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7 sustainable swaps for holiday packing

Words by Smiley Team

Summer is on its way. Maybe you’re planning to slow-travel your way around Europe. Or you’ve organised an eco-friendly staycation. Whichever holiday destination you’ve picked, the most important destination for us all is to overcome the climate crisis.

Keep us on track and prevent eco-anxiety from ruining your trip by packing your suitcase with these more sustainable holiday essentials.

Reef-safe suncream

As much as you need to protect your skin from the sun, most sunscreen is harmful to ocean life, packed full of toxic chemicals that are particularly damaging to baby corals. To avoid this, switch to an alternative like Green People’s scent-free sunscreen, which is approved by the Marine Conservation Society.

Zero-waste toiletries

Instead of stuffing your washbag with plastic-packaged toiletries, try to switch to refills which you can top up on return. Shampoo bars and soaps wrapped in recyclable cardboard are often a better bet than bottled toiletries, and if you’re feeling extra eco-conscious, you can make them yourself.

A reusable water bottle

Give back to ocean life on your holiday by refraining from buying bottled water. Instead carry a refillable flask such as Ocean Bottle, produced by a company which funds the collection of plastic waste from beaches.

Itsy bitsy eco-friendly yellow polka dot bikini

This summer, don’t buy a brand new petroleum-derived swimsuit. If you don’t already have suitable swimwear, choose something sustainably-produced. For example, Patagonia makes recycled trunks, swimsuits and bikinis and to top it off, the company gives back to environmental initiatives from its profits.

A bamboo towel

Most towels are made from cotton, an environmentally harmful material. Its production emits millions of metric tonnes of carbon each year and is linked to deforestation, pollution and high water consumption. Shake off the eco-guilt and dry yourself after a swim with a towel made from bamboo - a much more sustainable option.

Second-hand summer outfits

Although the existing contents of your wardrobe is always the most sustainable option, if you really want a new summer outfit, look for something second-hand. You might discover a complete steal in a local charity shop. Otherwise, check out the wide variety of pre-loved fashion sold via Depop, Vinted or similar online platforms.

Recycled suitcases

Show off your dedication while travelling to your destination (hopefully by train or another form of greener transport) with more eco-friendly luggage. Perhaps go for a recycled suitcase or a Patagonia rucksack from which part of the profits supports climate activism.

Inspired to act?

JOIN: To work alongside other young people towards the linked goals of climate and social justice, get involved with Green New Deal Rising.

DONATE: Support young people campaigning for a safer future. Donate to Green New Deal Rising.


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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