Traveling can put major pressure on the environment. Can sustainable luggage help reduce your carbon footprint?
The short answer: yes. Investing in quality luggage reduces the need for replacements, and when it’s made sustainably, you’re also reducing your impact on the planet from the start.
There’s every reason to want to reduce your travel footprint. The travel industry produces about 2.5 percent of all CO2 emissions. The good news is that airlines and even cruise ship companies are working to reduce their carbon footprints, use more sustainable fuel, and encourage consumers to offset their trips by efforts such as tree plantings.
Demand for sustainable luggage
As the global population increases, travel is expected to increase, too. The global luggage industry is expected to see a CAGR of 7.68 percent between 2021 and 2025; 49 percent of that growth will come from APAC region as income levels rise, according to Technavio.
That means more luggage produced to meet the increase in travel, whether it’s air travel or by other means. One of the ways the luggage industry is responding to the climate crisis is by reducing luggage weight to meet airline industry regulations. Travelers are more interested in lighter weight bags and suitcases than ever before.
Luggage brands are looking to a number of sustainable options including recycled materials such as upcycled plastic bottles and even recycling old luggage parts. Some are working with post-industrial materials such as offcuts. Others are looking to work with sustainable materials such as plant or fungi leather and other bio-based materials.
Luggage handling is getting an overhaul, too. In 2021, the Dutch-based software company BagsID Network partnered with the Netherlands Airport Consultants on the Green Bag Alliance, a computer baggage identification system to help reduce luggage’s environmental impact. The effort will see research and tools implemented aimed at making the system more sustainable and efficient.
There are also a number of luxurious, sustainable hotels and destinations you can make part of your trip, and many more are on the way.
Sustainable luggage brands
Of course, the most sustainable luggage is the suitcase or bag you already have in your closet. But if the moths ate through them during the covid hiatus, upgrade with these sustainable luggage options from conscious brands.
1. Horizn Studios
Launched in 2015, U.K.-based Horizn Studios is focused on sustainable solutions to drive the future of travel. The company designs luggage for the smart, urban traveler for daily commute and globetrotting alike. Horizn created the world’s first luggage with a built-in removable charging function. And it was the first to collaborate with NASA astronaut Alyssa Carson on space luggage that debuted in 2019.
Last year, Horizn launched Circle One, what it’s calling the world’s most sustainable luxury luggage made entirely from plant-based and biodegradable materials. The eco luggage is also designed to be repaired, instead of replaced, so it lasts through all of your adventures and can be handed down to future generations along with your travel stories.
All of Paravel’s luggage is made from sustainable, recycled, and upcycled materials, including plastic water bottles and recycled aluminum. Sustainability is at the core of every decision, the company says on its website. “We do our part in the fight against climate change by focusing on three key issues: reducing and offsetting carbon emissions, incorporating upcycled and eco-certified materials throughout every product detail, and planting trees in depleted ecosystems.”
You’ll love traveling with Paravel luggage because it’s better for the planet, but you’ll also love the performance, durability, and style. Paravel’s Aviator is the first carbon-neutral suitcase and it’s made with recycled aircraft-grade aluminum.
If you’ve been conscious about traveling sustainably, it’s likely you already own Patagonia luggage. The outdoor gear giant has been making sustainable luggage for years. Whether backpacking, carry-ons, or checked luggage, Patagonia makes something for everyone.
The company is a certified B Corp and takes its carbon footprint seriously, using low-impact materials, including a large percentage of recycled and bio-based materials. Patagonia is also a fierce protector of the environment, committing to conservation efforts with the recent ownership switch. And it offers lifetime repairs and replacements so you can keep your luggage indefinitely.
From Canada comes Monos, a sustainable, carbon-neutral certified luggage brand committed to quality and style. Each hard case is made from aerospace-grade polycarbonate. The company’s motto is mindfulness, which it says makes for better, more responsible travelers.
“Mindfulness – being fully immersed in the here and now – is at the heart of our philosophy on travelling and living well. We believe that when we are present in the moment and mindful in our travels – when we are passionate wanderers – the deeper beauty of the world reveals itself,” reads the Monos website.
Solgaard masterfully packs in the priorities like you’ll pack your gear into the brand’s gorgeous suitcases. The products are more than just sustainably made, they give back. For every item sold, Solgaard keeps 229 plastic bottles out of the oceans. Ocean-bound plastic makes up the base of the luggage design along with recycled metals, and interior fabric which is also made from upcycled plastic.
But your mind won’t be on any of that when you wheel your Solgaard from flight to destination. All you’ll be thinking about is how easy and accommodating the luggage is—and that you should probably travel more.
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