Summer is in full swing, and for anyone who loves a good adventure – long sunny days mean traveling to new places! Traveling hasn’t been easy the past couple of years and with flight prices skyrocketing, there’s an easy way to save yourself some money while helping the planet. Pack light for your next trip and swap your single-use items for longer lasting and more environmentally friendly ones. Ready to cut down your waste and your time spent at airport baggage claim? Here are some of our favorite ways to pack sustainably while traveling this summer.
Eco-Friendly Luggage Brands
Whether you’re road tripping across the country or hopping on a plane, picking the right luggage can really make or break your trip planning experience. Luckily, more and more sustainable luggage brands are creating functional, eco-friendly, and stylish options for all of your packing needs. While using what you already have on hand is always the least wasteful option, if you’re in need of a new suitcase, these are some great options for upgrading your luggage while supporting environmental practices.
Price: $99 - $700
Commitment to Sustainability: Samsonite offers luggage, backpacks, bags, and more accessories–just find the one that best fits your travel needs! Plus, this brand introduced a new global strategy called “Our Responsible Journey”, where they’ve outlined goals to reduce their impact on the planet, support their communities, and get others involved by 2030. Since 2018, Samsonite has diverted more than 100 million 500ml PET bottles from the landfill by using their Recyclex Material Technology. Read more in their 2021 Impact Report.
Our Favorite: Outline Pro Carry-On Spinner from their Eco-Friendly Line
Price: $35 - $419
Commitment to Sustainability: Patagonia is one of the most sustainable companies out there today, and they’re always committed to transparency. Not only do they offer used and traded in clothing in their Worn Wear program, but they’ve also pledged 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment by becoming 1% For The Planet members.
Our Favorite: Black Hole® MLC® 45L
Price: $45 - $725
Commitment to Sustainability: This brand says they’re “dedicated to exploring the world while minimizing our impact on it”. With eco-friendly luggages, bags, and accessories, they’ve made quite the impact by putting our planet first. So far, they’ve planted more than 257,000 trees through Eden Reforestation Projects, upcycled more than 5 million plastic water bottles to make their products, and offset more than 16k tons of CO2 with their carbon-neutral shipping and product programs.
Our Favorite: Aviator Carry-On Plus (Carbon Neutral)
Price: $65 - $315
Commitment to Sustainability: Born from the mission to create “unique, refined, and responsibly-sourced products for our growing community of travelers”, Pakt is showing just how possible traveling more consciously and sustainably can be. Pakt only uses modern, durable, and technical materials that are built to last, are animal friendly, and have the lowest possible environmental impact, like high-wuality PU leather, and rPET for their exterior of backpacks (which would have otherwise gone to the landfill).
Our Favorite: The Pakt One
Sustainable Products for Travel
Choosing what to put your belongings in is one thing, but have you ever thought about the impact of what you’re actually putting inside your luggage? According to the Container Recycling Institute, roughly 86% of disposable water bottles in the U.S. become garbage or litter. Plus, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that 2 billion razors and refill blades get tossed into the garbage each year.
There’s no shortage of single-use and disposable travel items, and it can be hard to find an ethically sourced or environmentally-friendly product when you’re in pinch (and in a new area). Making the commitment to reusable and sustainable alternatives for home and personal care products is a great way to do your part in reducing the waste we all produce. Here are some easy swaps you can make for your next trip so you can feel great knowing that the things inside your luggage are good for you and for the planet.
Staying hydrated is a must while traveling, and while running into the gas station for a plastic bottle of water is the easiest solution in the moment, its lingering effects on our planet should make everyone consider a different option. Switching to a refillable and reusable water bottle is an incredibly easy way to reduce your everyday waste – and it’s something that can continue into your everyday life! By purchasing one reusable water bottle (or ideally using a reusable water bottle that you already have), you can avoid the countless single-use plastic bottles that are in stores, restaurants, gas stations, and you can feel great knowing the positive impact you’re having on our environment!
