10 Wasteful Travel Products to Avoid (and What to Replace Them With)
Counting down to travel is one of the greatest joys that we can have, whether it’s a weekend getaway at a cottage or a trip across the globe. Packing up our must-haves while living away from home, even for a short time can be exciting — and wasteful. While we’re slowly starting to face the reality of sustainability and waste on a global scale, we can utilize everything we’re learning at home and take it abroad.
So, before you take a trip to the drug store to pick up your travel essentials, consider how wasteful all that disposable plastic is, particularly when most other countries (including the US) aren’t nearly as proactive at reducing as Canadians are. Here are 10 wasteful travel products to avoid, and what you can replace them with (even at home).
Dry shampooIsn’t dry shampoo just the best invention? It can help stretch out a blow out for a week, save us after a quick trip to the gym — and is very bad for the environment. While most travel-sized dry shampoo comes in a mini-aerosol can, those aren’t recommended for air travel, and are difficult to dispose of safely.
What to use instead:Although perhaps a bit less well know, dry shampoo also comes in powder form and can be applied with a thick, over-sized blush brush. Powders are made with a combination of baking soda, arrowroot powder, cornstartch and other plant-based ingredients, meaning that not only is the packaging safe, washing it out of your hair will also be totally fine no matter whether you’re staying at luxe resort, or camping in Banff.
Period productsFor people who bleed, very little is worse than getting your moon unexpectedly on holiday. And if you’re in a place where your language knowledge is limited, finding the products you want (or need if you’re suffering a particularly intense period)could be a challenge. And packing a bunch of disposable period products? There are better things to stuff into your carry-on.
What to use instead:Just one single pair of period underpants can save the day. With endless cuts, sizes, and price points, just one pair could make a huge difference. And best of all? They’re hand washable, and take up next to no space in your luggage.
RELATED: 10 new types of underwear you should know about.
Shampoo and conditionerThose little bottles are cute, but oh-so-wasteful! Instead of travelling with liquid shampoo and conditioner, have you considered replacing them with shampoo and conditioner bars?
What to use instead:Brands like Unwrapped Life make shampoo and conditioner bars that are good for your hair and easy to travel with in their own reusable and recyclable tins.
Hair tiesFor those of us who love an up do, hair ties seem to be the easiest thing to lose and the one thing you tend to buy on the road because you inevitably forget to pack several of them before a journey. But they can be wasteful (and expensive) due to unknown materials and excess packaging.
What to use instead:Biodegradable hair ties, made entirely from cotton and natural rubber, with no man made plastics will biodegrade, leaving no trace behind. Exactly what you should aim for when traveling.
Travel sized toothpasteDid you know that toothpaste tubes are usually not recyclable? Some municipalities do collect them, but they need to be cleaned and processed first. So imagine taking that non-reusable or recyclable item overseas and just adding it to a landfill. No thanks!
What to use instead:But before you worry that you won’t be able to brush your teeth on the road, think again! Brands like Lush> offer toothpaste tabs in 100% recyclable and reusable containers. Just one tab and your toothbrush, and you’re good to go.
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Body lotionAbsolutely no one wants dry, itchy skin on vacation, so we usually reach for a tiny, travel sized lotion for our toiletry bag while packing. But like other travel plastics, those tiny bottles of lotion are not always going to be recyclable.
What to use instead:But like other items you might think only come in liquid form, lotion can also come in an easy-to-travel-with, and easy to use bar — so you don’t ever have to get ready, because you’ll always be ready.
ToothbrushIf you’ve ever thought about purchasing one of those little collapsible toothbrushes, think again! The hard plastic they are made from is difficult to recycle, and the quality of tooth brushing is difficult. Plus, they’re usually as expensive or more expensive than your run of the mill drugstore brands.
What to use instead:Instead, why not pick up a two-pack of bamboo toothbrushes? Their biodegradable, and you can keep one at home in case your travel brush doesn’t make it back with you.
RELATED: The healthiest places to travel to in 2020.
Single use makeup remover sheetsRegardless of what it might say on the package, flushable wipes of any kind are absolutely not flushable under most circumstances!
What to use instead:So before you pick up that hydrating pack of disposable makeup wipes, pick up a Makeup Ereaser instead! These soft, reusable makeup wipes can get all makeup (including waterproof!) off simply by adding water, and they last 3-5 years.
Disposable cutleryThis one can get tricky – when we’re travelling, we’re almost always on the go, so eating out is almost a given. But we can forgo the single use cutlery and carry our own easy to clean set of reusables that fit right in their own cute travel case.
What to use instead:And with virtually everything else on this list, you’ll be able to reuse your set long after you’ve returned home from your trip, making your work-day lunches so much more tolerable.
Single use plastic water bottlesPlastic pollution is growing in Canada and around the world. With an estimated 1 billion plastic water bottles in landfills every year in the province of Ontario alone, we should be working to cut our reliance on all plastics – starting with these ubiquitous water bottles.
What to use instead:And while water in many non-Indigenous, Canadian municipalities is totally safe to drink, weather at home or abroad, reusable water bottles are a great option. If you’re traveling light, consider a collapsible one, but if you have the room, pack your favourite stainless steel bottle and hit the road. Happy trails! RELATED: 20 things you definitely shouldn't buy in 2020.