Sustainable Living with Jules Hunt

To us, it’s not about just boasting about sustainability but truly living it. And although we don’t live in a perfect highly sustainable world (what does that mean, anyway?) we can still make small changes here and there to reduce our environmental footprint.

In this sustainable living series, we’re discussing real-life situations and solutions for living more sustainably with some of our friends who are pretty much experts on the topic. We sat down with wellness and mindful lifestyle blogger, Jules Hunt from Om & The City, to talk about sustainability and her beliefs in making smarter choices for ourselves and our environment. Through her blog, Jules has built a following by “helping women simplify their lives and find a healthy hustle sans the burnout”. She shares real, actionable insight on everyday wellness, sustainability, non-toxic living, and purposeful productivity for your most vibrant life. Jules’s interest in wellness and sustainable lifestyle began when she was in college, recovering from an eating disorder, “I fell in love with yoga which taught me to love and respect my body in all its forms and to rethink my relationship with food.” Mindfulness started from within, then she started to take her newfound healthy habits out into the world, becoming immersed in clean beauty, minimalism, sustainability, and overall reducing her toxin exposure–topics you can expect to read more about on her blog!


Photo by Jules Hunt

Jules’s motto is “Simplify & Thrive”. Her sustainable living journey started with a simple closet clean-out and home purge in 2017, that progressed into something more impactful–her mindset. She’s become more productive with her time, running her business like a CEO, becoming significantly less wasteful, more thoughtful about purchases, and connecting with what she already has and value all those things.

“The deeper I go, the more I realize that less truly, truly is more,” she says, “having less ‘stuff’ gives me more space to breathe, think, move and create. In short, simplifying is a strong pillar in my life–so much that I wrote an entire guidebook called Simplify & Thrive last summer to help others declutter their lives, reduce stress and amplify happiness and productivity.” Jules truly believes that everyone can benefit to uncover real sustainable happiness with less.

Elaine: What does sustainability mean to you?

Jules: To me, it means being thoughtful about how our actions impact our wellbeing and the world around us. Sustainability isn’t black and white, and it’s not something that can be transformed over night. Sustainability doesn’t only refer to the environment, but it also is about how we treat our bodies and how we manage our time. Fad diets aren’t sustainable, working until 3 am every night isn’t sustainable, and for our planet, continuing this behavior of over-consumption isn’t sustainable. So, what can we do on an individual level and as a society to make a positive change towards sustainability? Well, it takes changing mindless habits, being intentional, questioning where things come from, reducing our desire for more, more, more, and staying consistent with our newfound positive actions.

E: How would you describe your approach to living a more sustainable lifestyle?

J: When people approach it from an ‘all or nothing’ standpoint, that’s when expectations fall short and feelings of failure set in. I believe every little bit counts. Doing SOMETHING to help the planet is better than nothing at all, and imagine the difference we would make if we ALL did a little something. Nobody is perfect, so don’t strive for perfection. Strive for progress.

E: We’ve been trying to go plastic-free for a month at LARQ. What are some tips you can share about reducing use and purchases of plastic products?

J: There are so many solutions for single-use plastic out there. The hard part is remembering to actually bring them with you! I wrote a blog post all about this. [Find out Jules’s tips on remembering to bring your reusable products with you]


Photo by Jules Hunt

E: It’s been really difficult for us to cut out plastic, specifically. What challenges have you faced in cutting out plastic?

J: The hardest part of eliminating plastic is in packaging that gets shipped to me which I can’t easily control, as well as packaging for specific food items that I purchase. I can’t do all of my shopping in the bulk and produce sections… it’s just not realistic for my lifestyle. I am allergic to wheat, so I do buy some gluten-free snacks… some of which come in cardboard boxes and others are packaged in plastic. It’s not perfect. I do my best to avoid single-use plastic as much as possible from disposable cutlery, bags, bottles, and I pre-pack all of my reusable essentials when I’m out and about for the day.

E: What is the biggest change you made in living a sustainable lifestyle? (something that took adjusting, or that significantly reduced waste)

J: I started saying no. No, I don’t need more gifts from brands. No, I don’t need to take this food to-go, I can dine-in instead. No, I don’t need to take that pamphlet or that business card or that flyer you’re trying to hand me on the street. I let go of the pressure to be agreeable and please everyone, and instead, I focus on being kind but holding myself to boundaries I’ve set for myself.

