As a follow up to my annual gift guide for environmentally-conscious travellers, Low-waste Christmas gift guide for travellers 2020, Coconut & Cotton and I are bringing you 8 gift ideas for filling the stockings of the travellers in your life with little goodies that they can use on or to remind them of their travels, plus they’re all low or zero waste!
To make things better, not only will these gifts be given and received guilt-free, they’re also under £5 each so you can gift responsibly and with love whilst saving pennies which seems to be becoming increasingly hard to do as the festive season rolls around each year.
It might be the most wonderful time of the year but it really can’t be ignored that Christmas is also the most wasteful. With approximately 30% extra waste produced via packaging, wrapping, food and unwanted presents it’s so important that everyone takes the right steps towards reducing waste this year. A few ways are:
Bring your own shopping bags when you go out to buy gifts
Buy and cook what will be eaten, freeze what you can’t
Avoid gifts with excess packaging
Buy meaningful and useful gifts that won’t get thrown away
As you’re reading this sustainable gift guide, you’re already looking to purchase meaningful and low-waste gifts so that’s amazing and thank you for that! You’re on your way to making the world a better place for everyone.
Before we take you through our 8 sustainable stocking filler suggestions, let me take a moment to introduce you to Coconut & Cotton (if you haven’t already spotted them on my Instagram Stories).
Coconut & Cotton is an Earth conscious brand physically located in Shaftesbury, Dorset which is in the south-west of England. All of their products are 97.6% plastic free (they did the math!) and it’s a shopping experience that sustainable dreams are made of. They also have an online shop so you will be able to add everything on our list to your basket by clicking on the product name or images below. Coconut & Cotton is an essential shop that is open during the pandemic so you can shop in-store if you are nearby, but if you aren’t they ship out everything that’s available online in plastic-free and reusable packaging.
They also run a monthly giveaway that all online shoppers are automatically added to where you’ll have the chance to win a variety of low-waste goodies from their shop. I actually won one earlier this year and received four bars of French soap which I travelled across the UK with as a responsible alternative to the liquid hand soaps and shower gels in the Airbnbs I was staying in.
I first came across Coconut & Cotton when a fellow 4ocean partner recommended them over Instagram and after looking at their wide range of well-considered and reasonably priced products I was sold on them and I put in an order straight away for some low waste travel essentials (some of which I’ve listed below). Ever since then I have turned to Coconut & Cotton for most of my bathroom, kitchen and travel products. They have everything covered from cooking and cleaning to self care and education, they even have plastic-free toys for children to encourage them to play mindfully!
Aside from shopping responsibly from Coconut & Cotton, I highly recommend following their Instagram: @coconut.and.cotton because Lucy, the founder of Coconut & Cotton is always on Stories providing highly amusing content that is worth tuning in to not just because she’s so relatable but she also shares new products, does frequent shop tours in case you’ve missed something, product reviews and tips for living a more Earth conscious lifestyle.
Now you know how amazing Coconut & Cotton is, let me take you through our top 8 low-waste/zero-waste/plastic-free stocking fillers for travellers with a sustainable heart:
A reusable face mask should be at the top of every traveller’s packing checklist along with their passport. In pandemic centric times we need to put the safety of everyone before anything else and the best ways to do that is to cover faces and clean hands. Along with everyone else, travellers will need to wear a face mask whilst inside buildings and on public transport and as flights could be numerous hours long, they’ll need one that’s comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
These reusable face masks from Coconut & Cotton are particularly amazing because they are made from 100% Fairtrade cotton, have a pocket to insert filters and they have a built in nose wire for maximum comfort and fit.
My Coconut & Cotton face mask was the first one I bought and I can tell you it has kept and washed well after months of use.
Reusable – as always – masks are better for the environment because they create far less waste, they don’t put any critter’s lives at risk (remember to cut your straps before disposing of single-use masks if you have them) and they are plastic free. Then one day, when we don’t need them anymore they will make a great dust cloth.
£4 – 5
They are available in a variety of colours and in three sizes:
Medium 14 – 17cm
Large 17 – 20cm
Extra Large 20cm+
A massively overlooked bathroom item which has a dreadful impact on the environment is the plastic toothbrush. Did you know that every plastic toothbrush ever used still exists on this planet and will do for approximately 1000 years? Not only do we frequently change toothbrushes for optimal oral hygiene but travellers tend to have multiple toothbrushes on-the-go for when they’re well, on-the-go; I have two in my bathroom (one is for taming my baby hairs), one in my toiletry bag and another in my carry-on toiletry bag for when I travel light. So imagine if those were plastic, how much more waste there would be and was in the years before I made the switch to bamboo toothbrushes.
Bamboo toothbrushes are the most responsible choice because bamboo is a sustainable material. It is 100% naturally biodegradable and easily sourced. The bristles just need to be removed as they won’t naturally break down.
PFH Top Tip: travellers can repurpose their old toothbrushes to clean dirt from their hiking boots.
