How to Create a Zero Waste Travel Toiletry Bag
Planning a trip? A big part of traveling includes not just where we will go or what we will do but also what we will bring. For us to decrease our negative impact on the environment we have to think very carefully about what we will take with us while traveling. Will these items help us reduce waste? Lets look into first why we need to be mindful of our impact while traveling, and then how you can do this while preparing a zero waste travel toiletry bag.
Why Travel Isn’t Zero Waste
Tourism is historically not very eco friendly at all. Why not? For one, just getting to your destination can be very polluting. For example, one roundtrip flight from California to New York produces 20% of the carbon emissions your car emits over a full year. This obviously becomes greater the further you travel. Thus producing a lot of carbon emissions.
Tourists are also notoriously wasteful. In fact, American tourists can produce 4+ pounds of waste per person per day. With thousands of tourists traveling each day this quickly creates a lot of waste. It is also important to remember that many countries don’t have a good waste collection program causing waste to end up in the environment. Animals often mistakenly eat this waste, plus it pollutes water ways and other areas ruining the environment.
These problems make it more and more obvious that we need to be conscious of our waste, even when on vacation! But how can we do that? There are several options including carbon offsetting, disposing of trash properly, and much more. But we are going to focus on just one simple way you can travel eco friendly, by creating a zero waste toiletry bag.
Zero Waste Travel Toiletry bag Essentials
By creating a zero waste toiletry bag you can cut out the waste created by shampoo and conditioner bottles, face care bottles and packaging, disposable face wipes and cotton swabs, and much more! So lets start creating our zero waste travel toiletry bag with these basic essentials.
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Shampoo and Conditioner
Shampoo and Conditioner bottles are most often found in plastic that can’t always be recycled creating further waste. Think about how often you go through these bottles, that ends up being several bottles of each per year! That ends up being a lot of plastic especially when thousands of people are using them. When traveling though, we create even more waste by using lots of the travel sized bottles and throwing them away. There is one simple solution to this-shampoo and conditioner bars!
Shampoo and conditioner bars are so great because they require no packaging, often last much longer than liquid shampoos, and are so easy to use! They are shampoo in a bar soap-like form and just like bar soap once they are all used up there is no packaging to throw away! It is also easier to find shampoo bars with more natural and healthier ingredients than in most liquid shampoos. Plus, shampoo bars are solid which means it doesn’t have to abide by the liquids rule when traveling! This saves you space, allows you to bring more liquids if you need to, and guarantees you have enough shampoo for your trip! If you want to read more about why you should use a shampoo bar, check out my post here.
I created this list below of four great shampoo bars (all available on Amazon!) that are all natural, and either palm oil free or made with only sustainable palm oil!
If you’re like me then you are religious about washing your face. I have suffered from terrible acne in the past and don’t want to repeat it so I wash my face twice a day always. Because of this, I would go through a plastic bottle of face wash every 2-3 months and then have to throw it away! Very wasteful. Yet I have found a great solution! I switched to using facial bar soaps. Just like the shampoo bars and other bar soaps these do not need packaging and once they’re finished there’s nothing to throw away! Another benefit of this is that these last so much longer! I bought a small travel sized face soap to try out from a local soap maker and it’s been three months and I’m not even half way done with it!
Another benefit to facial soaps is you can buy them locally which helps you to support more local businesses. I often find them at my local farmers market, you can read my farmers market shopping guide here.
Another part of my skin care routine is of course moisturizer. I use this recipe to create my own moisturizer for my face but you can use it anywhere on your skin! I put mine in a small reused essential oil bottle to reduce waste and space needed for this product. It is very effective and easy to pack! Find my recipe here.
To apply my facial soap and to exfoliate my face I use a organic locally grown loofa to do that. This is eco friendly because 1. its organic and didn’t use any toxic pesticides, 2. it’s local which means I supported my community and it didn’t have to travel far, and 3. because it’s natural it can be composted at the end of it’s life! Plus it is very healthy for your skin!
If you are used to using cotton swabs to remove makeup or apply toners and etc. to your face you can switch to reusable organic cotton or bamboo rounds! This can be used again and again by being thrown in the washer, and are organic! Since these are natural as well they too can be composted at the end of their life. You can find some great organic bamboo rounds on Amazon for a great price!
Although I am currently using up the rest of my plastic toothbrush, once I have deemed it useless I will be getting a this bamboo one. Because bamboo is a very fast growing plant it is very sustainable. Once you are done using a bamboo toothbrush you can compost it as well!
As far as zero waste toothpaste goes you can make your own or you can buy it. There are recipes like Eco Goddess’s vegan zero waste toothpaste or you can choose to buy either this one that I’ve heard great things about or tooth paste tabs. I personally have not yet tried either of these but I have heard lots of good reviews. You and your dentist know what’s good for your teeth so be careful and do your research!
You can even buy silk floss that can be composted instead of the plastic floss that must be thrown away. Although the waste from floss is small you can still reduce this small amount of waste by switching to silk floss in a glass container!
Travel Toiletry Bag or Case
The actual bag that you store these items in can be eco friendly in many ways! You can choose a bag made from organic natural materials, recycled materials, or even a up-cycled case! When choosing a bag you can also find some that are fair trade. I use a up-cycled danish cookie tin to store my soaps while I travel!
You can find some great fair trade travel toiletry bags below!
Make Your Travel Toiletry Bag Unique to You
As you can see there are many different things to add to your zero waste travel toiletry bag, and many ways to create it! Some other items you may need is shaving supplies, lip balm, makeup, and more! Obviously these are only the essentials and there is so much more you can add or subtract depending on your needs. Find what you need, make your travel toiletry bag unique to you, but don’t forget to make it zero waste!
What zero waste items do you pack in your travel toiletry bag? What other items would you like me to add to this list? Share with me in the comments!