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Sustainable Travel for an Interconnected World

Eco-friendly is Trending

Dedicated travelers are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic with a new understanding of how their choices can impact local communities and the environment, and how interconnected our world is. A recent booking.com survey revealed that 53% of global trotters plan to travel more sustainably in the future, and 69% of vacationers expect the industry to offer more sustainable travel options. In addition, 53% plan to reduce waste and recycle their plastic when traveling.

According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), nature is now the top interest in travel, with 83% of tourists preferring to visit natural areas. ATTA recommends tour operators add environmental educational experiences and cleanups to tours, focus on sustainable mobility (with low-emissions transfers or carbon offsets), and make sure the wellbeing of local residents comes first.

Travel goods manufacturers are responding to the same trend, removing plastic from their packaging, and redesigning their collections around both classic and cutting-edge sustainable materials. Those brands that were originally conceived as eco-friendly are redoubling their efforts to promote responsible choices and innovative designs.

Responsible Travel Accessories

Want to save water, reduce electricity use, live a plastic-free lifestyle, and switch to products manufactured from traditional or futuristic sustainable materials? You may not be able to accomplish every goal with every purchase. But small changes can add up to big impacts.

Reusable straws are a small item that causes big damage to marine wildlife. Shell Creek Sellers is a family-owned business dedicated to reducing single use plastics and replacing them with stylish reusable items. No plastic is used in production or packaging, and the Shell Creek Sellers Telescoping Straw and Cleaning Brush Set with Carabiner are available in bulk and private label.

The innovative SipCycle KoffieStraw is designed for hot or cold sipping beverages. Using the KoffieStraw while sipping coffee or red wine will preserve your white smile while protecting the environment. KoffieStraw can also be private labeled.

Look good and feel better with Sprayco’s Corn Resin Travel Bottle Kit. Pack your toiletries in four 3 oz reusable corn resin bottles. The wide-mouth bottles and caps are made from sustainable corn resin, packed in a recyclable TPU zip-top reusable bag with paper insert. Finished using the kit? No problem, the bottles are completely compostable.

The new Scrubba wash bag Untouched is an undyed and unbleached version of The Scrubba wash bag, the low impact laundry system for tourists and campers. Eschewing bleach and dyes reduces the amount of water used during production of the Untouched, as well as the waste water produced and the energy input required. You can add that savings to the estimated 226 million liters of water and 1797 tons of carbon conserved each year by the 250,000 travelers already using Scrubba wash bags.

One of the best ways to conserve water and reduce the amount of micro-plastics going into the water supply is to wash clothing less often. If your trip requires a polished appearance, you need InstaSteam. Smooth wrinkles and deodorize clothing in as little as three minutes using mineral-based, all-natural ingredients.

LuminAID founders Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork were inspired to invent LuminAID’s solar lighting technology after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. LuminAID has gone on to distribute tens of thousands of lights after some of the world’s most devastating disasters. But you don’t need to be in a hurricane or earthquake to benefit from LuminAID’s lightweight, waterproof solar lantern plus phone charger that folds flat in your luggage. Bring your own light and power with LuminAID as your first plan, or your backup plan. Private-label LuminAID, and provide your customers with practical relief during rolling blackouts, in the wilderness, or when an ambitious hike runs longer than expected.

Shell Creek Sellers Telescoping Straw and Cleaning Brush Set
Photo courtesy of Shell Creek Sellers

BYOS (Bring Your Own Straw) with Shell Creek Sellers Telescoping Straw and Cleaning Brush Set with Carabiner. MSRP: $12.95

Contact info: Melanie Avjean, info@shellcreeksellers.com, 833-326-4475

SipCycle KoffieStraw 4-PACK
Photo courtesy of SipCycle

Enjoy your coffee, love your smile, protect marine life! The unique, reusable SipCycle KoffieStraw is designed to save your teeth from stains while sipping coffee or tea. MSRP: $12.99 (4-pack)

Contact info: Rita DiOrio or Heidi McGlynn, orders@sipcycleco.com, 609-970-5300

Sprayco Corn Resin Travel Bottle Kit
Photo courtesy of Sprayco

Going plastic-free? Sprayco’s new reusable Corn Resin Travel Bottle Kit is ideal for lotion, shampoo, conditioner and face wash. The bottles can be composted and the bag and paper insert card recycled. MSRP: $14.99

Contact info: Matt Gurthet, mgurthet@sprayco.com, 800-547-4575

The Scrubba Wash Bag Untouched
Photo courtesy of The Scrubba

The Scrubba wash bag is an easy to use, low-impact laundry system that saves tourists and campers 226 million liters of water and 1797 tons of carbon each year. And The Scrubba Untouched is a new undyed and unbleached version of the wash bag, for even lower-impact travel. MSRP: $55

