Curious to see what sort of zero waste items and products I always pack along for a trip? Then you’re in the right place! If you’re looking to be a bit more sustainable while on the road, keep reading to find out my 15 favorite zero waste, sustainable essentials I never leave behind.
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As a sustainable traveler, I’m constantly on the hunt for easy ways to reduce my environmental footprint and increase my positive impact on the earth!
Whether it’s reducing my plastic consumption or discovering ways I can support local communities, there are TONS of different paths to sustainability.
For this specific guide I thought I’d focus on my favorite zero waste items that essentially produce zero or very minimal waste! Ready to check ’em out?
MY FAVORITE ZERO WASTE THINGS TO PACK ALONG FOR A TRIP
This is one I seriously can’t go without!
Whether I’m backpacking Southeast Asia where the water is unsafe to drink or hiking in Wales where I might want a quick drink of cold mountain water, the Grayl is essential in delivering safe, clean H2O.
If you’ve never heard of the Grayl before, take a look at this video talking about what it is and why it’s so freakin’ awesome.
Additionally, check it out on Amazon to read all the raving reviews and get one for yourself!
These are so darn handy when traveling around and you want to have a meal but all the place has are plastic utensils!
Or if you’re road tripping around the USA and make your meals from the back of a van (yes, I’ve done that!).
Ultimately, they’re fantastic for just reducing your plastic utensils usage when not at home! These bamboo utensils are easy to pack and come in a cute little carrier to keep everything together.
Bonus: I always always always keep a stainless steel straw in my utensils bundle. Get your own here!
Okay, okay, you might be thinking why the heck does this girl carry around both a water bottle AND a mug?
Because when I’m flying around or traveling on the road, it’s handy to keep my water bottle filled with hydrating H2O and use my mug for hot drinks, like tea or coffee!
Plus, when I’m on an airplane, I use my mug for complimentary drinks! The flight attendants are always happy to fill it up with the drink of my choice.
Additionally, when I was backpacking around Southeast Asia earlier this year, I also used it for things like ice cream, smoothies, and food from street stalls! It was unbelievably handy.
Have you heard of zero waste toothpaste yet? There are a few out there stirring up the sustainable community and they’re all awesome!
Whether you want to stay zero waste in the bathroom with toothpaste in a jar or — a very popular option — toothpaste tablets, it’s easy to make the switch from regular toothpaste to a more eco-friendly option.
Get your own jarred toothpaste here.
Before this year, I’d never even heard of a salt stick as deodorant and now I’m hooked!
As salt is a natural bacteria killer and germ destroyer, it works by killing off all the nasty bacteria causing any smelliness. While the salt stick itself usually doesn’t have scent to it (which you may or may not like), it does the trick in preventing any weird body odor!
If you want to give it a try, get your own deodorant salt stick here.
As someone who’s backpacked through Southeast Asia in the blazing sun, I can wholeheartedly say this minimal, natural sunscreen does the job just fine at preventing painful sunburns!
Not to mention it’s safe for the oceans, contains less than 5 ingredients, comes in a zero-waste tin container, and is carry-on friendly! I’d call that a win.
Want some for yourself? Get it here.
Whether you’re needing a reusable bag for a cheeky farmers’ market or one for the bulk section at a grocery store, they’re incredibly handy and essential when avoiding any nasty plastic!
Personally, I love to carry them around in my purse or backpack because they’re so small and lightweight! Not to mention, they’re really useful for carrying around snacks — no one likes to get hungry when wandering around a new destination!
Interested in trying out reusable cotton bags? Here are my favorite.
For the past year or so, I’ve been using sustainable bamboo toothbrushes and I couldn’t be more thrilled at how great they are!
Swapping out your regular, plastic toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush is not only great for the earth, as it breaks down much faster, it’s also still just as effective at removing plaque and keeping your teeth pearly white!
If you want to grab one for yourself, I personally use this one.
