Why You Should Shop for Sustainable Souvenirs

School recycling programs can help save the planet

Eco-tourism is a huge trend. Everywhere you go, hospitality establishments, tour companies, and travel agencies are showing an increase in demand for vacations that don’t inflate our carbon footprint. Traveling light and keeping it sustainable should also extend to the trinkets and souvenirs that fill our bags as we return to our homes.

Sustainable souvenirs

Sustainable souvenirs
Shop from local artists to support the people and the towns that you visit on your travels.

Every area you visit is going to have souvenirs that are particular to that area, giving you a small reminder of a wonderful vacation. However, many of these souvenirs are not functional and quickly lose their appeal. How many key chains, tiny figurines, snow-globes, and refrigerator magnets can one person have? Too often, these souvenirs end up in the trash, and too often these souvenirs are made of plastic. To keep your travels green, look for sustainable souvenirs.

Local artists and businesses

One way to shop for sustainable souvenirs is to shop from local artists and businesses. Shop for products that are produced locally to reduce the carbon footprint. If you’re trecking through the jungle in South America, don’t buy a plastic trinket that’s mass produced in China. Look for products that have meaning to the place you visit, and also help support local businesses and local artists to sustain their economy.

Natural products

Shopping for sustainable souvenirs
Find local products made with local organic and natural ingredients.

No matter where you are you’ll be able to find products that are made locally from natural and organic materials. The more you know about the materials they use and how they are sourced, the more you can steer clear of souvenirs that have a big carbon footprint. Just because a material is organic doesn’t mean that it has been responsibly sourced. If you are shopping for souvenirs made from wood, make sure that the species isn’t endangered and that it comes from a sustainably managed forest.

Finding sustainable souvenirs will also help you get to know the locals and their culture on a more intimate level, instead of shopping at the mainstream souvenir shops – or the airport! Immerse yourself in local culture by shopping for locally produced and sustainable souvenirs.

Sunrise Sanitation provides waste management and recycling services in West Virginia and Maryland.

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