Coconut & Cotton has a variety of bamboo toothbrushes available online and in-store. This one is from their essential range and is reasonably priced at just £1.50.
Take a look here for Coconut & Cotton’s plastic-free toothpaste options, some come in travel-friendly containers too.
A bar of soap is the most sustainable toiletry product that a traveller can use on their trips around the world. They have little to no packaging, they last far longer than liquid soap and they are multipurpose.
This Travel Soap bar in particular from Coconut & Cotton can be used four ways:
as body wash
Not only is this great in terms of preventing further waste from additional products but it also means the traveller you are buying for doesn’t have to pack multiple toiletries, so you’re also gifting them more space and lighter luggage (which is also better for the environment).
All soap bars from Coconut & Cotton are either packaging-free or in recyclable packaging. This one is also free from parabens, palm oil and cruelty.
Soap dishes or the side of the bathtub (I know I’m not the only one) suffice at home but travellers need a way to keep their bar of soap sanitary when packed away.
A simple tin will protect their soap in their luggage and this rectangular one from Coconut & Cotton is the perfect size for a bar of soap and I have never had a problem fitting any bar of soap in it that I have purchased or been gifted.
For all travellers (with hopes of) heading to warmer climates in 2021, help them to protect their skin and the environment with a natural suncream such as this one by Shade.
Suncream is a silent killer. Chemicals such as Oxybenzone and Butylparaben that are in most suncreams cause coral bleaching and disrupt their reproduction, ultimately killing coral reefs, collapsing whole ecosystems and displacing the marine life that once made it home. It is crucial that everyone uses reef safe suncream to help preserve the marvellous marine life that we so love to admire.
To help travellers have less of an impact on the delicate ecosystems that they will be snorkelling and/or scuba diving to, make sure they’re equipped with a suncream that will protect both them and coral.
This natural suncream by Shade from Coconut & Cotton is free from nasty chemicals, is compact so it won’t take up much room in their beach bag and it comes in a reusable tin!
“Unlike many chemical sunscreens, Shade™ does not contain burn inhibitors which switch off the burning sensation. If you feel you are beginning to burn, it’s your body’s warning to you that you have been exposed for too long, and the sensible approach is to cover up by wearing clothing or move out of the sun altogether.” – Coconut & Cotton website.
You may have noticed a running theme of keeping things compact and light. This is so important for travellers to keep luggage costs down and to fit more in their luggage. Of course, packing reusable items to prevent contributing to our planet’s growing plastic pollution crisis means we have to pack a little more than someone who isn’t taking the necessary steps to save our planet, so finding small reusable alternatives is welcomed.
With that said, this little Bamboo Spork from Coconut & Cotton is the ideal small replacement for single-use cutlery when they’re eating on-the-go. Whether it’s tucking into their own packed meal on their train, shaved ice in Maui, an Acai bowl in Bali or a superfood salad in L.A. (a traveller can dream, ok?) they will have their mini spork at the ready!
Then one day, when it’s no longer usable it can be popped into the compost or used as really tiny firewood.
For those travellers who don’t have a trip coming up soon and miss one of the best parts of exploring new countries: trying exciting local and national dishes, we recommend popping a packet of loose tea in their stocking. In particular, this Moroccan Mint Tea from Coconut & Cotton.
I wasn’t a fan of mint tea until I went to Marrakech, Morocco in 2017 and now I drink it frequently as a digestive aid after a large meal, just nowhere near as sweet thank goodness. For any traveller who has experienced the spectacle that is being served mint tea in Morocco, this tea will be a very exciting gift and a nostalgic taste of north African and Arab cuisine.
Loose tea leaves are far more responsible for the environment than tea bags as they eliminate the additional packaging and more importantly they are plastic free. Unfortunately half of the UK’s leading tea bag brands use a plastic skeleton in all of their tea bags and considering millions of cups of tea are being made in Britain daily, that’s a scary amount of plastic being thrown out every time someone enjoys a brew.
I switched to loose tea leaves Christmas Day 2019 and to the published date of this blog post I have saved myself from adding at least 550 plastic tea bags to the planet.
Coconut & Cotton has a wide variety of loose tea and is probably the best priced loose tea I’ve seen.
What’s a stocking on Christmas day without chocolate? I know, it’s a daunting thought! So whilst you’re filling the stocking of the traveller in your life with wonderful travel-themed gifts, pop in a bar of something sweet like this Cocoa Loco chocolate bar so they have something extra special to nibble on whilst they wait for their bus/train/plane etc.
Cocoa Loco produces organic, Fairtrade and vegetarian chocolate that is free from palm oil.
Coconut & Cotton also stock a Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bar and chocolate covered mango and raspberry pieces.
The Coconut & Cotton shop in Swans Yard, Shaftesbury is open Monday – Saturday, 9:30 – 5pm.
If you have any questions feel free to reach out to Lucy either via Coconut & Cotton’s Instagram or email her at email@example.com.
Happy Holidays, Gabriella