Can we just talk about how freakin’ awesome menstrual cups are for a quick sec? Hands down the most sustainable option for periods, my favorite menstrual cup is called the Blossom Cup.
I’m not going to go into much detail about this miraculous little thing, as you can read all about it in this post, but holy f*ck, if you haven’t considered switching to a period cup yet, do yourself a favor and just try it out!
Check out the Blossom Cup and its raving reviews here.
While coconut oil has lost a bit of its buzz about being the best “healthy” oil to eat, it’s still my go-to oil for a number of other things!
You can use coconut oil to remove makeup remover (it’s surprisingly effective!), moisturize the skin, protect damaged hair (as a hair mask), improve wound healing (this was key after a nasty motorbike accident I had!), heal ragged cuticles, and more.
Don’t have any coconut oil on hand? This one comes in a carry-on friendly size!
Although I carry around my filtering water bottle often, sometimes it just makes more sense to carry around something smaller to filter water with — and that’s where the lightweight and easy to use LifeStraw comes in!
Just last weekend, I lost my filtering water bottle and couldn’t find it in time for a camping trip. Thus, I had to use the LifeStraw instead and it worked perfectly!
I just filled up a water bottle with mountain water, stuck in the LifeStraw, and had a refreshing drink!
While this definitely isn’t an essential item if you have a Grayl, it’s cool to keep on hand — just in case! Get your own here.
12. Baking Soda
Now you might be wondering why the heck I carry a jar of baking soda with me around the world? It surprisingly has an array of uses!
Personally, I use it to wash my hair in between shampoo bar washes! It not only cleans the hair, but also refrains from stripping the scalp of natural oils — which are meant to be there.
This baking soda hair wash is also called the “no poo” method! You can find out more about that here.
Additionally, baking soda can be used to remove stains, in a DIY toothpaste, whiten teeth, eliminate heartburn, and more! It’s pretty darn handy to travel with.
13. Jar of Nooch (aka Nutritional Yeast)
Lemme get one thing straight: every single vegan is addicted to nooch!
In fact, there’s a saying in the vegan community that it’s vegan crack. (And hey, I can attest to its addictive taste!)
Anywho, I like to carry it around not only because I literally put it on everything but also due to its high nutritional value!
But what I really want to talk about is the jar…
While carrying around a weird jar adds a little extra weight to your pack, it comes in handy when you might want something to put small or bulk things in! Like bobby pins, hair ties, nuts and seeds, earrings, etc.
Or in my case, baking soda!
After doing two separate trips in Southeast Asia — one with anti-bug balm and one without — I’ve learned to carry this stuff around with me everywhere!
Not only is it fabulous at preventing bug bites and irritating buzzers, it also comes in a reusable (or easily recyclable) tin!
15. Shampoo Bar
Although this isn’t featured in the full photo above, I now never travel without my zero waste shampoo bar!
An easy way to skip out on the plastic that comes along with typical shampoo and conditioner bottles, switching to a shampoo bar is seriously smart.
While my favorite brand is Lush, as I can easily pick up a shampoo bar from one of their stores in Chester, England (where I’m based at the moment) or Minnesota, I’ve also used this one from Amazon and it’s great!
Well, folks! There you have it; my favorite zero waste things to take along with me on my travels and adventures!
If you’re looking to be a more sustainable traveler, swapping out your everyday items with these or simply adding them into your life when you have a chance is an easy way to do so.
As a personal user of all these items, I know they’re fabulous and truly make a difference in my eco-friendliness impacts!
Do you use zero waste items? Or are you trying to be more sustainable? Let me know in the comments and if you have any eco-tips for other readers!
People who liked this post also read these:
- 20 Simple Ways to Practice Ecotourism
- Plastic-Free Travel Tips
- How to Have a #PlasticFreeJuly Every Month
- 10 Easy Swaps to Have a More Eco-Friendly Summer
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