By Oana Muresan
If you're reading this blog, you're probably at least somewhat concerned with living a sustainable lifestyle and you probably already know that traveling is one of the most unsustainable things you can do. Words such as greenhouse gases, pollution, increasing carbon footprints and disposable containers come to mind—all words that are associated with "no-no's" in the environmentally friendly world.
That's all trying to be changed as the United Nations declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The decision is going to be bringing about a lot of changes and hopefully will have more people participating in ecotourism. So find yourself some vacation time, book your flight and pack that suitcase. Your very eco-friendly suitcase, right?
Don't worry, we've got you covered. Check out the list of luggage we've compiled, from weekenders to checked bags and sporty to stylish, to find your perfect fit and know that your vacation is one step closer to being environmentally friendly.
A leader in the environmentally-friendly clothing category, Patagonia also offers messengers, weekend bags, duffel bags and travel bags in all shapes and sizes that range in price from $79 - $349. Their durable fabric has a water repellent finish and is bluesign approved which means that harmful substances have been eliminated right from the beginning of the manufacturing process. Patagonia also promotes fair labor practices, safe working conditions and environmental responsibility—making it not only an environmentally-friendly company but also an ethical one.
The sleek look of the EO Travel Collection from Incase is sure to appeal to those of you also looking for a stylish piece of luggage. The entire collection is made of an environmentally- friendly material, called Ecoya, which is eco-dyed yarn. The production of the material helps to conserve the release of CO2 and COD when compared to generic fabrication of textiles. The material is also superior in other ways, such as being fade resistant when exposed to light, water or washing. The Incase collection runs in price from $90 - $300 and includes briefcases, backpacks, duffel bags and rollers.
This fun collection is created with water repellant exteriors and an interior made of environmentally-friendly materials. All of the Hadaki products are free of AZO, Phthalates/DEHP, DBP, BOP and other harmful chemicals. Their luggage pieces range in price from $70 - $200, but they also have other products such as purses, bags, totes and makeup bags. The company is based in New Orleans and their fun prints are sure to make anyone smile and make you a standout in the airport crowd.
Although Heys doesn't create all of its luggage from eco-friendly material, they do have one collection that is made from 100% recycled plastic, called the Eco Orbis. The company is dedicated to creating high-fashion luggage pieces, so you can bet that their Eco Orbis collection has been created with that in mind as well. There are only three pieces available in the collection, ranging in price from $120 - $150, but if you're looking for a hardback luggage set that is also stylish and eco-friendly, then you've met your match.
Osprey doesn't make their product from eco-friendly materials, but they do strive to create a sustainable environment within their company by using recycled materials for their packaging needs, creating products without BPA, PVC/phthalates and triclosan as well as making sure their products are built to last for a lifetime which ensures that you waste less. The company is also very committed to fair labor. With an office in Vietnam where all their production takes place, the founder Mike Pfotenhauer lives there so he can oversee production and company employees. Prices for their travel luggage range in price from $70 - $380 and include rolling packs, duffel bags and convertible bags.
The highly modern company has options for both men's and women's travel luggage and has high standards set for their manufacturing factories. They ensure fair labor and safe practices and have a policy for transparent pricing which means that you'll pay less for the same style of product at Everlane than you would at another retailer. Although they don't use eco-friendly material (most of their travel pieces are nylon), their transparency policies have earned them a soft spot in environmentalists' hearts. So, if you want something that will withstand the test of time but aren't quite ready to jump into eco-friendly material waters, at least support ethical practices and buy Everlane. Their products range in price from $58 - $330 and includes several styles of backpacks and weekenders.
I don't know about you guys, but I have a bucket list of countries to visit that's three feet long, so I'm keeping this list in mind for next year when the traveling starts. My family is in need of a good set of luggage and I know that I'll feel a lot better traveling with one of the above, knowing that I'm still doing my part even when I'm out and about in an unfamiliar city. And yes, I do have a favorite. Although, I might just get one of each—you know, just to make sure. What's you guys' favorite?
Oana Muresan is a writer and eco enthusiast who aspires to share her love of all things green with the world. Her hobbies include gardening, cooking and probably watching too much NCIS. She's an ardent proponent of the sustainable lifestyle and runs DO Green, a company that promotes eco-friendly services for communities everywhere.