fbpx

Sustainable Souvenirs: What To Buy and What Not To Buy

sustainable souvenirs

On any trip, it is important to think about how you get from point A to B, where you stay, and what you eat and drink.  As a sustainable tourist you also are conscious of your impact on people and on the environment. It is also important to make the right choices when it comes to the souvenirs that you buy.

What to buy as a sustainable tourist

Famous Balinese Rattan Eco Bags In A Local Souvenir Market On Street In Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. Handi
Balinese rattan eco bags in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. Photo credit: olegd/Bigstock

The first and most important thing to bear in mind when buying souvenirs is that less is often more. Living sustainably is all about thinking about what you truly need or want, and what you can really do without. Your goal should be to reduce your overall consumption. In today’s world, the temptation to buy, buy, buy is all around us. It is not that we should not buy at all, but simply we should avoid knee-jerk reactions and impulse buys, and think very carefully about each and every item we choose.Positive purchases are things that will do no harm (and potentially even do good) to people and planet. Purchases should ideally be:

  • Things that have not caused harm to the environment in their manufacture. i.e. – be things that are natural, organic, zero or low carbon, from sustainable and non-polluting sources.
  • Items that have not exploited workers, or put them in harms way.
  • Non-harmful to wildlife or other animals.
  • Made from materials that do not pose a waste problem at the end of their useful lives.
Traditional Handmade Turkish Lamps In Souvenir Shop. Mosaic Of Colored Glass.
Traditional handmade Turkish lamps in souvenir shop. Photo credit: olegbreslavtsev/Bigstock

When you buy things as a sustainable tourist, the proceeds from the sale should be funneled back to improve the lives of local people, or to protect or enhance local ecosystems. It is important not to buy items that are mass-produced and items that simply line the pockets of middlemen and businesses rather than supporting local communities and those who made the items in the first place.You might imagine sustainable travelers would be better off to buy anything at all. But when you buy the right souvenirs, you can actually make your travels more, and not less sustainable. To support sustainable manufacture, craft and communities, some items you might want to consider buying include:

bookaway
  1. Natural and organic honeys, preserves, wines and other food and drink items.
  2. Natural and organic plant fiber clothing/ textiles.
  3. Woven baskets and other similar craft items.
  4. Wooden items crafted using traditional skills.
  5. Hand-crafted jewelry (especially ones which uses natural or reclaimed materials).
  6. Hand-made pottery or ceramic items.
  7. Upcycled items that use materials that would otherwise have been thrown away.

Of course, even with such items, it is important to check that they really were made locally. It is also best to buy directly from the makers/ producers, or at least to verify that the money from the sale really is going into their hands.

Traditional Moroccan Market With Souvenirs.
Traditional Moroccan market with souvenirs. Photo credit: Gavran Boris/Bigstock

What Not to Buy on Sustainable Trips

Unfortunately, there are a large number and variety of souvenirs on sale that are far from sustainable. Many souvenirs are definite no-nos for ethical and environmentally conscious travelers. Some items you should most definitely  avoid include:

  1. Food and drink items from damaging mono-crop agriculture and factory farming.
  2. Items made from ivory and horn. Of course you should make sure you do not buy any items that have come from illegal poaching.
  3. Furs/ leathers/silks and other animal products whose provenance cannot be verified. (Vegans will usually avoid these altogether. But even if you do not believe that these are unethical in principle, these industries can be hugely harmful to people and the wider environment, as well as causing animal suffering. Unless you know exactly where these things come from, and how cruelty free and sustainable the process was, these should most definitely be avoided.)
  4. Live animal souvenirs. You might be horrified to learn that live animals are sometimes given away as souvenirs. Sustainable, ethical travelers should, of course, avoid these at all costs.
  5. Synthetic or other non-natural clothing and textiles, which come at a high toll for people and the planet.
  6. Mass produced plastic, which was not only hugely harmful at the point of manufacture, but which also contributes to the massive problem of plastic waste.
  7. Hardwood items and other wooden items that have come from non-sustainable felling. Deforestation is a massive problem and it is important to make sure you do not play a role in causing more of it.
  8. Live plants. Not only might taking live plants cause harm to the local environment, there is also the danger they will harbor pests and disease which could pose a huge threat to the ecosystem back home.


