Sunglasses made from recycled fishing nets, car-tyre flip-flops and wood-fibre suitcases: The 20 best eco-friendly travel essentials

  • Travellers can now opt for sustainably produced luggage and holiday gear
  • Brands are doing their bit to help save the planet by using recycled materials  
  • Our hot picks also include toothbrushes, wash bags and beach towels 

More and more brands are creating sustainably produced travel gear – and that’s a welcome trend.  

From luggage, sunglasses and swimwear made with recycled fishing nets or plastic bottles, to reef-friendly sunscreen, deet-free mosquito repellent, and car-tyre flip-flops – we’ve compiled a guide to the best eco-friendly holiday essentials. 

Below we show that you can have trendy travel kit and a clear conscience…

Karün sunglasses  

Karün sunglasses are made with recycled ocean waste such as old fishing nets

Karün is a brand that turns waste into opportunities. Its sunglasses are made with recycled fishing nets collected by the local community in Chilean Patagonia.

Colourful frames are paired with official Zeiss lenses that offer 100 per cent UVA and UVB protection, making them an excellent choice for any sunny escape. 

The sunglasses are available in a wide range of styles and colours. Price: £141 (karunworld.com).

Indosole flip-flops 

Discarded car tyres were used to make the soles of Indosole flip-flops – making them highly durable

Over a billion car and truck tyres are discarded each year – and they cause huge problems. They leach toxins and become breeding centres for mosquitoes. 

Indosole is helping to reduce the stockpiles by repurposing old tyres into durable flip-flop soles. 

The pair pictured here are made entirely from recycled materials, including rubber from old tyres, and without adhesives or harmful chemicals. Price: £30 (brotherswestand.com).

Riz swimming shorts 

Riz swimming trunks are made with recycled plastic bottles. Pictured – the Seaweed Denim Blythe Shorts

Riz’s swimming trunks are made using plastic bottles and digitally printed using earth-friendly inks. 

Buy a pair – such as the stylish Seaweed Denim Blythe Shorts pictured here – and you’ll certainly stand out on the beach.

What’s more, the ‘Rizcycle’ scheme lets you return your old shorts in return for a discount off your next pair. Price: £110 (bombinate.com).

Davy J swimsuit 

The British brand Davy J uses nylon made from recycled fishing nets to produce ethically made swimwear

Stylish designs made with 100 per cent recycled nylon – that’s the concept for swimwear by British brand Davy J. 

Durable enough to handle cliff jumps, waterfalls and diving, this is swimwear designed for active swimmers – but still beautiful enough for poolside posing. 

Customers are encouraged to send back their worn-out Davy J swimsuits for recycling. Pictured is the Cut-out Suit. Price: £140 (davyj.org). 

Nomadix beach towel 

A Nomadix beach towel is perfect when you need to pack light – and as it’s made of recycled plastic, you’re doing your bit for the environment too

Made with recycled plastic bottles, Nomadix beach towels are as eco-friendly as they come. 

They’re also ultra-soft, super absorbent, quick-drying, slip-resistant and durable, Nomadix says, making them ideal for the beach, camping or a spot of poolside yoga.  

Pictured is the A-Frame Blue. Price: $39.95/£30 (nomadix.co).

Squireme glass water bottle 

Never leave home without a refillable water bottle, such as this blue one from Squireme

To avoid having to buy plastic water bottles, carrying a refillable one is an absolute must. 

For the purest taste, glass is best – and we like Squireme’s collection of 500ml bottles in colourful silicone sleeves.

The bottles are handmade from high quality, strong and lightweight borosilicate glass with a BPA-free, phthalate-free silicone sleeve and are available in a wide range of colours. Price: £25 (selfridges.com). 

Bamboo drinking straws

Refuse plastic in your poolside cocktail and use these eco-friendly bamboo straws instead

If you watched David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II documentary, you’ll remember the footage of a marine biologist removing a plastic drinking straw from the nose of a sea turtle. 

Refuse plastic in your poolside cocktail and use these completely natural, washable and biodegradable bamboo straws instead. 

The British company EcoStrawz sells them in different sizes. Price: £3.99 for a pack of four (ecostrawz.co.uk).

Light My Fire picnic kit 

This Light My Fire picnic kit is an eco-friendly alternative to conventional Tupperware

It may look like plastic, but this Swedish-produced Eat and Drink family picnic kit is made with a bio-based material created from wood-fibre waste, sugarcane and GMO-free corn. 

An eco-friendly alternative to conventional Tupperware and just as colourful, it’s ideal for excursions in the woods or days at the beach. 

The kit includes four stackable plates, four sporks, four cups and a harness, and is 100% BPA-free, microwavable and dishwasher proof. Price: £39.95 (nordicoutdoor.co.uk). 

Suntribe sunscreen 

Suntribe’s tinted sunscreen SPF 30 is coral safe and a must in your travel washbag

The Marine Conservation Society warns that certain chemicals commonly found in suncream can harm marine life. 

So opt for water-resistant, reef-safe and biodegradable sunscreen made from certified all-natural and organic ingredients to ensure you’re not harming the environment. 

Suntribe’s Tinted Face & Sport Natural Sunscreen SPF30 is a great choice, and is packaged in a fully recyclable and reusable tin. Price: £12.99 (bekindbeauty.co.uk).

