Travel is one of my favorite things to do but, as much as I love it, I always struggle with the amount of packaging it involves on many things like personal hygiene, to go food, coffee cups, etc. Everything comes in plastics, cartons and more plastic within the plastic.
I struggled with this the hardest when I lived in China. The amount of plastic on EVERYTHING is insane and made me realize of some extra zero waste swaps to do when traveling to different countries around the world.
As travelers we can have a huge environmental impact starting just from taking flights to our destinations, plus whatever we end up adding through the trip, for this reason I’ve been thinking for years on how to reduce my impact in the world in my daily life plus traveling.
One thing that I noticed the most whenever I talked to my friends about swaping to zero waste options or ecofriendly ones was that they usually didn’t find the products stylish to use in their daily life or travel pictures, and I agree, some products can be “ugly”. I firmly believe that sustainability can be stylish af! Hence this list includes only products that I have used for my personal life and travels. I’ve even used them for my travel content on Instagram.
Please, as you read this article keep in mind that I didn’t swap to zero waste from one day to another in all my daily or travel habits. It happens over the course of two years, and I keep adding as I learn better options when I decide to buy something. At the end the Zero Waste Movement is about doing your best for the planet not to be perfect. So, no shame here.
Remember that the best thing you can do is use what you have not to just keep buying and buying stuff you may not even need. This is guide is for you so next time you know what zero waste options are out there.
That being said, let’s begin!
Disclaimer: I use affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase anything throughmy affiliate links I receive commission at no additional cost to you! Do not worry, I only recommend products I love and use myself.
Stojo – collapsible cup
The first time I fell in love with these cups I was in Shanghai. Oh my god, I saw a girl using one at Starbucks and I had to ask her where she bought it from! Turns out it was a Stojo ft Starbucks edition but was sold out already. That whole year it never came back to stores and Taobao was not reliable. I didn’t know if it was a fake or not. At that time what I kept using for my to go coffee (or any other drink) was the reusable cup from Starbucks that you can get for $2 dollars. It got the job done. but it definitely was a pain in the ass to bring everywhere.
Anyway, time passed by and I ended up buying it in the US, currently I have 3 different ones! I love them so much and I have to admit, they are much more portable. Idk about you guys, but I don’t carry big purses with me. I am more of a mini backpack or crossbody girl. So a travel mug is a must.
Did you know every person who drinks coffee can use up to 500 disposable cups of coffee in a year? and this is just coffee.. imagine all the other drinks one can buy while traveling.
Why I love it and you will too
- QUALITY. this is so important for me when I buy something.
- Compact for easy carry.
- Leak proof.
- Easy to wash. (when out I usually just use my hand and soap).
- Made from safe, recyclable materials, food grade silicon, BPA-BPS- lead free.
- You can bring it into airports and get water from the fountains or restaurants.
- Earth conscious product.
- Stylish af!
One kinda funny story I have with my black cup. So I went camping on the beach and before getting in my tent right before sleep I forgot my cup right outside. That night the wind blew like crazy! When I woke up, I stepped outside the tent and I saw my cup outside the door. OMG I was mad at myself, it could have just blow away but it didn’t! it was super steady. I found it in the same way I left it. Which made notice that it didn’t blew away from the picnic table we had: even when it was completely empty. I loved that.
Here is a link direct to their cups page and they have bundle and save! I promise you will fall in love with these cups
Not convinced yet? If you want to know more about the impact your everyday coffee or tea cup to go has on the environment check this article from foodprint.org:
Huemankind Stainless Steel Bobba Straw
I bet you have heard of how bad straws are… not just for turtles but the world! And if you love to eat and drink your way through a city while traveling a reusable straw is a MUST HAVE.
Now, a straw is useful for many different drinks, but in my case, and I am sure yours too. Boba drinks are part of the menu we get when traveling and for them we need special straws to get out those delicious pearls of joy.
These straws were a gift and WOW, when I opened them all I did was smile! They are super cute, mine are a rose gold and it comes with two different cases. One is a bamboo straw holder with cap (only fits one) and the other one is a little fabric pouch and you can fit many straws in this one.
I literally take them everywhere I go even if I am not getting bobba, they are perfect for smoothies too or even drinking juice or iced water. Unfortunately this specific brand is no longer available, unless you are lucky while going through Amazon, but I found other options for you. Just click the link!
Another option is a collapsible one! (also rose gold available)
Let’s talk hair!
This is one of my favorite swaps. I hated so much needing to buy small bottles of shampoo every time I traveled as a backpacker. It is just impossible to bring enough for weeks with that 100ml restriction if you are not checking in any luggage. only because of the environment but also it means spending extra money and you need to find the right one for you plus finding a grocery store or pharmacy wherever you travel to.
At the beginning, when I first made a swap I tried a shampoo bar from the grocery store. My hair struggled a bit to get used to to the new product. I felt my hair was getting dry and tangled from it. Eventually I found and started buying from LUSH cosmetics and now my hair feels great! It’s been three years (2019) since I last buy shampoo in a bottle and gosh, it’s perfect to bring in my travel backpack, camping, or if staying at a friend’s house. It takes less space, it won’t leak, allowed in airports, it last up to 3 months, just perfect.
Now, which one is the best for you? I don’t know. Just like our skincare we need to keep in consideration what kind of hair we have. I suggest you go and check the LUSH store and just try different ones. Keep in mind that as mentioned before your hair might not react great to the shampoo bar at the beginning but give it at least a month before you decide it is not for you. Bar conditioners are also available at LUSH. Besides, if lush doesn’t go well with your hair there are different brands out there you can try. Though, amongst the vast variety of shampoos, conditioners, soaps and other skin care products offered by LUSH store, I am certain anyone can find product for every aspect of hygiene for women and men alike.
