9 Products to Help You Eliminate Single-Use Plastics When Traveling

All those tiny plastic shampoo bottles, plastic forks and bottled water add up fast. Here are a few ways you can minimize your plastic footprint next time you travel, whether it's across the world or just across town.

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August 03, 2018

Reading statistics about plastic waste that ends up in rivers and oceans is pretty grim. It can often seem like an unfixable problem: How much could you possibly do as one person to put a dent in the damage that's already been done?

One relatively easy thing you can do is work hard to avoid single-use plastics when you travel. Here are nine ultralight products you can take on your next trip to minimize your footprint.

From Grayl

As long as you have Grayl’s adventure travel water purifier with you, you never need to drink bottled water ever again. This filter is perfect for any adventure traveler, whether you’re backpacking in the Colombian Andes or spending a week in Mexico City. It filters out more than 99.999 percent of viruses, bacteria and protozoa, as well as dirt, chemicals like chlorine and heavy metals like lead and arsenic. That means you can safely drink water from nearly any tap, stream, lake or puddle in the world. Yes, it’s a bit pricier than a bottle of water. But it’s likely to pay for itself pretty quickly if you’d otherwise be forced to pay a buck or two several times a day to stay hydrated.

BUY IT: Amazon, $59.95

From Vapur

Paired with the Grayl, Vapur’s flat-pack Eclipse bottle is a must-have for any traveler. Unlike many other flat-pack bottles, it has a pour spout instead of a sporty pop-top, so you can drink normally. The 1-liter size is perfect for backpacks and large purses and it stands upright on its own and won’t collapse on itself as you empty it. When you’re not using it, it rolls up roughly to the size of a deck of cards.

BUY IT: Amazon, $11.59

To-Go Ware’s reusable utensil kit is a must-have for daily life as well as frequent travel. You can easily clip it to a backpack, purse or belt loop, so it’s a constant reminder to say no to single-use plastics.

BUY IT: Amazon, $12.95

From MiiR

Next time the flight attendant comes by with the drink cart, pull out MiiR's Vacuum Insulated Tumbler instead of accepting a single-use plastic or waxed paper cup. The 8-oz size is perfect for cup holders, carry-ons and purses, but it’s also available in 6- and 12-oz sizes for those of us who need more caffeine.

BUY IT: Amazon, $15.95

From Matador

Skip the tiny soaps in your hotel and bring your own bar instead. Matador’s FlatPak Soap Bar Case packs completely flat and is almost weightless at less than half an ounce. Unlike a ziptop baggie, moisture can evaporate through the waterproof fabric, so you won’t turn your soap into a sloppy sludge pile by storing it in here.

BUY IT: Matador, $12.99

From Matador

The single-use plastic shampoo, conditioner and lotion bottles you get in your hotel room every day add up quickly. Instead, use Matador’s FlatPak Toiletry Bottles, which are far more user-friendly than stiff plastic toiletry bottles and way more space-efficient, too.

BUY IT: Matador, $12.99

Instead of packing a zillion zip-top baggies for snacks, sandwiches and other small items, make a little pouch out of Bee's Wrap instead. These food-friendly wrappers made of organic cotton, beeswax, tree resin and organic jojoba oil are intended to replace single-use plastic wrap. Rinse them off between uses, and then compost them once they're eventually worn out.

BUY IT: Amazon, $21.00

Hundreds of millions of plastic straws are used and tossed in the United States every day. You can play a small role in eliminating this waste by asking your server not to give you a straw when you order at a restaurant. If you really like straws, you can bring your own. Check out FinalStraw, a collapsible metal straw that fits in a case the size of your car key, which is taking pre-ordered products to mail out later this year.

BUY IT: FinalStraw, $20

Many cities around the United States have started to charge customers for each bag they use, and several have instituted flat-out plastic bag bans as well. Avoid single-use bags by bringing your own, like Sea to Summit's Ultra-Sil Shopping Bag, which weighs only 1.6 ounces and packs down almost as small as an ice cube.

BUY IT: Sea to Summit, $19.95

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