Sustainable Tourism Part 3: Sustainable Travel Products
Where to find your travel products ethically and sustainably
The best part about travelling sustainably is that it doesn’t need to be time-consuming, nor do you have to get your hands dirty for a good cause. In fact, it can be easily integrated into your holiday plans, such as packing for a trip!
Here are some practical tips, and sustainable products to look out for when you’re shopping for your next travel essentials.
What are Sustainable Travel Products?
Sustainable travel products refer to products produced from sustainable resources, and ideally that can be used over a long period of time (so you can reuse them instead of buying new products).
Products from Sustainable Resources
Photo Credit: Vincent Tan. Mediacorp
The issue of the palm oil industry in Asia is a particularly thorny one, and palm oil as an ingredient has gotten a bad reputation over the past few years. This is not to say that that reputation was undeserved, as palm oil plantations have indeed caused much deforestation and habitat loss of natural forests.
However, boycotting palm oil entirely is not a viable solution, as palm oil trees are the most productive out of all oil crops. This means that replacing them with other types of vegetable oils will require far more land, fertilisers and pesticides to produce the same volume of yield as a single palm oil harvest. Furthermore, as more than 5 million livelihoods are dependent on palm oil plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia, the issue is too complex to encourage an all-out boycott of the crop.
Hence, instead of removing palm oil from your product use, use certified sustainable palm oil products. Look out for the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) logo on the product, as this logo is reflective of a brand or company that only uses sustainable palm oil.
Products that use Sustainable Palm Oil
An example of a major consumer giant that is committed to the RSPO movement is Unilever. By the end of 2019, they have pledged for 100% traceability for all the crude palm oil and derivatives that they buy, and 100% physically certified palm oil. Some of their well-known, global brands that supply travel products like bath accessories, lip balm, moisturisers, deodorants and sprays are:
2. Reef Safe Sun
Reef Safe Sun supplies the summer essentials, from sunscreens, tanning lotions, hair care and dive suit care. Not only are they RSPO-certified, they are also reef-friendly, meaning that you can use their products for all your underwater escapades.
3. The Mad Optimist
The Mad Optimist specialises in bodycare, with products of the soap, body spray and lip balm variety. They are RSPO-certified, and utilise a pay-as-you-want system, meaning that you get to choose how much you want to pay for their products. You can also customise products by mixing scents however much you like.
If you would like to know of other consumer giants that use sustainable palm oil, here is the full list, as surveyed by WWF: Palm Oil Scorecard
Products that can be used over a long period
These products reduce the waste generated by single-use, disposable products by maximising and promoting long-term use. They usually range from reusable bags, containers and water bottles, and are generally easy to find anywhere, and to bring along on holiday. Using sustainable use products reduces the amount of single-use waste that may fall through the cracks of waste management, especially in countries such as Indonesia, and prevents the waste from accumulating in areas where they should not be at.
However, not all items are created equal, even if they are sustainable. If you wish to use a reusable, be sure to consider the material and how much you will reuse them. This is because the production of some reusable items, such as the cotton bag, have a larger carbon footprint than their plastic single-use alternatives, so it’s critical that if you do invest in a reusable, it is used well, and for the long-term.
1. EcoRight (Bags)
You’ll be spoiled for choice with EcoRight, a young start-up aiming to reduce their plastic footprint by emphasising eco-friendly and reusable bags. While they have an entire section for travel bags, do take a look at their other options as well if you would like a bag that can be used for multiple purposes.
2. OneGreenBottle (Water Bottles and Lunchboxes)
OneGreenBottle focuses on a zero waste approach, and according to their website, and have saved over 10 billion single-use plastic bottles from going into landfills or into the oceans through customer purchases of their stainless steel reusable bottles. Their products are of high quality and can last for many years, while still being 100% recyclable at the end of their lifespan.
3. Your Sustainable Store (Varied products)
This Singapore-based online store was created to make a wide range of curated, stylish and affordable products easily available. With products that hail from both the sustainable use and sustainable resource category, and a selection of different brands to choose from, most of your travel needs, from cutlery, tumblers and skincare, are guaranteed to be met.
With the variety of sustainable options out there, packing for a trip as a responsible traveller has never been so easy. By reducing your carbon and plastic footprint, you are a few steps closer to making the world a better place.