Contact info: David Shekleton, david@thescrubba.com, +614-1457-1686

InstaSteam
Photo courtesy of InstaSteam

InstaSteam is the world’s first electricity-free, hands-free clothing steamer that smooths wrinkles and deodorizes in as little as 3 minutes using mineral-based, all-natural ingredients. MSRP: $19.95–$34.95

Contact info: Ari Hirsch, info@instasteampod.com, 818-821-0732

LuminAID PackLite
Photo courtesy of LuminAID

If you always have a backup plan, you need the 2-in-1 solar phone charger and lantern from LuminAID.  The PackLite Titan, Firefly, and Max pack flat in your bag, and inflate into a lightweight, waterproof solar lantern plus phone charger. MSRP: $25-$75

Contact info: Daphna Gall, business@luminaid.com, 312-600-8997

Low-impact Luggage

Manufacturers have discovered a range of strategies to protect the environment while producing terrific luggage, personal items, and bags for everyday carry. Creative product development generates great choices for concerned consumers — like bags that produce their own electricity or bags that embrace classic, sustainable organic fabrics — or introduce new ones. Manufacturers are choosing fabrics made from recycled plastics and nylon, and are embracing water or carbon-saving production techniques.

The goal of Travelon’s new ORIGIN Collection is to reduce dependence on petroleum as a raw material source. The collection is designed around GRS-certified recycled polyester fabric that looks and feels like canvas, and is lighter, softer and more durable than virgin polyester. Shopping for a daypack or personal item? ORIGIN recycled fabric reduces CO2 emissions, which reduces the carbon footprint to produce each Anti-Theft Large Backpack, Daypack, Small Backpack by 45 to 50%.

Coming in August 2021, the new HEX Evolve Collection in Eco Grey is made with premium recycled 900D Cordura® to protect against tears, scuffs and abrasions. All silhouettes use YKK EYL “TOUGH” Solution Dyed Zippers (an environmentally-friendly, solution dyed process which saves roughly 2-3 million liters of water a year) for durability and strength. The Evolve Collection is also treated for water-resistance and is infused with anti-microbial technology.

QWSTION’s quest is to design versatile carry solutions for everyday use — with an understated look and a low environmental footprint. QWSTION’s designers develop and source almost all materials directly, looking for renewable resources and lower impact processes, such as vegetable tanning versus standard chromium tanned leather. The newest fabric in the QWSTION family is Bananatex®, a new technical shell fabric made from the fibers of organically grown banana plants. Bananatex is the shell material of QWSTION’s Hip Pouch, while their Weekender is constructed of traditional eco-friendly water resistant 100% organic cotton canvas featuring Ruco®-Dry Eco Plus water-repellent treatment.

Mobile Edge was created by a group of senior computer industry professionals for the sole purpose of producing superior computer-related carry cases. Their Green Initiative initially focused on 80% natural cotton canvas, now available in a seven-bag ECO Collection. Now the Mobile Edge design team has created the ScanFast Backpack and Briefcase constructed of Sorona®, a corn-based advanced polymer material. Compared to petrochemical products like virgin nylon or polyester, Sorona requires 30% less energy to manufacture, reducing greenhouse emissions by 63%.

And now for something completely different: Magi Innovation’s EBolt Luggage keeps you off the grid (and from sitting on the floor of the airport) by charging a portable battery using kinetic energy. Power your gadgets while you walk, saving the equivalent of two pounds of carbon emission from coal for every mile you walk through the train station, city or airport. Next up for EBolt: a four-wheel rolling design, and the elimination of plastic from their supply chain.

Fjällräven’s signature G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco S fabric is a blend of 65% recycled poly and 35% organic cotton (waxable for increased water repellency). One great Eco S Option: the Splitpack features a classic backpack style with innovative interior organization. Unzip the Splitpack to reveal two equally sized compartments, which pack like a suitcase.

