Packing Lightly : A Sustainable Travel Checklist

Winter is on the horizon but you’re daydreaming about that beach getaway you’ve booked for January. 
We know you’re excited, but maybe you should put a cork in it—or rather put IT in CORK!
Why? 
Because cork isn’t just a fabric; it’s the future. For sustainable travel goodies, no material is better.
This sustainable vegan leather alternative comes from the cork tree, via a harmless (and in fact healthy) process of shaving the tree’s bark. Studies show that cork trees sequester more carbon than processing the cork emits.
Processing it is virtually pollution-free and ditches all the water contaminating chemicals required by leather tanning.
So don’t get jet set and ready for takeoff without in-cork-orating this wonderfully sustainable fabric… and a few other sustainable travel essentials.
 
It Starts with a Suitcase 
It all starts with eco friendly luggage
While there are yet to be any large cork suitcases or rolling luggage on the market, there are plenty of more sustainable suitcase options that make use of recycled plastic and organic cotton.
You can, however, make sure that suitcase stays organized with cork using the RULE BREAKER zippered pouches to keep all your odds and ends easy to find.
Just remember when packing: you don’t need everything but the kitchen sink. The more your suitcase weights, the more emissions the plane or car will emit. Sure a few pounds may not seem like much, but a few pounds across hundreds, nay thousands, of passengers certainly is!
And where does the majority of that weight come from? Clothes. 
Taking a minimalist wardrobe means packing things that are versatile, layerable, and ideally made by sustainable clothing brands.
 
But don’t forget your EXPLORER keychain cork luggage tag in case the worst case (pun intended) scenario happens and your luggage gets lost.
Toiletries that Don’t Cause TSA Trouble… or Climate Change!
Ah, the dreaded TSA toiletry turmoil. Is my zero waste sunscreen going to leak in my bag? Is it under 3.4 ounces? Is the TSA agent going to be unnecessarily rude?!
No one likes going through airport security, but with the CREATOR essential oil bag, it’s at least a little bit easier. 
These fit far more than just that lavender essential oil to help you sleep on the flight. Small enough to keep you from accidentally putting a big bottle of liquid inside but not so small as to crush your favorite organic eyeshadow palette, they’re the perfect way to breeze your way to Gate E24 (the E stands for “eco friendly”, of course!).
Checking your toiletries instead? 
Try the larger ADVENTURER cosmetics bags. No need to worry about the pressure changes turning your cruelty free moisturizer into a luggage disaster, either. Since cork contains suberin and ceroids in the cell walls, it’s (almost) entirely impermeable to liquids and gases!
Or better yet, switch to leak-free zero waste shampoo and conditioner bars! 
Most of these are also biodegradable and earth-safe, so they won’t harm natural waterways or more sensitive foreign plumbing systems.
 
Zero Waste Carry-On Essentials
You’ve checked your bag, made it through TSA with only minor humiliation, and you’re waiting at the gate… only to find out your flight has been delayed three hours!
Good thing the OVERCOMER tote bag spaciously holds everything you need to keep occupied, from the riveting sustainability book you just started to your eco friendly electronics kept safe by the cork INVENTOR tablet organizer.
While the OVERERCOMER is not made of cork, this bag says, “Later” to the ethical issues of leather by utilizing faux leather and organic cotton.
Make sure you’ve included your zero waste kit in your carry-on, too. That way, you can enjoy some complimentary mid-flight cocktails without the guilt of the average airline passenger that generates 1.4 kilograms of waste per flight, much of which is single use plastic.
You can even bring a plastic free food storage container to take any leftovers of your in-flight meal. They’re not that bad and saving your leftovers as a snack for that next layover prevents further food waste.
Out-and-About-and-Abroad
Make sure you also pack something to carry your goodies around after you’ve arrived at your destination.
Sustainable handbags like the especially dreamy DREAMER foldover crossbody bag will do just that. 
Made of non-cork vegan leather, this bag makes for the best travel buddy because it packs down completely flat, taking up virtually no space in your luggage to and fro.
If you’re worried about pick-pockets or simply want to immerse yourself in your surroundings rather than get bogged down with keeping track of things, the card-sized GIVER card wristlet might be just the thing for a minimalist traveler like yourself.
After You Get Back
One of the best parts of long-term travel is going home… especially when you can do so with a clean conscience.
But it’s also a great time to reminisce about the trip, which includes taking a good look at how much impact your little sojourn may have had. While choosing cork for your packing pals undoubtedly reduces that (cork is a climate positive material, after all), the impact of travel includes more than just what we use to pack—it encompasses how we travel, too.
While airline companies, like Alaska Airlines who reduced passenger inflight waste by 54% since 2010 and Jet Blue who has implemented an onboard recycling program, are undoubtedly elevating their eco-conscious game, air travel is still projected to account for 25% of the world’s carbon budget by 2050.
Consider supporting carbon offset programs for your air (or land or sea) miles traveled to make that plane trip a little more planet-positive.
Final Thoughts on Sustainable Travel Packing
Whether you’re visiting Portugal to wander the streets of Lisbon or tour the cork plantations that birthed your Carry Courage luggage set, we could all pay a little more attention to the impact of our next vacation.
Choosing cork fabric for your packing needs may not be the end-all-be-all solution for sustainable travel, but it’s a takeoff in the right direction and sure to get you wondering how else to wander in a more eco friendly way.
*Sustainable Jungle encourages and galvanizes positive change. They share sustainability-related ideas, tips, tricks, hacks, products, brands and stories of people & organizations doing meaningful work to future-proof our planet.

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