Travel make look a little different this year, but just because you’re exploring closer to home doesn’t mean you can’t be smart about packing items that will help keep your adventures planet-friendly. Whether you’re staycationing in Scotland, cycling in the Cotswolds or living it up in the Lakes, pack these 15 eco-friendly beauty and travel essentials to avoid using single-use plastic on your UK travels.
15 Eco-friendly essentials for UK adventures
1, Mini tins, £3, Kempii
Say no to throwaway mini shampoos and shower gels – these dinky little toiletry tins are ideal for packing lotions and potions for weekends away. They last for years, can be easily labelled with a chinagraph pencil and are easy to fill up with soaps and solid shampoo bars. Each tin holds 30ml of product, fitting in with airline carry-on restrictions, and they fit my favourite Lush solid shampoo bars inside perfectly.
2, Environmental toothbrush, £2.65, Boobalou
Brush better with a BPA free, fair traded and vegan friendly toothbrush. The Environmental toothbrush is made with ethically sourced bamboo, which is a great natural alternative material to plastic as it’s regenerating and needs no pesticides in order to grow. The Environmental toothbrush is available with soft, medium or hard bristles, and you can even compost the handle when it’s time to replace it every few months.
3, Keyring shopping bag, £6, Hammockology
Strong but lightweight hammock material isn’t just great for naps – it always makes brilliant reusable shopping bags. Hammockology’s roomy tote folds up into a dinky keyring when you aren’t using it, so you can bring a planet-friendly shopper with you on your travels without it taking up space (or just make sure you always have a bag on hand when you nip to the shops – they’re hardy enough to use for your groceries). These clever bags come in an array of bright colours.
4, Metal straw, £4, Sand Cloud
Do your bit to keep dangerous disposable plastic straws out of the ocean with a reusable metal straw you can take with you wherever you roam (and wherever you stop for cocktails on your travels). Sand Cloud’s simple stainless steel straw comes with a cleaning brush and a burlap travel pouch, and 10% of profits also go towards marine conservation charities. Sand Cloud also sell great reef-friendly sunscreen and reusable water bottles.
5, Naked shave kit, £26.99, Wearth London
Like to shave your legs? Keep ’em smooth without resorting to disposable plastic razors with this smart-as-anything shaving set from Wearth. The rather beautiful metal and wood razor is made in the UK also comes with a vegan, paraben-free orange and lavender shaving balm and five more razor heads, all packaged in recycled cardboard. So pretty, you’ll look forward to shower time so you can whip it out. A bamboo-handled version is also available for £28.97.
6, F**k Plastic book, £4.90, Skinny Dip
Meet your new bible for plastic-free living. In their words, “is the thought of plastic in the ocean keeping you up at night? Don’t panic! The war on plastic has begun, and you can help.” This dinky little book lists 101 things you can replace with an eco-friendly option, from festival glitter to period essentials, and makes ditching plastic seem easy, not a headache. One to refer to when you’re next packing your suitcase.
7, Chilly’s reusable water bottle, from £20, Chilly’s
A reusable water bottle is one of the easiest and most effective purchases you can make towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle, and if you’re using your new flask every day instead of single-use plastic bottles, it might as well be as cheerful as a brightly-hued stainless steel Chilly’s bottle – the brand regularly collaborate with artists and illustrators to create unique designs. Chilly’s insulated bottles are leak-proof and keep cold drinks cold for 12 hours and hot drinks hot for 24.
8, Scrubba wash bag, £42.17, Scrubba
Believe it or not, this bag small enough to fit in your pocket is a washing machine. The genius Scrubba contains rubber nodules similar to a traditional washboard – place clothes, detergent and hot water inside and get physical with it for a minute for decently clean clothes with zero mess. Perfect if you’re planning camping or campervan adventures in the UK, and the Scrubba even doubles as a dry bag when not in use.
9, Davy J swimsuits, from £60, Davy J
Sustainable swimwear is a planet-friendly way to show you care about plastic pollution in the ocean. Devon-based brand Davy J uses 100% regenerated nylon yard collected from ghost fishing nets to make their beautifully cut swimsuits and bikinis, and as 640,000 tons of nets are discarded in the ocean each year, it’s a small but symbolically important style step to take. Davy J will even recycle your swimwear at the end of its life.
10, Solid New shampoo bar, from £8, Lush
Not all solid shampoos are created equal, and in my quest to find one that works as well as a liquid shampoo I’ve tried a few bars that leave my hair pretty greasy. Not so Lush’s cinnamon-scented New bar – it looks like soap and smells like your spice rack, but really does work like shampoo. Just rub on your hair until you create a lather, then let the bar dry after use. No packaging required = a good move for the planet.
11, Lifestraw GO filtering water bottle, £44, WildBounds
One potential challenge on remote adventures is carrying enough water. As well as making sure you have plenty of fresh water, carry this genius bottle – it can filter any water source except for sea water and render it safe to drink, making it a lifesaver in an emergency. I’ve used mine for a few years now, filtering river, lake and even glacial water on the go and always carrying my bottle as a backup in case I do run out of fresh water on the trail. Surely the hardest-working refillable bottle you could own.
12. Baby bars, £19 for the set, Drunk Elephant
Have bars, will travel. Even the most soap-phobic will love washing their faces with these gentle cleansers, which clean road-weary faces using mineral clays and bamboo powder and without stripping away any moisture. The Juji bar is exfoliating, the Pekee bar is moisturising and they come in a travel-ready zipped pack. As they’re solid, these bars are a breeze to get through security, and are easy to pop in your backpack without having to resort to plastic bottles.
13, Mooncup, £21.99, Boots
Having your period should never get in the way of fun on your travels. But if you’re sick of using tampons and are considering switching to something more eco-friendly, try a Mooncup. These flexible silicone cups are a safe alternative to wasteful pads and tampons, and if you’re off travelling, you only need to pack one cup – less hassle, less expensive and far more planet friendly than traditional sanitary protection.
14, SmartCup, from £19.99, Frank Green
Never buy a disposable coffee cup again with these beautifully designed and pleasingly minimalist cups from Frank Green. Inspired by Australian café culture, the SmartCup has a pop-up opening on the lid that is secure against leaks when closed. A smart thermo layer keeps coffee hot for hours, and you can customise the colour of any bit of these dishwasher-safe cups – you’ll want one in every shade of the rainbow.
15, Nae Vegan shoes, from £39.50, Nae
Wear your heart on your feet the next time you’re exploring new corners of Britain – choose eco-friendly footwear such as Nae. This Portuguese brand’s name stands for No Animal Exploitation. They make their comfortable sandals and desert boots from everything from pineapple leaf fibres to recycled airbags, and they’re all certified vegan.