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Sustainable summer vacation – Must-haves for an eco-friendly suitcase

June 9, 2017 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

The wanderlust remains unbroken: in 2016 more than 1.2 billion tourists worldwide traveled to foreign countries. The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) states a plus of 3.9 percent with about 46 million travelers more than in 2015. But it’s not all about the classical beach holidays – winter sports, the popular short breaks and city trips, active holidays, volunteering as well as traveling by bike or hiking tours in sync with nature increase. While planning the next vacation the question is where conscious traveling begins. Is it possible to not only choose a sustainable destination but also act in a sustainable manner and pack a green and environment-friendly luggage?


The green holiday suitcase

A WWF survey shows that for example more than 20 percent of the Germans plan to travel sustainable in the future, however, today only five percent convert their intentions into reality. If you think about buying a sustainable suitcase or travel bag there are numerous eco-friendly alternatives. The German enterprise Milchmeer ecobags sells water resistant travel bags made of used cement bags and fish food sacks. The bags are produced by seamstress and embroiderers in Cambodia, who are fairly remunerated. The famous Italian luggage manufacturer Roncato produces eco-friendly suitcases. The Green suitcase collection “box” is made 100 percent out of the environment-friendly plastic Polypropylen (PP), which is completely recyclable and therefor doesn’t pollute nature, while convincing with Italian design and a low weight.

Beachwear made of milk and flip flops made of natural rubber

The number of green fashion labels is constantly growing with more and more of them not only convincing with a 100 percent rate of organic cotton but with its different creative design. One example is Anke Domaske, microbiologist, fashion designer and founder of QMilk: in her studio in Hannover she creates fashion and materials out of milk. This new and innovative material feels like silk, although it is a lot cheaper and definitely more eco-friendly during the production. Nowadays in Germany alone more than two million litres of milk are disposed every year. One part of it is colostrum, the first milk of calving cows, another one the remaining parts of the cheese production. In cooperation with the Fiber Institute in Bremen the microbiologist has developed a method which allows to produce plastic fibers out of the milk that is not used for food production. The fabric is antibacterial and antiallergic. In five minutes and with two litres of water one produces one kilogram of the bio-polymer, without producing rubber waste. The organic fiber can be completely composted and could even be eaten. During the production only German milk is used, from the doubling mill to the fabric production everything is «Made in Germany» hence sustainable.

Ethletic offers ecological flip flops made out of natural rubber. In 2004 the founders sold the first fairly produced football worldwide and with that were pioneers in a field that was known for child labour and inhumane working conditions. Back then there was no sustainability seal – today the eco-friendly rubber is certified by the Forest Steward-hip Council for lasting forestry. The flip flops from Ethletic exist 100 percent of Fairtrade certified organic cotton while all elastic parts are FSC certified.

Fairtrade backpack and drinking bottles of glass

Enjoy sustainable impressions and experiences during a hike in the Bavarian Region Allgäu at the Hubertus Alpin Lodge & Spa. The hotel is characterised by conscious architecture and partly recyclable furniture in harmony with nature. The fairtrade and GOTS certified backpacks „Ansvar I“ and „Ansvar II“ of the German label Melawear are the perfect companions when going for a hike and wanting to take some local delicacies with you. The Skandinavien designed rucksacks are made of sustainable materials like organic cotton canvas and vegetable-tanned leather as well as buckles free from chrome and nickel. The refined drinking water of Hubertus Alpin Lodge & Spa is perfect for bottling in eco-friendly and reusable glass bottles covered in organic cotton by Emil die Flasche.

Upcycled beach bags at the Spreelagune

The Spreelagunge is an arm of the river Spree where guests enjoy beautiful sand beaches and natural areas for non-swimmers and swimmers. During one of the popular boat trips, kayak or bike tours an upcycled bag for all travel accessories is not to be missed. Since 2008 the Dutch company VanDeBordupcycles old equipment from airplanes into i.a. beach bags.

Good and sustainable sunscreen that is 100 percent vegan and free of chemical additives can be found in every drugstore. Sunglasses made of wood, bamboo or paper are a good alternative for those who like green sunglasses. Kerbholz in Germany produces eco-friendly, 100 percent vegan sunglasses out of certified wood using Carl Zeiss glasses.

Situated in the biosphere reserve Spreewald, the Strandhaus Boutique Resort & Spa is dedicated to the concept of sustainability. The hotel offers green wellness, the own beach bar supports passionately local tradition and culture.  And one jar of Spreewaldgurken will for sure fit into the upcycled beach bag.

Diving in paradise – protection and preservation of the unique coral reefs

The luxury Diving Resort Zeavola lies on Koh Phi Phi in Thailand. The five stars resort was already awarded several times as green resort by the marine biological institute for its engagement to the preservation of the corals. The region between the island of Phuket and the Krabi province, offers an unique underwater world with mostly intact flora and fauna. The resort is built like a traditional Thai village inviting its guests to make an authentic Thailand experience.

Sustainable swimwear is not to be missed in this diver’s paradise. Numerous swim wear fashion labels have specialised in recycling fibers. The fibers come from old PET bottles, carpets or fishing nets. „Ethical swimwear made in Hamburg“ is the slogan of the swim wear label Mymarini, that designs all of its products in Hamburg, while the sewing is carried out in Stuttgart. All models are certified with OEKO-TEX® and can be worn on both sides, thanks to double processing. Additionally the label has developed a system that needs only half the water to colour black fabric.

Many fashion designers, cosmetics manufacturers and producers of holiday accessories, like suitcases, beach bags or sunglasses have internalized the sustainable idea and integrated it in their product life cycles for a long time. In doing so they contribute to the production of sustainable and environment-friendly design. They think, act and strive for sustainability.

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