Travelon ORIGIN Collection
Photo courtesy of Travelon

Travelon’s new Origin Collection is engineered with a densely woven recycled polyester outer fabric that doubles bag life — with half the environmental impact. MSRP: $65-$100

Contact info:  Caroline Marchionna, carolinem@travelonbags.com, 847-621-7073 

HEX Evolve Collection
Photo courtesy of HEX

The HEX Evolve Collection, arriving this August, consists of the Logic Backpack, Sling, and Drifter Duffel Bag, all constructed of premium recycled 900D Cordura and featuring YKK EYL “TOUGH” Solution Dyed Zippers (the dye process saves roughly 2-3 million liters of water a year). MSRP: $34.95-$99.95

Contact info: Kirsten Regehr, kirsten.regehr@hexbrand.com, 805-285-7775, x-25

QWSTION Hip Pouch
Photo courtesy of QWSTION
QWSTION Weekender
Photo courtesy of QWSTION

QWSTION’s Hip Pouch is made from cutting-edge Bananatex®, a new technical fabric made entirely from organically grown banana plants. MSRP: $80

Beautiful and timeless, the QWSTION Weekender is constructed of classic eco-friendly materials: water resistant 100% organic cotton canvas featuring Ruco®-Dry Eco Plus water-repellent treatment, and water based Eco-PU and wax coating. MSRP: $290

Contact info: Caroline Ziegler, caroline.ziegler@qwstion.com, +41-76248-8842

Mobile Edge ECO Collection
Photo courtesy of Mobile Edge
Mobile Edge SacnFast Backpack and Briefcase
Photo courtesy of Mobile Edge

Polished, professional laptop bags with a minimal carbon footprint — the Mobile Edge ECO Collection is packed with features and constructed of 80% natural cotton canvas. MSRP: $99.99

The Mobile Edge ScanFast Backpack and Briefcase utilize corn-derived Sorona material, requiring 30% less energy to manufacture and reducing greenhouse emissions by 63%. MSRP: $49.99-$69.99

Contact info: Paul June, pj@mobileedge.com, 310-503-1149

Magi Innovation Ebolt Luggage
Photo courtesy of Magi Innovation

Make your own electricity while you’re on the road! The EBolt Luggage from Magi Innovations has patented wheel technology that harnesses the power of kinetic energy to charge the portable battery while in motion. MSRP: $395

Contact info: Joseph Glaser, joseph@eboltluggage.com, 929-329-5522

Fjällräven Splitpack
Photo courtesy of Fjällräven

What wears like a backpack and packs like a suitcase? The Fjällräven Splitpack opens in the middle to reveal two equally sized compartments, in robust G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco (recycled polyester/organic cotton). MSRP: $175

Contact info: accountservices@fjallraven.us, 855-996-3745

Life Cycle MVPs

Some travel goods manufacturers go beyond eco-friendly materials, reimagining their supply chain from the ground up. That may mean working towards a goal of carbon neutral luggage, revamping packaging, designing around reduced shipping costs, or developing brand-new sustainable materials.

In 2020 Pacsafe switched to producing packaging, swing tags, and display materials from FSC Certified recycled paper, and took the pledge to remove all virgin plastic from their supply chain by 2025. Every new Pacsafe design is being made of recycled materials, and existing products are switching to 100% recycled materials. By 2022, 75% of Pacsafe’s bag line in 2022 will be made from recycled polyester or recycled nylon (on their way to 100% by 2025). Pacsafe’s two key materials are rPET, made from recycled plastic water bottles, and ECONYL, made from discarded fishing nets and other plastic waste. The new Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 ECONYL® Anti-Theft Carry-on Travel Pack and the Vibe 325 ECONYL® Anti-Theft Sling Pack are two new 100% recycled Pacsafe bags. Both feature planet-saving ECONYL regenerated nylon fiber, as well as all the anti-theft technology you’d expect from Pacsafe.

LiteGear was conceived as an eco-friendly, lightweight brand, designed around recycled polyester fabric. In addition to its material choices, LiteGear works to address one of the most environmentally (and financially) impactful issues in the travel goods industry: freight. In order to reduce the carbon — and  dollar — cost of shipping products across country, LiteGear specializes in products that smoosh, collapse, fold and compress to maximize the contents of a carton or container. The LiteGear Hybrid Carry-on is a great example. Hi-density molded foam technology coupled with soft-side recycled-fabric front pocket panels make these bags super light and super durable, and allow them to compress for shipping.

During the pandemic lockdown VoyagerBlue took a deep-dive into their business and production practices, and decided they could no longer support the chromium tanning industry. Chemicals from chromium-tanned leather are poured into the rivers of India, causing extensive and irreversible damage. Instead, VoyagerBlue redesigned their business around ocean recycled plastic and newly developed bacterial protein “leather,” grown on agricultural waste from the coconut industry. VoyagerBlue continues to use some real leather, although they now source it from Leather Working Group-accredited factories, which produce vegetable-tanned leather in a non-toxic process that has passed an environmental audit to ensure responsible water, chemical and energy usage. VoyagerBlue is currently developing the Regata (Patented: US RE 47 189E – EU2556468 – GB 2479 443), a feature-packed RFID card holder with a dedicated pouch for the Apple Air Tag/Chipolo One, using all three of their new flagship materials. Contact VoyagerBlue to receive production and shipping updates for the Regata.

