One of the easiest – and trendiest – ways to look good, feel good and do good is by carrying along travel products that used to be something else.
Upcycling has become the new multi-tasking, with old, retired items being creatively transformed into something that gives them a second life.
Here are 10 eco-friendly companies that should become your go-tos (and go-withs) when you travel.
These shoes are made from plastic water bottles — Photo courtesy of Rothy's
These game-changing flats are so stylish, they would be conversation pieces even if they weren’t made from recycled plastic. But, luckily for the planet, they are, which means they’ve already saved more than 26 million bottles from landfills.
Because they’re also machine washable (yes, really!) and flexible enough to squish into a carry-on, they’re perfect travel companions. And they are so comfortable, they’ll keep you on solid ground, no matter where your feet take them.
Hoist Away Bags
These bags are made from old sails — Photo courtesy of Hoist Away Bags
Created in coastal Maine, these great-looking bags are made from authentic, retired sails, so you know they’ll weather any storm. Not only does Hoist Away repurpose the sails themselves but they preserve nautical history by stitching a piece of the vessel’s legacy inside every item.
Lightweight, washable and basically indestructible, these totes, dopp kits, wallets and messenger bags naturally incorporate elements of the original sail – the fabric, hanks, trim – into each piece. Talk about getting a second wind.
The soles of these shoes are made from old tires — Photo courtesy of soleRebels
You’ll be attracted to these shoes because of their looks but you’ll fall in love with them because of their sole – and their soul. Handcrafted in Ethiopia, soleRebels uses recycled tires for soles and inner tubes for laces. They've reinvented the whole idea of footwear and sustainability by supporting the local community along with their customers’ feet.
Because these are likely to become your favorite shoes, do yourself a favor and, just like you’d do with the tires they’re made from, make sure to buy a spare.
This leather bag from Looptworks was once a Southwest Airlines seat cover — Photo courtesy of Looptworks
This innovative company is all about transforming excess textiles into fashionable new accessories, and they’ve partnered with some of the country’s top airlines to create exciting travel products.
There are bags made from retired Delta uniforms and seat covers from Southwest and Alaska Airlines. Wear yours proudly on your next flight and don’t be surprised when you get an upgrade.
This handbag is made from pop tops — Photo courtesy of Cosas
No wonder this bag pops – it’s made from pop tops!
Handcrafted by indigenous women in central Mexico, each Floka Tamarindo purse requires 1,435 pop tops and 45 hours of labor to complete. Floka’s mission is to repurpose recycled materials into wearable art, and they do that by also raising women from poverty. This is a true passion project of Cosas, and your purchase helps employ and empower these women while saving the environment.
This is the best under the seat carry-on luggage of 2019
This is the best under the seat carry-on luggage of 2019
These bags are made from old billboards — Photo courtesy of Rareform
Made from recycled billboards, these one-of-a-kind bags and accessories are lightweight, waterproof and statement-making.
Rareform rescues 50,000 pounds of billboard vinyl each month, repurposing it into unique practical items that are more head-turning than the giant signs that made them possible. Carry them with you on your road trip and look above the highway to find the source of your next one.
These beach towels are made from recycled materials — Photo courtesy of Sand Cloud
There are so many reasons to ditch your ratty old towels and replace them with these simple yet sophisticated beauties from Sand Cloud.
For one thing, these towels are sand-resistant, so you don’t bring the beach home with you. For another thing, they’re made of recycled materials. Maybe best of all, they also donate 10% of profits to non-profits dedicated to conservation.
Wool & The Gang
This yarn is made from plastic water bottles — Photo courtesy of Wool and the Gang
There’s no better – and more productive – way to entertain yourself during a long flight than by knitting the 'I Got You Bag' from Wool and the Gang, which you can then use to hold your souvenirs.
This easy kit features the hip brand’s new, eco-friendly New Wave yarn, which comes in a dozen gorgeous colors and is made from recycled plastic bottles. Surprisingly soft and squishy, each ball of yarn contains the equivalent of three plastic bottles, and makes you realize that the future of the planet literally lies in your hands.
ACE HOTEL x EVERYBODY. WORLD Collection
These accessories are made from retired Ace Hotel linens — Photo courtesy of Everybody Ace
This exclusive "Recently Retired" travel collection is made from Ace Hotel linens, and features a weekend duffel bag, eye mask, slippers and zip pouches.
Ace Hotel is all about blending the old world with the future. Their sheets and towels are upcycled into high-quality, organic cotton linens dyed and quilted to create new, biodegradable textiles that are colorful, tactile and a joy to (re)use.
These jeans are made from plastic water bottles — Photo courtesy of Nicole Miller
Recycling is definitely in fashion, as proven by these high-rise skinny jeans made from recycled water bottles and plant-based materials. Pair it with the signature Anti-Plastic T-shirt to send a powerful message when you travel.
Designer Nicole Miller is passionate about sustainability and the reuse of existing garments, and she will be donating 10% of the sales of these items to the Rocky Mountain Institute, an organization dedicated to the research and education of sustainability.