastic
We’re living in an exciting time where a real shift is happening in our attitude towards the environment. By making some small and easy changes to our travel habits, we can make a massive change to our planet. Only by saying ‘no’ to plastic and ‘YES’ to all the awesome, environmentally friendly substitutes! In the process, you can save time, money, and above all, use products that are better for your well-being.
Let us know in the comments which other products you’re using to travel plastic-free.