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This list of affordable plastic alternatives for travelers includes 10 must-have items for your next adventure. Every item on this list is under $20 and is easy to pack in your carry on or day bag. Most of the plastic we use is easily avoidable! Plus, buying one reusable item now will save you money in the long run when you don’t have to buy the same throwaway products over and over again.
These Reusable Straws
Straws have been in the news a lot lately regarding their damage to sea creatures and our oceans, and with good reason! Straws are one of the top ocean pollutants. I was in Santa Barbara recently and learned that the city has banned all straws in restaurants or bars. Even though I didn’t bring a reusable straw with me during our night out (I’m still learning, too!) it was actually really easy to go without one. The good news is that if you are a straw lover, there are fantastic alternatives out there, from silicone to stainless steel to bamboo.
As my first step towards choosing plastic alternatives, I recently purchased this set of bamboo straws, which even comes with a handy straw cleaner. They’re biodegradable, easy to clean, and work like a charm!
This Reusable Food Wrap
If you bring your lunch to work, on the plane/train, or while traveling, you are probably used to sealing your sandwich in a zip-lock bag or piece of plastic wrap. This reusable food wrap is made of beeswax and is 100% recyclable and biodegradable and is such an easy plastic alternative.
You can also wash it with water and let it air dry to be reused again and again! The pack contains 3 pieces – small, medium, and large to fit any of your food preservation needs. The large piece also includes a button and string attached to the wrap so that you can securely fasten your wrap closed.
This Set of Bamboo Silverware
This 4-piece cutlery set includes a fork, spoon, knife, and set of chopsticks. It even comes in a carrying case to keep everything together, offering two plastic alternatives for one! The case is made of 100% recycled water bottles and includes a carabiner for attaching to a backpack. Bamboo is heat and stain resistant and won’t absorb flavors, so you can use your set for a long while.
This Bamboo Toothbrush
I switched to a bamboo toothbrush about six months ago and have never looked back! The handle is made of 100% bamboo and the bristles are made with charcoal which helps whiten your teeth. Rather than contributing to a landfill when it’s time for a new toothbrush, these bamboo toothbrushes are biodegradable!
This Collapsible Water Bottle
I used this exact water bottle on my trip to the Amazon Rainforest and it was a lifesaver. When it’s empty, it is completely flat and takes up no room at all in your suitcase. Although this water bottle is made with plastic, there are plenty of plastic alternatives out there as well. I like this one because it flattens so well and that makes me more likely to pack it with me.
This Collapsible Coffee Cup
I don’t even want to think about how many empty Starbucks cups I have thrown away over the years. If you’re out and about, it can be difficult to carry a travel mug with you. This collapsible cup, however, becomes tiny so it can fit in any bag!
These Reusable Shopping Bags
One of the most common plastic alternatives, these shopping bags come in a set of 5 and fold down neatly for storage when not in use. The hardest part of using reusable shopping bags is remembering to bring them into the store with you, but once you get into the habit you will be fine!
This TSA Approved Toiletry Bag
This toiletry bag is cuter, simpler, and more convenient than zip-lock bags. Since it’s designed to hold toiletries, your mini bottles will actually fit well inside and won’t rip the bag, etc.
These TSA Approved Toiletry Bottles
I purchased these bottles a few months ago and traveling with toiletries has never been easier! What’s great about these is that you’re eliminating two troubles in your life: the waste of throwaway plastic shampoo bottles, and the hassle of having to go to the store to buy travel-size products before every trip. With these bottles, you can just pour your existing shampoo/conditioner/etc. into the bottles and then move the label dial to the correct place so you know what is inside each bottle. The bottles also have suction cups on their sides for sticking to the walls in the shower.
Do you already use any of these reusable products? Are you planning to make any changes in your plastic choices soon? Once you start finding ways to replace plastic, others seem to pop up everywhere! Our world is not made of unlimited resources and it’s important that each of us takes small steps everyday to stop the cycle of waste that is so normal for our society today. Let me know in the comments if you have any great plastic alternatives not mentioned here!