Travel Loot

Swap Your Stuff for No-Plastic Versions of Travel Essentials

by Pavia Rosati
sprouts Use it before you lose it. Photo by Markus Spiske/Unsplash.

My obsession with trying to rid plastic from my life has new grist for the mill. "What Happens to the Plastic We Throw Out," a National Geographic feature that's almost too frightening to read, describes how a speck of land half the size of Manhattan in the middle of the South Pacific is now home to 37 million pieces of plastic. (That's not a typo.) Then, after listening to Dr. Jeffrey Morrison recount the hidden hazards of plastics on Highway to Well, the podcast from Blueprint Cleanse co-founders (and my pals) Erica Huss and Zoƫ Sakoutis, I now know how dangerous plastic is as a vessel for shampoo, SPF, packaged food, and just about everything else I consume. Toxins leech into our bodies from this plastic, wreaking havoc on the endocrine and digestive systems and just about everything else. Important and terrifying!

This all inspired me to look for smart, stylish, and economical replacements for plastic everyday essentials I use at home and on the road. I have a long way to go before I'm plastic-free, but small steps add up. And my new motto holds that the one thing better than recycling is not consuming in the first place.

Shampoo + Conditioner Bars

Unwrapped Life sells plastic-free products for body and home, including laundry and body soaps, dryer balls, lotions, organic bamboo cloths, and a collection for kids and babies. I was especially interested in their shampoo and conditioner bars, which are available as travel sets packaged in attractive gold tins that I will absolutely reuse. Formulations treat all hair types — chemically treated, dry and damaged, oily, thinning — and are made with eco ingredients like essential oils, French green clay, juniper, and calendula. I've been using The Hydrator collection for week and am impressed. (From $35CAD.)

Ayur Copper Water Bottle

Plastic-free designer water bottles are a dime a dozen these days, which is a trend I love. But this copper bottle by Ayur is next level. Ayurvedic principles hold that drinking water from a copper vessel is beneficial for digestion and anti-aging, and I've long used a small copper jug at home for my morning lemon water. But now I can now take my healing water with me in a pretty copper bottle available in 20- and 32-ounce versions for $24 and $28, in smooth (pictured) and hammered versions. They also sell silicon sleeves, but skip those: Silicone, I've learned, is no better than plastic.

Sisal Market Tote

Bon Ton Studio is a Healdsburg, California, company that stocks artisanal goods from around the world, like Nepalese scarves and Indonesian bags. This $38 oversized market tote with a braided handle is handmade in Morocco from palm leaf and leather, and would make an ideal beach bag. Especially if it held an oversized Turkish throw in a nice coral color in a herringbone pattern.

Patch Bamboo Bandages

I never thought I'd get so excited about wound care. But I love these award-winnng, natural adhesive strips made with 100 percent bamboo fiber and shipped in ecofriendly cardboard tubes. The collection includes Cuts & Scratches, Abrasions & Grazes with coconut oil (this one's for kids, in case the pandas didn't give it away), Burns & Blisters with aloe vera, and Bites & Splinters with activated charcoal. Everything is latex-, paraben-, thimerosal- (this was a new one for me), and cruelty-free, and well priced at $6.99 for a tube of 25.

Aglow Face Mist 

I love a mist on a plane. And while this Aglow Face Mist ($16) isn't 100 percent plastic-free, I'm giving it points for its eco cred: It's cruelty-free, vegan, and doesn't contain gluten, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, or synthetic fragrances. But mostly, I want to spread the word about the company's declutter and recycling program. Send an email to and they'll send you a pre-paid shipping label for you to unload all unwanted beauty products from any company.

Blueland Clean-Up Kit

And while you're inspired to turn away from plastic when you're on the go, do it at home, too, by signing up for Blueland's brand new household cleaning kit, which includes three nice-looking reusable, shatterproof spray bottles and scented tablets of non-toxic cleaning solutions for multi-surface (fresh lemon), bathroom (eucalyptus mint), and glass/mirrors (unscented). You just add water, and refills will only cost $2. ($29)

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