Those who love the outdoors long both to explore untouched places and to preserve their beauty, but in an unfortunate contradiction, the global travel industry generates a huge carbon footprint.
Recently, the outdoor industry has made an effort to improve. Below, 10 products that are at least a step in the right direction.
Every year, 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen washes off swimmers and beach goers. The residue can harm animals of all sizes. It suffocates and bleaches coral reefs, kills plankton and builds up in the gills of whale sharks. Clearly, it is best to use biodegradable, reef-friendly sunscreen. The best of these are made with natural, mineral sun blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
LifeStraw Water Bottles
Everyone knows we should be using refillable water bottles to reduce our plastic use, but LifeStraw water bottles have the added feature of a two-part, built-in filter that removes almost all bacteria, including E. coli, as well as parasites, microplastics, chlorine and pesticides. The bottles themselves are BPA-free.
The microbiological water filter can process 4,000 litres of water and there are a range of different water bottles to choose from. The company also sells a steel straw that lets you drink directly from lakes and rivers.
Most wetsuits are made from petroleum-based Lycra and neoprene. Picture Organic Clothing is trying to change that. They have created a range of wetsuits out of Eicoprene, a non-petroleum-based synthetic foam made from limestone and recycled tires. They also use a solvent-free, water-based glue.
Eagle Creek Duffle Bags
Eagle Creek Duffle Bags come in a range of sizes, are durable and water repellent. Their heavy-duty TPU fabric is made from Bluesign-approved materials, and the water-repellent coating comes from recycled windscreen plastics. All products have an interactive supply-chain map, so you can trace where every part of your bag is from, in case you want to verify that it is all responsibly sourced and sustainable.
Recycled Material Fleeces
Patagonia has been using recycled polyester in its clothing since 1993 and they were the first to do so. One of their most sustainable products is the Better Sweater, a super-soft fleece that has been in their line for years. It is now made from 100 percent recycled polyester. The fabric is also Bluesign-approved and it is dyed using a process that reduces water use and energy.
Craghopper is another brand that makes an eco-conscious, lightweight fleece. Each is made from 100% recycled material — eight plastic bottles, to be precise.
Eco-Conscious Climbing Chalk
When the Climbing Addicts company kept noticing the garish white chalk marks on popular climbing rocks and walls, they set out to create chalk that blends into whatever rock you’re climbing. Their range of chalks matches different rock colors so that your climbing leaves no trace.
Sustainable Trail Running shoes
Both Icebug and Adidas have released a sustainable trail running shoe. Icebug claims to be the world’s first climate-positive footwear brand, taking pains to manufacture their shoes in a way that over-compensates for their carbon emissions. The upper of their Acceleritas 6 RB9X is made from 100 percent recycled PET polyester, and the lining is 100% recycled, solution-dyed polyester. Both materials are Bluesign-approved.
Meanwhile, Adidas has created the Terrex Two Parley Trail Shoe, a collaboration between Adidas Terrex and Parley for the Oceans, an environmental initiative tackling the global plastic problem. Their trail running shoe is made from up-cycled plastic waste found on the world’s beaches.
Reusable Menstrual Products
Ninety percent of menstrual products are made from plastic, and it’s estimated that the average woman disposes of 11,000 of them over her lifetime. Since they’re not biodegradable, they end up in landfill or oceans. Luckily, there are now plenty of eco-friendly products out there, and you can find the one that is right for you.
A menstrual cup such as Mooncup or Diva Cup lasts for 10 years: You just need some hot water and soap to clean them. They come in various sizes and you don’t have the hassle of having to carry tampons or pads on your travels.
If that isn’t for you, then DAME has created the world’s first reusable tampon applicator. It is meant to be kept for life and significantly reduces plastic waste from periods. They also have a range of organic cotton tampons that you can use with the applicator.
Consciously Created Walking Boots
Keen Footwear uses the phrase “consciously created” to describe their shoes because they are doing everything they can to minimize the, um, footprint their shoes have on the planet. They use PFC-free water repellency, pesticide-free odour control, better leather tanning for cleaner water and recycled PET plastic in the shoes themselves. As with all shoe brands, it’s best to first try them on in a store rather order online. Keens, for example, have very wide toe and heel boxes that don’t fit everyone.
Often a key offender when it comes to chemicals and plastics, but there are now many eco-friendly options out there. Coconut Mood Matter Deodorant is an all-natural and zero-waste product. It is made from organic ingredients and comes in fully biodegradable, plastic-free packaging. It is also handmade, vegan, cruelty-free and comes in four scents.
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