These are just some of the damaging souvenirs travelers sometimes inadvertently buy. You should be sure to avoid all of these and other damaging, mass produced items on your sustainable adventures. Of course, you should also be sure to avoid buying any items which funnel money away from, rather than towards sustainable community development and conservation. Look out for any unscrupulous operators who exploit local crafters and producers and if in doubt, do not be afraid to walk away.It is always important to think carefully before making any purchases, and the souvenirs that we buy when we are away from home are no exception. There is nothing wrong with buying something to remind you of your trip to take back home – just make sure you choose something that does good, rather than harm. 

bookaway

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Follow Us


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required




Find Your Next Flight

Recent Posts

Bath UK UNESCO World Heritage Site
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
April 29, 2020
UNESCO World Heritage Site in Thailand. Buddha Statues At Wat Mahathat Ancient Capital Of Sukhothai, Thailand.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Thailand
April 27, 2020
Aerial View Of Pechersk Lavra In Kiev, Ukraine. A UNESCO World Heritage Site
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ukraine
April 27, 2020

Advertisement

We are using cookies to give you the best experience. You can find out more about which cookies we are using or switch them off in privacy settings.
AcceptPrivacy Settings

GDPR

Last updated: June 04, 2017

McCadams Creative, LLC (“us”, “we”, or “our”) operates the https://www.globalheritagetravel.com website (the “Service”).

This page informs you of our policies regarding the collection, use and disclosure of Personal Information when you use our Service.

We will not use or share your information with anyone except as described in this Privacy Policy.

We use your Personal Information for providing and improving the Service. By using the Service, you agree to the collection and use of information in accordance with this policy.

Information Collection And Use

While using our Service, we may ask you to provide us with certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify you. Personally identifiable information may include, but is not limited to, your email address, name (“Personal Information”).

We collect this information for the purpose of providing the Service, identifying and communicating with you, responding to your requests/inquiries, servicing your purchase orders, and improving our services.

Log Data

We may also collect information that your browser sends whenever you visit our Service (“Log Data”). This Log Data may include information such as your computer’s Internet Protocol (“IP”) address, browser type, browser version, the pages of our Service that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages and other statistics.

In addition, we may use third party services such as Google Analytics that collect, monitor and analyze this type of information in order to increase our Service’s functionality. These third party service providers have their own privacy policies addressing how they use such information.

Cookies

Cookies are files with a small amount of data, which may include an anonymous unique identifier. Cookies are sent to your browser from a web site and transferred to your device. We use cookies to collect information in order to improve our services for you.

You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. The Help feature on most browsers provide information on how to accept cookies, disable cookies or to notify you when receiving a new cookie.

If you do not accept cookies, you may not be able to use some features of our Service and we recommend that you leave them turned on.

Behavioral Remarketing

McCadams Creative, LLC uses remarketing services to advertise on third party web sites to you after you visited our Service. We, and our third party vendors, use cookies to inform, optimize and serve ads based on your past visits to our Service.

Service Providers

We may employ third party companies and individuals to facilitate our Service, to provide the Service on our behalf, to perform Service-related services and/or to assist us in analyzing how our Service is used.

These third parties have access to your Personal Information only to perform specific tasks on our behalf and are obligated not to disclose or use your information for any other purpose.

Communications

We may use your Personal Information to contact you with newsletters, marketing or promotional materials and other information that may be of interest to you. You may opt out of receiving any, or all, of these communications from us by following the unsubscribe link or instructions provided in any email we send.

Compliance With Laws

We will disclose your Personal Information where required to do so by law or subpoena or if we believe that such action is necessary to comply with the law and the reasonable requests of law enforcement or to protect the security or integrity of our Service.

Security

The security of your Personal Information is important to us, and we strive to implement and maintain reasonable, commercially acceptable security procedures and practices appropriate to the nature of the information we store, in order to protect it from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure.

However, please be aware that no method of transmission over the internet, or method of electronic storage is 100% secure and we are unable to guarantee the absolute security of the Personal Information we have collected from you.

International Transfer

Your information, including Personal Information, may be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from your jurisdiction.

If you are located outside United States and choose to provide information to us, please note that we transfer the information, including Personal Information, to United States and process it there.

Your consent to this Privacy Policy followed by your submission of such information represents your agreement to that transfer.

Links To Other Sites

Our Service may contain links to other sites that are not operated by us. If you click on a third party link, you will be directed to that third party’s site. We strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of every site you visit.

We have no control over, and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third party sites or services.

Children’s Privacy

Only persons age 18 or older have permission to access our Service. Our Service does not address anyone under the age of 13 (“Children”).

We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under 13. If you are a parent or guardian and you learn that your Children have provided us with Personal Information, please contact us. If we become aware that we have collected Personal Information from a children under age 13 without verification of parental consent, we take steps to remove that information from our servers.

Changes To This Privacy Policy

This Privacy Policy is effective as of June 04, 2017 and will remain in effect except with respect to any changes in its provisions in the future, which will be in effect immediately after being posted on this page.

We reserve the right to update or change our Privacy Policy at any time and you should check this Privacy Policy periodically. Your continued use of the Service after we post any modifications to the Privacy Policy on this page will constitute your acknowledgment of the modifications and your consent to abide and be bound by the modified Privacy Policy.

If we make any material changes to this Privacy Policy, we will notify you either through the email address you have provided us, or by placing a prominent notice on our website.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, please contact us.