Lush shampoo bar 

Lush shampoo bars are a smart way to save on plastic – and smell great, too

Swapping regular shampoo full of harsh chemicals in favour of a solid bar made with all-organic ingredients is a no-brainer.  

They’re easy to use and kind on your hair as well as the environment.

Lush make them in every colour and fragrance imaginable – we like Seanik, made with seaweed, sea salt and lemon. Price: £8 (uk.lush.com).

Lush cork pot 

This humble cork pot doesn’t just keep your shampoo bar dry, it even fights climate change

The best way to store your shampoo bar so that it stays dry and lasts longer is in a cork pot, a carbon-positive piece of packaging that’s 100 per cent reusable and biodegradable.

Cork is a natural product, made from the inner layer of the bark of the cork oak tree and is naturally anti-bacterial and water-resistant. 

The cork tree also helps mitigate the effects of climate change – each of Lush’s cork pots removes more than 33 times its weight in carbon dioxide and supports re-wilding projects in Portugal. Price: £7.50 (uk.lush.com).

Bamboo toothbrush & travel case

Smiles better for the environment: Acala’s sustainably sourced bamboo toothbrush and case

The vast majority of toothbrushes are made of plastic that can’t be recycled, so they end up in landfill, waterways and oceans. 

A great alternative is this biodegradable bamboo toothbrush and toothbrush case set made from 100 per cent FSC-certified sustainably grown bamboo.  

Vent holes prevent mould build-up. Price: £9.99 (acalaonline.com).

Insect repellent

Insect repellent made with aloe vera gel infused with khakibos oil is a great choice when travelling to tropical climates

Deet spray is highly chemical and can be harmful to both humans and our planet.

Flawless Natural Insect Repellent Gel is an aloe vera-based gel that combines insect-repelling khakibos oil with citronella, geranium and lemon eucalyptus – a combination that not only keeps the mozzies at bay but smells refreshing, too.  

It’s packaged in a recycled glass jar with a recycled aluminium screw-top lid. Price: £5.95 for 60ml (wearthlondon.com).

Natural deodorant 

Natural deodorant is kinder both to your skin and the environment as it doesn’t contain toxins

Handmade in Bristol with all-natural ingredients such as organic coconut oil, shea butter and candelilla wax rather than aluminium, Your Nature Natural Deodorant Stick comes in five unisex scents, including lemongrass and tea tree.

It won’t clog up your pores with toxins, nor will you be flushing them down the drain when showering. 

Naturally, it’s sold in plastic-free packaging. Price: £7.95 for 70ml (wearthlondon.com).

Reusable bamboo cleansing set  

Reusable makeup pads are a must – and this handy set is perfect when travelling

As any eco-warrior worth their salt knows, regular face wipes or baby wipes are a no-no as they’re not biodegradable.

Wash off your makeup with reusable bamboo pads instead. This handy travel kit includes a linen pouch containing a set of six reusable bamboo makeup pads and a soft bamboo face cloth, ideal for daily cleansing or while on the road.

Handmade in Cornwall from high-quality linen and sustainably sourced bamboo, the zero-waste kit is designed to be reused. Price: £24 (wearthlondon.com).

OneNine5 washbag   

The sustainable washbag from Onenine5 comes in blue, grey and pink and fits all your travel-sized toiletries 

British-designed and made with a 100 per cent recycled plastic lining, OneNine5’s wash bag is the best toiletry bag we’ve seen so far. 

It includes a reusable and detachable clear liquid bag that will pass through airport security – meaning you won’t have to transfer all your liquids to a flimsy single-use plastic bag. And it’s big enough to store all your bathroom essentials. 

Available in blue, grey and pink. Price: £49 (onenine5.com).

OneNine5 refillable bottles 

The 65ml refillable silicone bottles from Onenine5 are handy for taking your favourite bath products with you on holiday

Be sure to also get a pack of Onenine5’s 65ml silicone travel bottles, so you can bring your shower gel and body lotion with you – with a clear conscience.

The squeezable material makes them easy to fill, use and wash. 

Price: £9.50 for a pack of three (onenine5.com).

Groundtruth backpack 

Groundtruth is a British brand run by three sisters. Their signature backpack has been tested in extreme environments

This ultra-practical backpack is made with 100 per cent recycled materials including post-consumer plastic. 

Made by Groundtruth, a British brand run by three sisters, it has a 24-litre capacity so there’s room for all your essentials – and it even has an integrated pocket for a one-litre water bottle. 

What’s more, it has been put to the test in Norway and Antarctica by polar explorer Rob Swan. Price: £283 (groundtruth.global).

United by Blue holdall 

A great option for weekends away is this handy holdall sold by United by Blue

There’s plenty of room for your weekend outfits in this 55-litre Arc Duffle made from 100 per cent recycled polyester.

We particularly like the water-repellent finish and vegetable-tanned leather details, which upgrade it from a sports bag.

Price: $75/£58 (unitedbyblue.com).

Samsonite S’cure Eco suitcase 

The Samsonite S’cure Eco suitcase features a carry handle enriched with recycled wood fibre

Samsonite has upped its green credentials by creating a couple of product ranges that use recycled materials. 

The S’cure Eco range, a collection of four-wheel spinner suitcases with shells made of minimum 85 per cent recycled polypropylene and carry handles enriched with recycled wood fibre, is one of them. 

Available in different sizes, the cases are sturdy but streamlined. Price: £175-£219 (samsonite.co.uk).       

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