Since its birth in 2016, Paravel has worked to fight climate change by reducing and offsetting carbon emissions, incorporating upcycled and eco-certified materials throughout every product, and planting trees in depleted ecosystems. In 2021, Paravel received the Travel + Leisure Global Vision Award, recognizing sustainable sourcing and ethical manufacturing practices. Paravel’s Weekender is manufactured using their signature Ecocraft Canvas, made from 12 recycled plastic water bottles. The Aviator Carry-on is all about sustainability with a durable recycled polycarbonate exterior; recycled zippers, a lining made from 15 upcycled plastic water bottles; vegan leather details and wrapped steel handles; and an aircraft-grade recycled aluminum handle. On top of the sustainable materials, Paraval offsets all of the carbon emissions generated from creating and shipping an Aviator Carry-on, and offsets the estimated emissions of its first journey in use.

Solo sets ambitious environmental goals and achieves them. Last year, Solo hit its goal of eliminating all plastic from its packaging by the end of 2020. Solo packaging is now 100% Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC)-certified recycled, recyclable and biodegradable, including hang-tag strings and clips. Solo’s next goal is to recycle 40 million plastic bottles by 2024, removing ocean-bound PET bottles from landfills and waterways to make the fabric for their Re:cover Backpack and Re:treat Carry-on, part of their new Re:cycled Collection of bags.

Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 ECONYL® Anti-Theft Carry-On Travel Pack and Vibe 325 ECONYL® Anti-Theft Sling Pack
Photo courtesy of Pacsafe

Two new Pacsafe designs made from 100% recycled materials: the Venturesafe EXP45 ECONYL® Anti-Theft Carry-on Travel Pack and the Vibe 325 ECONYL® Anti-Theft Sling Pack, both constructed of recycled fishing nets and other discarded nylon to reduce ocean plastic. MSRP: $84.95, $299.95

Contact info: Stephen Kay, skay@pacsafe.com, 905-252-6652

LiteGear Hybrid Carry-on
Photo courtesy of LiteGear

LiteGear was conceived as a manufacturer of recycled-fabric bags designed to minimize shipping costs. The Hybrid Carry-on — manufactured from high-density molded foam and recycled fabric front panels – is a lightweight bag that smooshes down to minimize dimensional weight. MSRP: $160

Contact info: Magi Raible, magi@lifegeardesign.com, 707-558-3990

VoyagerBlue Regatta
Photo courtesy of VoyagerBlue

The patented VoyagerBlue Regata is a gorgeous RFID card holder stuffed with features, including a dedicated pouch for the Apple Air Tag/Chipolo One, and a hygiene stylus. The Regata is constructed of cutting-edge materials: bio-composite coconut leather, ocean recycled plastic, and vegetable-tanned leather. MSRP: $44.99

Contact info: Andre Kay, andre.kay@voyager-blue.com, +44-7768-626177

Paravel Aviator Carry-on
Photo courtesy of Paravel
Paravel Weekender
Photo courtesy of Paravel

Paravel has planted over 30,000 trees (one per order), purchases carbon offsets to neutralize production, delivery, and the customer’s first trip (30.7 million lbs. of C02 offset to date) and operate under an impressive code of responsibility.

The Aviator Carry-on is made of durable recycled polycarbonate; recycled zippers, a lining made from 15 upcycled plastic water bottles; vegan leather details and wrapped steel handles; and an aircraft-grade recycled aluminum handle. It also features smooth double spinner wheels with carbon steel bearings; an interior compression board; a scuff-hiding textured finish; smart interior pockets and a removable accessories pouch. MSRP: $255

Spacious and stylish,  Paravel’s Weekender features leather accents that match their signature recycled Ecocraft Canvas, made from 12 upcycled plastic water bottles. It has smart straps to slip over the trolley of your carry-on. MSRP: $365

Contact info: Megan MacDonald, megan@tourparavel.com, 833-927-2789

Solo Re:cycled Collection
Photo courtesy of Solo

Solo removes ocean-bound PET bottles from landfills and waterways to make the fabric for the Re:cover Backpack and Re:treat Carry-on, part of its new Re:cycled Collection. All bag packaging is certified recycled, recyclable and biodegradable. MSRP: $69.99, $152.99

Contact info: Julie Hoffman, jhoffman@briggs-riley.com, 631-434-7722

Sustainable Travel for an Interconnected World
Photo credit: Kerry Pittenger

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