Traveling responsibly starts before hitting the road – what we pack requires just as much consideration as the places we visit as far as our impact on people and planet. Not only does a well-thought-out checklist save us lugging around extra weight, but it also allows our carbon footprint to be lighter while we explore the world. This doesn't mean limiting ourselves to the bare essentials, but rather thinking carefully about how the items we pack – and purchase – impact the planet throughout their lifecycle.
Opting for products that use sustainable materials and minimize plastic is a great start, but there are plenty of further ways we can make better choices, particularly when it comes to the everyday gadgets we rely on to make life easier and more enjoyable. Seek out brands that offer free repair, reuse, and recycle programs, support businesses that give back through social and environmental initiatives, and take advantage of products that employ solar energy.
We've rounded up some of the best eco-friendly gadgets that are not only clever and convenient but also clean and green, allowing you to travel in style while having a positive impact at the same time.
Switching to products made from bamboo, which is both biodegradable and compostable, is increasingly easy, with everything from cutlery to toothbrushes now widely available in this fast growing and naturally renewable material. Our Pure Planet’s wireless charging pad is 100 per cent carbon neutral, offering a slim, lightweight design and 10W of charging output that will keep all your Qi-enabled devices powered up, plastic-free.
RRP US $21 / AUD $29.99
Many of the bigger tech companies are ramping up their use of recycled materials, making it simpler than ever for consumers to choose more responsibly when bamboo and other biodegradable materials aren't an option. Microsoft's Ocean Plastic Mouse is an innovative example, featuring a shell made from 20 per cent recycled plastic that has been recovered from oceans and waterways. It connects to your computer via Bluetooth, with a single battery lasting up to 12 months.
RRP USD $24.00
Harness the energy of the sun while you're out enjoying nature by taking advantage of a growing number of solar-powered products on the market, starting with this versatile power bank. The ChargeUp Explorer packs a punch with three detachable solar panels that provide up to three charges for your smartphone, while bonus features include a built-in LED torch and a second USB port, meaning you can charge your tablet and phone at the same time.
RRP AUD $99.95
This B Corp Certified company prides itself on its rigorous environmental practices, offering an expansive range of tech accessories that are not only stylish and practical but also responsibly made and long-lasting. While this sleek set including a tech kit and laptop sleeve might not technically be a gadget itself, it will certainly help to keep your cords, dongles, and accessories safe and secure when your office is anywhere and everywhere.
RRP USD $95
When it comes to gadgets that help to reduce plastic use, the LifeStraw range is high on the list. This ultralight, ingenious device works to purify water by removing 99.9% of bacteria with its long-lasting membrane microfilter, with each device making up to 1,000 gallons (4,000 litres) of water safe to drink. Having one of these on hand will be especially useful if you're travelling to places where drinking the tap water isn't an option, saving you time and money as well as saving countless plastic bottles from ending up in landfill.
From USD $19.95
If you're the type of traveler who always has a camera in hand, this eco-conscious brand will most likely have something for you. Their wide range of filters, made with premium materials and designed to be low-impact, come with a lifelong guarantee, exemplifying the ethos of 'buy less, buy better'. Additionally, every purchase contributes to Urth's reforestation program, with five trees planted per lens filter. The brand offers a range of high-quality camera accessories including straps, lens adapters, and carry bags.
Filters from USD $22 / AUD $32
Wood can be a great option when it comes to utilizing natural materials and reducing plastic, and it’s an even better choice when its FSC-certified. This stylish speaker is just that – House of Marley uses only sustainable materials across its range of speakers, earbuds, headphones, and accessories – offering an earthy, organic look with up to 10 hours of battery life, all delivered in 100% recyclable packaging. The company also gives back through its global reforestation program.
RRP USD $119.99
There are plenty of fantastic apps packed with tips to help us travel more responsibly, from supporting ethical brands and businesses to getting on board the sharing economy. One that covers a wide range of bases is Carbn, an easy-to-use, B Corp Certified app that measures your carbon footprint and recommends a tailored plan to reduce your impact through lifestyle changes and simple swaps, with ideas on everything from eating habits and shopping to transport and energy use.
For a gadget that can take a bit of rough and tumble, you’ll love this waterproof, shatterproof, collapsible solar light. Perfect for camping, hiking, or even to have on hand in case of a power outage, this durable and lightweight lantern offers up to 24 hours of light following seven hours in the sun. The New York-based company is also involved in more than 700 non-profit partnerships, supplying life-changing clean energy to communities around the world.
RRP USD $44.95
The world's first self-charging headphones are as sustainable as they are stylish, using advanced green technology to charge constantly when exposed to light. Fuelled by Powerfoyle, inspired by the natural principle of photosynthesis, all forms of light – both indoors and outdoors – are transformed into clean energy to offer virtually unlimited battery life. Perfect for strolling the streets enjoying your favorite travel playlist while the sun keeps you charged up all day long.
Contrary to popular belief, sustainable stays don’t have to be expensive. In fact there are more budget eco-options than ever before.
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