- 100% Vegetarian
- They fight animal testing
- They have charity pot products – sales granted to grassroots organizations working for animal protection, human rights and environmental protection around the world
- They have an Air travel and Carbon Tax policy
- Incredible smells
- Gift Idea
- Stylish af!
- Not only shampoo bars but conditioner, bath bombs, body bar soaps, etc.
- Find stores in 50+ countries
Check them out and let me know you experience and what you think!!
Zomchi Safety Razor
This one is very important! whether you are a girl or a guy, right?
You probably already research if disposable razors are or not recyclable, depending on where you take them they may be: but in reality the vast majority won’t be accepted in the recycling program because it’s very hard to almost impossible to recycle as they are sharp objects with mix materials, resulting in billions just thrown into landfills and/or eventually end up in our oceans.
In my opinion this is a very important swap for our daily life and travels, plus I am sure you agree with me this is a essential when traveling. That being said a safety razor will save you money and time. Why? You get your supplies and they will last. I replace the blade every 3 weeks.
Well, the reason I suggest Zomchi specifically one is because I had a great experience with this razor and the brand itself. I got it 2 years ago and actually it is the only brand I’ve ever gotten, the razor blades I got are Astra but Zomchi sells blades too. I just haven’t try them yet because I literally haven’t need to buy new blades at all since the first time I bought a package.
One amazing thing that I loved and stood out to me was the customer service. Here’s the story. One night I came back home and when I was getting into my shower my razor was on the floor.. broken! I honestly have no idea how it happened. I was sad. A month later I decided to email Zomchi and well, they get back at me and actually sent me a new razor! They were extremely nice and attentive to make sure I got my new razor fast. This is why I believe they are a great option to buy not just because of their product quality but their customer service.
I manage to get you a discount coupon code: G8WAKYCQ6K just use it when you order in their website and Ta Da.
Reusable Bamboo Cotton Pads
Do you like using make up? Well, our make up routine also has an impact in the world.
I typically use makeup in my eyes and for years I used those disposable cotton pads thinking cotton is okay because it’s biodegradable, natural, soft, etc without knowing that it’s actually not that great as it comes with a hidden environmental and ethical cost.
Switching to bamboo pads was the easiest swap I’ve ever done and I did it when I first did a solo backpacking travel. The best thing is that they have become more important for the market that nowadays you can easily find them in grocery stores like Walmart, Target, Sprouts, HEB, etc. I think it will be best if you buy from a little local store if you can.
This pads are mostly useful for eye makeup remover but there are options for reusable whole face make up remover towels. I do not own one but I helped my friend to find some for her makeup removal routine and she loves them.
You might be wonder but.. they get dirty, then what? The answer is simple, you need yo wash them. I personally do it by hand as I don’t need to use them a lot but whenever I did not feel like doing that I wash them with my towels in the washing machine. if you prefer do it this way I suggest that you get a good amount of Bamboo cotton pad as you might need a lot to stash before washing.
I use a brand called true spa that I found at Marshalls, if you live in the US you will know what I am talking about. You might find other brands here too an time of the year. Another option is to just google bamboo reusable pads near me and you will find your best option.
First things first… foooood! When you travel you bring food into the airports? you buy fruits in markets? You buy street food at all the amazing places you travel to? You hate all the plastic/stare foam containers? Me too! and that’s why I believe Stasher bag is another essential for your travels!
Made from platinum silicon which does not degrade over time meaning it’s endlessly reusable!
I’ve used it in my travels and will keep doing it till I die! I literally put any kind of food inside from tacos to fruit. I use it at the beach, trail mix for hiking, snacks for my dog, to put my street food like noodles.. haha I’m serious. I’ve made popcorn at home. I’ve steam veggies, etc, etc, etc.
One time, I was really hungry and really poor haha I was in Hong Kong and I decided to buy some noodles from a street vendor and they just fit perfectly and I could just hold the bag in one hand and eat with a reusable fork. I know it might sounds weird or undoable, but trust me just start doing it anywhere you go with any kind of food and it will get easier and you’ll be proud of all the amount of single use plastic you are not sending to landfills
Why Stasher bag?
- Different sizes
- Compact for easy carry
- Malleable. just fold it and put it in your backpack!
- Perfect for to go food
- Perfect for bringing snacks when hiking for example
- Perfect to store wet swimsuits
- Allowed in airports
- You can store, freeze, cook, pick up trash, and thousand more ways to use it.
- Platinum silicone
- Free of BPA, BPS, lead, latex, and phthalates.
- Recyclable in the US with Terracycle
- Stylish and zero waste.
If you have ever backpack you know you’ll need to do laundry at some point in your trips and this will require to buy soap. And what does soap come in? PLASTIC.
I discover laundry sheets last year (2020) before I used to take laundry powder and sometimes it was messy in my backpack and even at home.
This little swap has been amazing! It takes little space, it’s ease to store in a container, you can break it in half or littler pieces. I use it at home abs for travel. When I travel I just put them in a little metal container folded.
The best in my opinion is that it is TSA friendly, you won’t get a mess in your luggage or at home and it is not that expensive.
I’ve only used Sheets Laundry Club and they work amazing. I got a monthly subscription but you can change the subscription to a different variation of delivery for only $13.56 with 50 loads.
Now, there are many other brands out there but I haven’t try them personally.
Let me know if you try any of these swaps or if you have any suggestions! Keep it fun not perfect.