Be a more eco traveller

When global travel does open up again let’s all do our bit to lessen the impact of our wanderlust on the environment, says German sustainable travel experts Green Pearls

Finisterre has swimwear ranges made from Econyl

The environmental impact of travel is well known but that's not stopping us from taking to the skies, the seas and the roads. Some see it as tinkering at the edges, but looking at the paraphernalia we choose when we travel might help our lessen our personal carbon footprints - such as choosing swimwear made from recycled nylon. Pictured above: British brand Finisterre offers swimwear made from Econyl, nylon 6 yarn made from recycled nylon products. 

*Click on images in article to see them in larger format with caption info.

It’s inate in us to travel and over the past 40 years more of us have done so, thanks in no small part to the jumbo 737 and 747. Last year more than 1.2 billion tourists worldwide traveled to foreign countries, which according to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) was an increase of 3.9 per cent, or 46 million more travellers, on 2015.

We should all certainly think long and hard about where we go and how we get there - take the train to Beijing or hitch a ride on a sail yacht to Bombay if we can spare the time. And leave Everest in peace for a while. 

And we can all do something about the industries that make all the gear that makes travelling pleasant - the bags, the suitcases, the towels, the swimwear, the footwear, the sun screens. Because by choosing the more eco friendly, sustainable products, so manufacturers will come under pressure to raise their standards and put more effort into using non-fossil fuel derived materials or using post-consumer recycled content in their products

Chilly's bottles are made from high grade stainless steel and keep water cold for 24 hours. From £15
US swimwear maker Speedo has ranges made from econyl, recycled nylon yarn
Wood framed sunglasses by UK's Campbell Marson, which also offers wood flooring. These lightweight g



Weekend travel bag by Germany's Milchmeer. The material is made from waste cement and fish food bags
Jerry stainless steel water bottle - profits go to sanitation projects in India and Africa. £22.99
Linen bath towel, 100 % Lithuanian linen, from LinenWorld on Etsy
Vow never to buy plastic bottles of water
The oceans are full of plastic and we holidaymakers should at the very least ensure we don’t add to it. One of the best things we can do is not buy bottles of water at the beach but take our own re-useable bottles with us. Chilly's Bottles are ideal, being made from high grade stainless steel. They keep water cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours and come in myriad colours and various sizes. Or if you prefer to buy from social enterprises, Jerry offers stainless steel water bottles with a reclaimed bamboo lid, no less, and profits from sales go to fund sanitation projects in West Bengal and in Tanzania. (Find them in the UK at
Wood framed sunglasses
Sunglasses frames are made predominantly from plastic. However, there are companies trying to wean onto wooden frames, which are more eco friendly (as long as the timber comes from sustainable forests), lightweight and very attractive. We Brits are only just starting to consider wooden frames as a viable option, however in Germany and the US, the market is significant. If you've got some serious money to play with, acquaint yourself with the beautiful wooden eyewear made by UK company Campbell Marson, which has been producing wooden flooring since the 1920s and last year decided to turn its gaze on glasses.
MD Alan Fox says 'as a company of woodworkers and cabinet makers, our aim was simple. To make the most exceptionally engineered wooden glasses in the world. With a company full of talented cabinet makers, we knew this was very achievable. Our challenge was to make a pair of glasses that was design led, technically superior to any other wooden frames, comfortable to wear, super lightweight and flexible, easy to glaze, with a cabinet makers finish.'
He thinks the reason many people are sceptical about wood being uses for frames for glasses is that early models didn't work because makers didn't understand the parameters of wood. 'Wood is hydroscopic, meaning it can take on and release moisture. This in turn means it can move, shrink twist and or crack if not manufactured and finished in the correct manner. Many companies tried and failed to make wooden eye wear, and as experienced cabinet makers, we could see immediately why their efforts were unsuccessful.'
Over in the US, LA based SBOJi offers a range of wood frames, including some made from recycled skateboard wood, while Berlin-based DaWanda offers wooden sunglasses at under 80 euros and here in the UK, fashion brand Toast sells them too.
Recycled nylon swimwear
Swimwear doesn't really work made from natural fibres alas - no one wants a wool bikini, for example, because it’ll fall down under the weight of the water it’ll absorb when you take a dip. But nylon and polyester are oil-derived fibres so the direction of travel should be to use recycled synthetic fibres. UK clothing brand Finisterre has stylish swimwear made from Econyl, a fibre made from recycled nylon, with sources including discarded fishing nets. US brand Speedo is also very keen to use econyl - the Powerflex Eco one-piece swimsuit is just one of its designs that use recycled nylon yarn.
Wooden sunglasses by Dorfmadl available on
To Go Ware reusable bamboo cutlery and chop sticks is great - get out of the habit of using plastic



Aerolite 8 Go Green luggage is made from recycled PET plastic. Find it on Amazon and Ebay.
LA based SBOJi has frames made from bamboo and recycled skateboard wood
Waxed canvas backpack, with vegetable dyed leather by Innes Bags, on Etsy. £118.20
Organic cotton towels from Glasgow's fou furnishings are superb quality. Bath towel £13.99.
Green People sunscreens are less harmful to coral and fish. £22 for 200ml.
Organic cotton towels are far more eco than conventional cotton ones.. Greenfibres in Totnes
Patagonia's 20 L Refugio backpack is made from 50 per cent recycled nylon
If you're thinking about buying an eco friendly suitcase or rucksack there are plenty of good options. German brand Milchmeer Ecobags offers water resistant travel bags made from used cement bags and fish food sacks. They're fair trade, being sewn in Cambodia by women in co-operatives who are are fairly remunerated. Well known Italian manufacturer Roncato produces some eco-friendly suitcases: its Green collection ‘box’ is made from 100 per cent Polypropylen (PP), a fully recyclable plastic. And Patagonia, of course, has long championed the use of recycled nylon and many of its rucksacks are made from it. Eco-friendly beach bags are fairly easy to find these days, made from jute, cork, organic cotton etc. And Dutch company VanDeBord offers fun bags made from waste materials from aircraft, such as the flotation jackets stored under seats which we all hope we’ll never have to use! Melawear offers great rucksacks made from organic cotton, vegetable dyed leather and chrome/nickel-free buckles. A natural wax coating makes the fabric waterproof. 
Choose organic cotton towels over conventional cotton ones, or if you're short on space, the thin linen or hemp towels are perfect for travelling. As are Turkish hammam towels. 
Take a lightweight washable bamboo set with you so you never need use disposable plastic cutlery. To Go Ware is a brand to look at.