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July 04, 2022

The interior of a luxury tent, looking out towards a beach

Ah, the joys of travel: Meeting new people, tasting new foods, marvelling at new landscapes and enjoying a totally different routine. Like you, we are super pumped that travel is finally back on the cards after a few tumultuous years.

Of course, when it comes to traversing this big blue planet, there are some environmental considerations to think about. Since it’s Plastic Free July, we thought we’d share some of our favourite tips on travelling sustainably and plastic free. 

  1.   Avoid those tempting plastic travel packs and make your own

As all humans (and marketers) know, miniature-sized products are our kryptonite. Tiny plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles and little plastic dental packs are devilishly convenient — but they’re also just plain devilish for the environment. 

With a smidge of organisation, you can create your own cute and convenient toiletries travel bag. Deodorant, body soap, shampoo and conditioner can all be purchased in bar form in compostable packaging, and kept in a reusable container (say, a preloved SunButter tin). Toothpaste tablets can be bought in a reusable tin or glass jar, and obviously you can bring your own (bamboo) toothbrush from home! Huzzah!

Pop these things in a drawstring canvas bag, and Bob’s your uncle: You’ll have a super cool travel pack, and you won’t be adding to the plastic problem of whatever beautiful destination you’re heading to!

  1.   Pack your own cutlery and straws

While it’s easy to throw caution to the wind and just go with the flow while travelling, bringing your own eating and drinking utensils instead of accepting the plastic ones that will inevitably be handed to you is important for helping reduce plastic waste (imagine if everyone did this!). Reusable bamboo knives, forks, spoons and straws come in cute little roll-up kits these days, along with pipe cleaners to keep your straw shmick.

An image of a young woman and two young men smiling while wearing their swimwear and sunscreen across their noses. Plastic Free July. Travelling sustainably.

  1.   Get on the sustainable sunscreen train

Obviously this is a big one for us — the reason we created SunButter in the first place is because we didn’t want to be causing damage to local reefs and waterways while surfing and diving.

Whether you’re travelling somewhere warmer or not, you’ll likely need sunscreen at some point on your journey and might end up just buying whatever’s available at the nearest pharmacy. Again, with a little forethought, you can lessen your environmental footprint.

Hence, you’ll want to stock up on plastic free sunscreen. Also, make sure the sunscreen you’re using is reef safe and uses non-nanosized zinc, which acts as a physical (rather than chemical) barrier and won’t be absorbed into your body. 

SunButter ticks all these boxes (plus, it’s palm oil free and cruelty free!). We might seem biased, but we created our sunscreen specifically because we couldn’t find any truly sustainable options on the market and wanted to travel (and live) as consciously as possible.

  1.   Bring containers for takeaway and snacks

It might seem odd to pack empty containers, but it’s actually pretty useful to have some spare receptacles (like jars or stainless steel bento boxes) with you while travelling. Keep them in your backpack or tote bag and ask restaurants to pop your takeaway or leftovers into these containers instead of using single use plastic ones (the use of which spiralled out of control during pandemic lockdowns). They also double as vehicles for snacks like nuts when hiking or surfing, which will reduce the chances of you having to buy items such as plastic-wrapped energy bars while out and about. Smart!

  1.   Pack your reusable drink bottle

It’s estimated that 583 billion plastic bottles were produced in 2021, and that this is 100 billion more than were produced five years ago.

 This one might seem like a no-brainer, but if you don’t have a reusable drink bottle with you when travelling, you’ll probably work your way through a fair few plastic drink bottles (ugh!). Having a reusable drink bottle means you can fill it up with water while at restaurants or rest stops (packing water sterilising tablets can be a great idea, too). Reusable drink bottles are also not going to melt or heat up your water during long beach days. Win-win!

As an FYI for anyone flying internationally: You obviously won’t be able to bring a bottle of water through security, but you can take your empty bottle and fill it up using the filtered taps at the gate.

While we’re at it, this also extends to filling jerry cans with water while on road trips (rather than buying a slab of plastic water bottles… Once again: Ugh!).

  1.   Don’t forget your reusable coffee cup!

And, of course, don’t forget your reusable coffee cup! Whether you’re knocking back café con leche in Spain, sipping on matcha lattes in Japan, enjoying spicy chai in India or swigging bulletproof coffee in Sydney, remember to bring your reusable cup so you’re not adding to the worldwide disposable coffee cup problem (in the US alone, around 50 billion coffee cups are disposed of each year).

  1.   Bring reusable ice packs instead of buying bags of ice

If you’re on the road, taking reusable ice packs and/or filling up old bottles or Tetra Paks with water and then freezing them is a great alternative to buying plastic bags of ice for the Esky. You just have to remember to re-freeze them while stopped at caravan parks, friends’ houses etc.

  1.   Offset your travel

This one may not relate directly to plastics, but offsetting your travel is such an easy way to help mitigate the emissions caused by road or air travel. SunButter offsets through the legends at Greenfleet Australia, who we strongly recommend.

As a final word, take us with you! We love to see where you’re going, what you’re up to, and how you’re travelling plastic free and sustainably — especially if you’ve got a tin of SunButter in tow. Tag @sunbutterskincare on your next adventure!

Image of a tin of SunButter sunscreen against a white background.