While carrying a reusable water bottle with you is ideal, there is not one person on their sustainability journey that is perfect, so it’s important to know your options for alternatives to the plastic water bottle on the off-chance that you forget your reusable water bottle at home. For a list of some of our favorite reusable water bottles, click here.
Solar Phone Charger
What if you could keep your phone charged no matter where you are? Well you can, and the way to do it is with a renewable energy source like the sun! Solar phone chargers are a low maintenance, safe, and reliable alternative to finding an outlet and plugging in – plus, it offers you the reassurance of a fully-charged battery while you’re out exploring the world.
Silicone Travel Bottles
There’s no need to buy a brand-new plastic bottle of shampoo, conditioner, or soap when you’re about to go on a trip. Having travel bottles that are made of plastic-free materials like these from OneNine5 are a great way to bring what you need, minus the waste. Just fill up the bottles with the products you already have at home, and pack them in your bag for easy access to the brands you use most! Plus, when you’re back home on the east coast, you can even use these travel bottles to fill up on things like laundry detergent and hand soap at your nearest Good Filling Station, the nation’s first-ever self-service refilling machine. It’s a win for you, and a win for the planet!
Kindle For Reading
If you ask us, the ideal day on vacation includes hours in the sun and relaxing with a good read, but packing books can take up some serious space in our bags. For heavy book readers, opting for something like a Kindle is an easy way to have a smaller carbon footprint and extra space in your luggage. As you know, we’re always going to support the most ethical option and to us that means shopping second-hand for books–or even swapping with someone you know!
According to AsYouSow.org, an estimated 400 million toothpaste tubes are discarded every year in the U.S., and at least 1.5 billion globally. The plastic used to make these tubes is non-recyclable, so it ends up in landfills or oceans (if you're lucky enough to be in a place where they throw away recyclables). Even if you don't care about the environmental impact of your personal hygiene products, saving money on buying a new tube of Crest can also be incentive enough for making this switch!
Reef Safe Sunscreen
What does “reef safe” mean, anyways? First, it’s important to know how sunscreen can affect our environment and marine life. When we apply sunscreen, it doesn’t always stay on our skin and jumping into the ocean for a swim can lead to that product washing off. Scientists have discovered that when sunscreen leaves our skin and enters the ocean, the ingredients inside these products can threaten the health of coral reefs.
In order to remove these chemicals that damage the ocean’s ecosystem, brands have now offered a version of sun protection that is deemed “reef safe”. According to Joshua Zeichner, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, “the term reef safe typically means that the sunscreen contains only mineral UV-blocking ingredients like oxide and titanium dioxide.” As a consumer, you have the power to protect these coral ecosystems by choosing the sunscreen that does not use these two ingredients that are known to harm marine life: oxybenzone and octinoxate. Want a list of the best options for reef safe sunscreen that are approved by experts? Travel + Leisure put together a list of 50+ sunscreens that are safe for you and the planet.
Changing our traveling habits is something that doesn’t happen overnight, but it can happen over time, with small changes we commit ourselves to. By supporting businesses that ethically source their products, limit their carbon footprints, and pledge to reducing plastic waste, we can help ensure that their mission is put in front of more people–thus, making this type of ethical consumerism the norm. Whether you’re going camping, taking the train, or driving across the country for your next trip, remember that packing sustainably can and should always start with what you already have. When you’re ready to introduce new items to your everyday routine, this blog is a great place to start!
About Good Filling
Good Filling offers all-natural products for home and body—plus an easy way to help the planet. Enjoy high-quality, name-brand soaps, lotions, detergents, surface sprays, and more. When the bottle is empty, continue using it and get a discounted refill.
Our Good Filling Stations allow consumers to reuse their containers to prevent plastics from entering the waste stream. With Stations across the North East, and many more on their way, we’re bringing convenience to the zero-waste movement. To learn more about Good Filling Stations and to find one near you, click here.