We all know that as travellers we can drastically budget our money to enable the trip to be as long as it could possibly be so being eco-friendly is not necessary the most affordable option.
Colin and I recently embarked on a 4 month road trip which covered 26,000km around Australia whilst living in the back of a car. During this particular trip, I constantly had a brain battle over being budget conscious against being eco-friendly with the latter usually playing out for the win! So I wanted to share a few choices we made to reduce our footprint.
Use a reusable coffee cup
I travelled with a KeepCup which was my one stop shop for all things liquid. I used it for coffee, juice, water, gravy, soup, wine – you name it! It’s glass, so not only sustainable but good for both hot and cold liquid. You can choose from lots of different brands and materials, here’s a few different eco-friendly options:
** SIDE NOTE** If you do ever forget your reusable cup, at least refuse a lid of the disposable ones in shops as they are usually plastic which is much harder to break down. Then you can have your coffee and not feel guilty because we all know that COFFEE IS LIFE!
Always carry re-usable shopping bags
Reduce plastic waste by carrying reusable bags with you for your shopping. I always have an eco-friendly Cotton On tote bag in my handbag as lots of shops have either banned selling plastic bags or they charge you a fee per bag. Don’t get caught out! Even in Asian countries, a lightweight cotton reusable bag is a better alternative to heaps of plastic bags they usually offer and I even used mine in Bali supermarkets when we bought beers and snacks!
Choose natural toiletries
Not only are the eco-friendly natural options for toiletries lightweight, they tend to be cheaper as they last longer in my experience. Find natural soaps, shampoos, conditioners, face wash, creams and even toothpaste. These can be used when showering/ washing on the go, in the wild or the outback, as they just need dirt to breakdown the ingredients. Please remember that although biodegradable, you should never use them directly in the rivers or ocean.
You can buy heaps of different products online or at markets. The products I use:
- Hair Shampoo: Lush shampoo bars (Honey I Washed my Hair)
- Hair Conditioner: Lush conditioner bars (Jungle)
- Soaps: I often buy handmade soaps from local markets and sometimes make them myself. The last bar I bought was from My Soap at Eumundi Markets in Australia.
- Toothpaste: Grants of Australia
Another added bonus of choosing natural toiletries that aren’t liquids is that they can be taken in your hand luggage on planes with no drama.
Buy bamboo or biodegradable wipes
Whilst travelling we all need a little wet wipe from time to time as they are not only useful for us girls to remove our make-up but for all manner of occasions which we won’t go into! On the road in Australia we were burning through wipes as we didn’t always have shower/ water access every day, so I made a conscious effort to find bamboo wipes as they are eco-friendly and break down, they also do not contain plastic like many normal branded wipes.
I didn’t use a particular brand as it’s pretty much buy what you can find in the small towns of Oz but I’ve read that Naty are good for disposable wipes and Cheeky Wipes make some awesome reusable cotton ones.
Swap your plastic toothbrush for bamboo
I have been to Bali a few times now and often see the plastic part of the toothbrush washed up from the ocean on to the beach. Seeing this made us swap up to using a bamboo toothbrush. Now these are slightly more expensive and do take a little getting used too but once you’ve perfected your technique, you won’t notice the difference. Make this easy eco-friendly change today.
Say NO to plastic straws
Lots of countries now only offer cardboard, metal or bamboo straws with your smoothie as a plastic alternative. Some do not offer straw options at all. If you are partial to a straw with your beverage, carry an eco-friendly one with you. You can buy 4 metal ones with a cleaner for just over £5 – Save the turtles!
– Extra Eco-friendly Tips for Camping –
Opt for biodegradable kitchenware
Now these were a little pricey compared to your camping bits from Kmart but they are reusable and once you’re done with them, you can bury them in the ground and they decompose in a few years. I did some research and chose the bamboo range from Eco Soul Life which cost us about $35AUD (£20) for 2 plates and 2 bowls. They also do a planet and husk range that’s worth checking out which are made from different base ingredients; all natural and biodegradable.
Choose biodegradable bin bags
You may think that it’s ok if you get a carrier bag from the supermarket and reuse it for rubbish right? Although it has a double use, it is not actually helping the plastic issue we are currently facing on a global scale. You can purchase biodegradable bin bags from your local supermarket which will breakdown over a short space of time. Also, try to fill them up to the top to minimise use.
Make the Tupperware upgrade
We all know that gauging pasta portions is an art-form so food storage options are a must have when on the road. Tupperware is a great, easy and cheap option but choose to swap out the plastic for glass as it’s better for the environment and your body. You can also choose biodegradable alternatives.
Find Clingfilm replacements
Choose to replace clingfilm by using cotton napkins to wrap sandwiches (short term) or beeswax alternatives. Food bowls can even be covered with a shower cap, crazy I know as it’s plastic but it can be washed and reused. There are many alternatives now available online.
Make the sustainable choice and help our planet as we can all make a difference.