If you’ve been leading that less waste life for a while, chances are you’re already aware of many ways in which you can make traveling more sustainable. From offsetting your carbon emissions to choosing rail instead of air, to simply remembering to pack your reusable water bottle, there are many small things we can do that collectively make a big impact.
But one area that may be a little less obvious is the impact of what we choose to pack our belongings in when we travel. Until recently, eco-friendly luggage wasn’t really a thing, but with many companies now looking at ways in which they can improve their products to be more earth-friendly, sustainable luggage is becoming more widely available.
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Why Choose Eco-Friendly Travel Bags?
How often have you seen a broken, discarded, sad-looking suitcase sitting next to a trash can, waiting for the garbage truck to come and whisk it away to landfill? Unfortunately, those broken bags will be sitting in that same landfill for many, many more years to come.
Traditional suitcases can’t be recycled in your curbside recycling bins. And while zero waste services like Terra Cycle do have a recycling program that covers suitcases, it’s going to cost you a pretty penny to do the right thing.
The answer is to buy quality luggage that will last the distance, won’t get broken easily, and that can be at least partially recycled at end of life. And if you can choose luggage that has been created out of recycled materials, you can be comforted that your purchasing power has been used to help combat the waste crisis too.
What’s more, as part of being environmentally conscious companies, many eco luggage brands will take back your luggage when you’re done with it, or repair it for free in order to keep it from going to the trash.
Best Places to Buy Sustainable Luggage
So now we know why we should be looking at eco traveler luggage. But where on earth do you find these ethically made, sustainable suitcases?
The below brands offer recycled, hard-wearing, eco-friendly and often chemical free luggage. So you can choose once, and choose wisely!
Canadian luggage brand Monos design quality, functional, stylish suitcases. Crafted from aerospace-grade polycarbonate and backed by a limited lifetime warranty, their Carry-On range of suitcases are designed last.
Their minimalist appeal and cleverly thought out accessories, like the matching compressible packing cubes, makes packing for your next adventure a breeze.
With sustainability at the core of their business, Monos is carbon neutral certified, and a 1% for the Planet member. Their luggage range is also 100% vegan and is packaged and sent in recyclable materials.
Our Pick: Carry-On Pro Plus in Desert Taupe
Suitcases not your style? Everlane’s ReNew Transit range may be the answer. Made from 100% recycled polyester, the Weekender is tough enough to be used as a carry-on, while doubling as a stylish carry-all for your daily commute.
Everlane hardly needs any introduction when it some to sustainable fashion, and now they’ve got your back when traveling too!
Eco luggage company Paravel is on target to becoming the first 100% sustainable travel brand by the end of 2021.
Not only are they carbon neutral and operate under a code of social responsibility (covering child labor, fair wages and animal welfare among other ethics), their stylish eco suitcases are made out of recycled, robust materials.
Family-owned Lo & Sons believe it isn’t enough to be environment-neutral as a business, they want to take things a step further and help reverse environmental damage while creating beautifully designed and functional eco travel bags.
Their practical & fashionable sustainable weekender bag is made from organic cotton or recycled polyester (you choose!), and is packaged in recycled, recyclable materials.
Neat freaks will covet the Carry-On and Check-in Closet range of eco-friendly suitcases from sustainable luggage company Solgaard.
With an award-winning shelving system that’s been designed to keep you organized wherever in the world you may be, your packing woes are solved once and for all.
Each suitcase is lined with recycled Shore-Tex material (made from ocean-bound plastic), and for every item sold, the company pledges to remove 229 plastic bottles from the ocean. You may want to check out their sustainable backpacks while you’re at it!
Our Pick: Carry-On Closet in Balearic Blue
Ocean heroes, United by Blue commit to removing one pound of trash from the ocean for every item purchased from their store. But they don’t just leave it up to the consumer, they also actively participate in and host waterway cleanups around the US (join one here).
Ocean ethics aside, their practical and fun range of eco-friendly carry on luggage is made out of recycled materials, is 100% vegan, and comes with a lifetime guarantee!
Our Pick: 55L Carry-On Duffle in Cocoa
Chances are you’re already familiar with 1% for the Planet member Patagonia, but you may not realise they also make a line of heavy-duty eco-friendly duffle bags.
Made from 100% recycled materials, these strong, weather-resistant duffel bags come in a range of sizes, colors, and even with added wheels for hassle-free traveling – whatever your preferred method of transport!
Functional, practical, and durable, this eco-friendly carry on luggage from Ogio will be an essential tool in your travel kit!
It’s crafted from thick Cordura Eco fabric – made from reclaimed waste and recycled into a strong & hardwearing fabric.
With a dedicated laptop pouch (fits up to 15″), compartments for easy organisation, and a limited lifetime warranty, it’s a suitcase that’s made to last!
Our Pick: Alpha Convoy 522S Travel Bag in Charcoal
Practical, versatile, and made to last is what Pakt does best.
Their range of durable, sustainable travel bags are created from eco-friendly materials, by workers who are paid fairly, and work in safe conditions; and are sent out in plastic-free packaging. Oh, and did we mention they’re Climate Neutral Certified too?
Check out their simplified range of bags and choose one for your next adventure!
Our Pick: The Pakt One in Navy
Eco-friendly luggage company Eagle Creek sets the bar high when it comes to sustainability.
Their range is consciously crafted from primarily recycled fabrics, and they manufacture without toxic polyvinyl chloride plastics to avoid contaminating the environment.
What’s more, they’re committed to keeping suitcases out of landfill by creating a ‘renewed range’ which sees your old gear given a new lease on life, and all new & used gear comes with a “No Matter What Warranty”!
Our Pick: Tarmac XE 4-Wheel 65L in Artic Seagreen
Canada based MEC believe in tackling sustainability issues in every aspect of their business, from implementing a responsible sourcing policy, to opting out of single-use plastics for their packaging, choosing lower impact freight methods, and promoting gear swaps & repairs over throwing away.
Their range of sustainable travel gear is created out of Bluesign recycled materials and includes day packs, duffle bags and rolling bags.
This versatile duffle bag converts into a backpack or can be carried using the handles, or shoulder strap.
There’s no easier way to keep luggage out of landfill, or to reduce the emissions created by creating new bags, than by buying used gear.
Gear Trade makes finding quality used gear easy, and their site often features many of the sustainable luggage brands featured above.
This is also an excellent option for finding environmentally friendly luggage when you’re on a tight budget!
Remember quality over quantity wins when it comes to buying new travel gear, so buy once and buy well. Hopefully, your new travel bag or eco luggage will last you very well for many, many more adventures to come.