eco, ethical, luggage, travel, leotie lovely, vegan, zero waste
Day 210 / 365

I travel a lot. Probably more than an eco-blogger should, I always have. My entire life my family has lived on opposite sides of the pond with the girls in Canada and the boys in England. No matter which side of the Atlantic I live on, I'm always away from someone. Then I married a Texan who lives in Paris with family in Spain, making seeing everyone at least once a year a nearly impossible thing without increasing our carbon footprint in some way. To top it off, both my husfriend and I travel for work, him with photography and me with random freelance jobs that, until this blogging thing pays off (like the bills, or even half the rent) I have to jump and take. 

Before Iceland's Eyjafjallaj√∂kull volcano erupted back in 2010, you could fly just about anywhere in Europe for less than the price of a latte with much-hated airline, Ryanair. I was dating a Danish dude at the time and was visiting Denmark from Thursday to Sunday every weekend, flying from London and back again for about 3 years straight, paying £4-10 each way. Due to Ryanair's strict baggage requirements for carry-ons and the fact that I never booked a checked bag (it cost £20) at the start of this long distance Danish dating, I bought myself a roll along bag IT bag, the lightest rolling cabin bag on the market, made to fit Ryanair's size requirements exactly and beat the sleazy airline at their own game. According to my email records, I bought it in 2008, and now, 8 years later it's still rolling, though admittedly in much rougher shape after 300+ journies up, over or away. 

My husfriend and I now share the IT bag and a larger MEC one (which I've had since I was 18) on any travels in or out of the city we make, but it's come to the point that we need a second one as we often travel in opposite directions at the same time and one of us (him) ends up having to make due with hauling around their stuff in a half broken backpack and an alarming number of canvas bags. 

If I wasn't so committed to voting with my dollar and buying eco products produced ethically, I would probably just get us another IT bag based on its durability and price. But since it is not made ethically and is fabricated with polyester, a fabric which is derived from oil and won't biodegrade, I had a little search to see what alternatives were out there. 

Most luggage is made from oil derived fabrics which won't biodegrade and produced in unsafe working conditions by workers who are unfairly paid. 

Now I realise these items are considerably more expensive than that of the IT bag, but most come with lifetime guarantees like my MEC bag (ethical, but not eco-friendly) and will stand the test of time so this will likely be your first and last buy. 

ONE. PATAGONIA Headway Wheeled Duffel Bag (the only ECO + ETHICAL option)
Eco + Ethical How? Made from 9.25-oz 940-denier nylon CORDURA® Ballistic with a polyurethane coating and lined with 200-denier 100% polyester. Both fabrics have a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. Patagonia promotes fair labor practices, safe working conditions and environmental responsibility throughout the Patagonia supply chain. 
Where To Buy? On Patagonia's website, HERE

Eco + Ethical How? Made out of tough 300-denier Ecoya® eco-dyed tech materials, this bag is produced in Asia with additional subcontracting facilities located both in the U.S. and overseas. I contacted them to see if their workers are paid fairly and was responded to with a simple: "yes", which is not so convincing so before you buy this bag may be eco but not ethical and it is worth contacting them yourself to make sure they check out. 
Where To Buy? Nordstroms website, HERE 

THREE. HADAKI Rolling Suitcase (ECO)
Eco + Ethical How? Water repellant exterior and interior made from eco-friendly materials. HADAKI products are AZO free. We use no Phthalates / DEHP or DBP. Their products are made in the USA though they don't mention whether their workers are paid ethically.
Where To Buy? Showbuy's website, HERE.  

Eco + Ethical How? I'm only mentioning MEC because my entire family uses their products and we've yet to have one break. All their products are ethically made and fairtrade, with profits donated to social projects, but only use eco-friendly fabrics in a portion of their products. In some cases, buying durable products over less durable eco products is more eco in the end. This is the only brand apart from IT I've ever used and I can stand by them due to durability, especially when it comes to a product like a suitcase as you basically just need one really good one to get you through your lifetime of travels. They're members of 1% For The Planet, host gear swaps and will take back and repair or replace any products that don't stand up to their own high standards. They have a lifetime guarantee and produce with the smallest possible footprint .

Where To Buy? Their website, HERE

FIVE. HEYS Eco Cases (ECO)
Eco + Ethical How? (from their site) Made from 100% recycled plastic, the Eco Orbis™ offers incredible strength, durability, flexibility and lightweight properties altogether. Creating luggage out of recycled materials reduces the demand for new materials and resources. In effect, this also reduces materials that would otherwise be disposed of in a landfill. There is no mention of whether HEYs pays their workers ethically.
Where To Buy? Luggage Factory's website, HERE.

Do you know of any other eco + ethical luggage brands? If so, please put a link in the comments below! Be sure to share this using the buttons below with any of your vagabond friends who might need a greener suitcase for their life on the G-O.

LEAD PHOTO: Karen Rosalie