It's no hidden secret that a two-week holiday abroad can have everlasting impacts on our environment. But, even down to the things we pack in our cases to take with us, it has never been easier to be an eco-friendlier traveller. You’d be very surprised about how harmful to the environment our holiday essentials can be. In this list, we break down the ECO-unfriendly things that everyone packs on their holiday and what we can use instead to be a more sustainable traveller.
Planning a holiday in the sun, (or even on the slopes)? If so, then there is no doubt that one of the first items on your checklist is a bottle of sunscreen. Rightly so! The sun’s UV rays can be very harmful to your skin and it is important that you stay protected when out and about on holiday. But, while your sunscreen is protecting you, it could be having a detrimental effect on the environment. According to National Geographic, 14,000 tons of sunscreen is washed into the oceans every year ¹. Following on from this, the chemicals commonly found in some sunscreens have been found to cause damage to the world's coral reefs.
Luckily there are lots of sustainable substitutes. There are plenty of reef safe and zero-waste sunscreens available in high street shops and online that will both protect your skin and the environment.
Shampoo and conditioner might be good for your hair, but the bottle itself isn’t particularly good for the environment. Most shampoo and conditioner bottles tend not to be biodegradable and ultimately contribute to the plastic waste that is polluting our Earth. Not only this, but the added weight from the bottles makes your luggage much heavier. Heavier luggage means more weight on the plane, and the more weight on the plane means the plane works harder and burns more fuel which is harmful to the environment.
A great eco-friendly substitute is shampoo and conditioner bars. They last longer, weigh next to nothing and can be packed in a carry-on since they are not liquid. On top of this, they are also a zero-waste alternative and depending on what brand you choose; they are usually toxin free.
Every year tonnes of plastic toothbrushes are thrown away and end up getting dumped into our oceans or end up in landfills. Your average plastic toothbrush is sourced from a non-renewable fossil fuel and takes years to finally break down and dissolve.
Once again there is an easy and eco-friendly alternative that comes in the form of bamboo toothbrushes. Bamboo is a fully biodegradable natural plant meaning it is a renewable and sustainable resource. Bamboo is also one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet so we do not have to worry about running out any time soon.
Unfortunately, bamboo toothbrushes are not 100% biodegradable as most toothbrush bristles are still made of nylon. However, Bamboo toothbrushes are still a massive leap to reducing plastic waste in the environment.
Similar to shampoo and conditioner bottles, body wash bottles are also not biodegradable and contribute to the plastic waste that is polluting the planet. Like shampoo and conditioner bottles, body wash bottles also contribute to the added weight of your luggage. Once again, a much eco-friendlier substitute is biodegradable wrapped soap bars. You can add it to your carry-on, it will last longer, weigh less and the biodegradable wrap means the soap bars will add no contribution to the plastic waste problem.
Although deodorant cans nowadays don't produce harmful gas to the Earth's Ozone layer, they still produce gas propellants that contribute to air pollution and climate change. Not only this, they come in non-recyclable packaging ultimately contributing to landfill and causing pollution in our environment. However, none of us wants to smell bad so you might be hesitant to make the switch to a natural deodorant. However, nowadays it is not too difficult to find non-toxic, aluminium and plastic-free deodorants.
A little bonus of using eco-friendly deodorant is that you won't have to worry about yellow stains! Most of us can agree that one of the most frustrating things in life is when you go to put on your favourite white top to see that it has been stained by deodorant use. The yellow stains come from the mix of ingredients and aluminium so if you want to save your favourite top then that is even more reason to switch to a natural deodorant bar.
That concludes our list of surprisingly eco-unfriendly things that we all pack for our trip away. But what is most surprising is how easy it is to be better and switch to products that contribute to helping our planet by reducing plastic waste and stopping any contributions to landfill. Another thing to think about before your next summer stayaway!
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