Tonight I wanted to share with you some of my favourite reusable and/or biodegradable products which come in handy not only in day to day life, but also when traveling. A few of these happen to be made locally to my area, and I would recommend trying to source similar products made in your local area before sourcing those from further afield. This, of course, further reduces the environmental impact and who doesn’t love that!?
1) Biodegradable Phone Case from Pela
We all take our phones along when we travel, poised to take that perfect vacation selfie or wildlife video. When I recently upgraded my iPhone I went searching the web for biodegradable or recycled phone cases. The best type I could find, Pela Case, uses a flax-based plastic like material which is compostable and biodegradable. They are also a Canadian company who recently moved their headquarters to Kelowna, a huge coincidence!
I immediately placed my order and was absolutely thrilled with the product and purchase experience. Not only is my new case soft and gripped easily in my palm, but the case came in a recycled paper envelope with no unnecessary packaging. I chose a lavender color from the many on offer, all of which will fit almost every phone out there. Even better, they also donate 1% of profits to environmental charities. I felt so satisfied supporting the company and recommend them to everyone the next time you are in the market for a new case you can feel good about.
2) Reusable Straws
A sea turtle pays the price for our over-reliance on single use plastic.
Recently, footage of a sea turtle with a plastic straw wedged in it’s nostril was the wake up call heard around the world – we are throwing away an astonishing number of plastic straws after using them for minutes. They end up in landfills and in our oceans.
Alternatives to the plastic straw include those made of paper, glass, stainless steel, and even bamboo. I have switched to the stainless steel version, but it all depends on your personal preference. Reusable straws are simple to carry with you when you travel, fitting nicely inside your bag or purse. Browse some of the options on amazon.ca now!
3) Reusable ‘Keep Cup’ Coffee Cups
Chances are you go through a lot of takeaway cups of coffee in your daily life. This is also true when we travel. Carrying a travel mug or reusable coffee cup such as the Keep Cup will reduce the number of ‘to go’ coffee cups you throw away, a huge win for the environment. In the US alone, 50 Billion paper coffee cups are thrown away each year!
I really like my Keep Cup as it is the closest look, feel, and performance to a traditional paper coffee cup. They are available in either plastic or glass, come in some really interesting colours and after 6 months of use mine is still like new. I recently noticed several single use coffee cups ending up in the garbage at work, so I went and bought a couple extra Keep Cups for everyone to share, and so far they have been a huge hit. That’s one thing about finding a sustainable product I really enjoy – I just can’t wait to tell everyone I know about it!
4. Natural Sunscreen
I have always chosen natural sunscreen when at all possible, as I am hyper aware of chemicals being applied to my skin. More recently, as one fifth of the world’s coral reefs have died off, there is a growing awareness of the role sunscreen is playing. Toxic ingredients in conventional sunscreen can kill developing coral, increase bleaching, and even damage the DNA of the reef. Luckily, there is much we can do!
For now consumers who want to protect their skin without harming corals need to look for “reef-safe” products that are biodegradable, contain mineral sunblocks (with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) instead of chemical blockers, and without nanoparticles (and thus designated “non-nano”).
If you remember back to one of my earlier blogs, I talked about the island nation of Palau and their outright ban on harmful sunscreens, a ban which is about to be passed in Hawaii as well. Make the change now and your body and the oceans will thank you!
5) Reusable Shopping Bags
Many of us, me included, will indulge in some shopping while we are traveling. Whether stepping out to the local farmer’s market, grabbing some groceries for the hotel kitchenette, or even indulging in some hardcore retail therapy – you are likely to find yourself in a “would you like a bag for that?” scenario.
My reusable bag of choice are EnviroSax. I first encountered them about 8 years ago and mine is still working like brand new. They are so easy to fold up and keep in your purse (and suitcase!) that you will soon find yourself stopping every well-meaning cashier in their tracks with a joyful, “no thanks, I have my own bag!”
Envirosax bags are lightweight, portable, waterproof and can last up to five years, each one potentially replacing 5,000 one-use plastic bags over their lifetime!
Shop their website or if you have a Nature’s Fare grocery store near you, that is where I purchased mine for about $7!
So there you have my TOP 5 Sustainable products to travel with – please comment and share your own faves, and I can’t wait to see what everyone else can’t travel without!