E: What advice do you have for people who want to live more sustainable lifestyles?

J: Start small. Pick one area of your life you’d like to focus on and just start. Be consistent. Consistency is the key to creating lasting habits and lifestyle changes.

E: So, you got to try out our LARQ Bottle for a week. What are your thoughts?

J: It’s a game-changer, especially for travel. I am very particular about my water as I use a Berkey Filter at home that purifies our water. When I’m on the go, I always struggle with refilling my bottle from water fountains. I don’t trust it nor do I like the taste. LARQ has made traveling and refilling my bottle so much easier. I don’t have to worry about washing it, and I can really enjoy my trip while staying hydrated!

We’re so inspired by Jules and her ideas on wellness and mindful living. The important thing is to be mindful–that’s the first step! We’ve seen on our own sustainable living journeys here at LARQ HQ, that doing something like a plastic-free challenge has been truly eye-opening. We’ve come to be more aware of single-use products (they’re everywhere!) and now even after the challenge is over, we’re still continuing to see the wastefulness around us and learning how to live more sustainable lifestyles. The best part about this is continuing to learn more from friends like Jules who are a little more seasoned on the topic than we are.

Liked this article? Check out our last post in this sustainable living series with Jess Ann Kirby!


7 Stylish Travel Essentials You Won’t Want to Leave Home Without

One of the many pleasures in life is being fortunate enough to travel. Immerse yourself in a world different than your own, soak in the sights, and enjoy the food. The trip itself should be enjoyable, but the travel from point A to point B isn’t always so fun. You always want to make sure you have all the essentials before setting foot on your journey. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination only to find out you’ve forgotten something and have to hunt for it in a foreign place. Plus, don’t you want your purchase to be thoughtful and more… you?

We’ve carefully curated a list of travel essentials with designs that are so amazing, you’ll want to use them on every trip. Whether you’re a seasoned globetrotter or a first-time flyer, these top travel accessories are absolutely essential for traveling in style.

Hello, Function. Have you met Form?

#1 Travel Pillow


Travel pillows are a must when it comes to travel–land, sea, or air–and especially when travel time is extensive. If you plan on getting any kind of shut-eye during your travels, don’t get caught without a comfortable travel pillow to keep you from arriving at your next destination with a sore neck. The TRTL Pillow is scientifically engineered to keep your neck in the best possible position. Its design allows you to fold it up nicely so it’s not bulky, easy to travel with, and of course, stylish.


If you’d prefer a super cushiony memory foam neck pillow instead, the Cabeau Evolution Pillow is one that many swear by. It’s soft, ergonomic, and even rolls up into a small bag to make it easier to travel with! This design is super thoughtful and includes straps that clip onto the seat to keep your head back. If you tend to lean forward when sleeping upright, this will keep you from banging your head into the seat in front of you!

#2 Bluetooth Headphones

These are a must-have travel accessory if you want the option to listen to music, podcasts, ambient noise, audio books–well, you get the gist. Opt for a noise-canceling version like these Bose headphones so you can really get some restful sleep in for a peaceful flight.

#3 Portable Charger

We can’t stress this enough. Sure, you could wait until you can plug into a wall, but chances are, you could run out of battery on your phone or other electronic devices before that happens. Also, who likes to be tethered to a wall, awkwardly sitting on the floor next to the airport bathrooms? Not us. If you have a high maH portable charger, it could last you the entire trip (depending on how long your trip is), so you may not even need #4 on this list.

#4 Travel Adapter

If you’re traveling to another country and bringing electronic devices along with you, it may be a good idea to grab one of these before you go. Travel adapters like this one include multiple ports for different countries so you can easily find one that you can use time and time again.

#5 Reusable Water Bottle


The most important thing about traveling is staying hydrated. Jet lag dehydration is seriously a thing, and you shouldn’t overlook this really easy way to avoid it. Simply, bring your own reusable water bottle. Just make sure it’s empty before arriving at TSA.

Did you know that millions of plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute? That’s millions of plastic waste polluting the earth. Instead of being a part of that problem, take a reusable water bottle like the LARQ water bottle–it self-cleans and sanitizes your water for you every two hours. This means you can fill it up with tap water at the airport, at rest stops, or at your destination and be confident that it’s safe to drink. Not to mention its gorgeous design is really going to turn heads everywhere you go.

#6 Packable Bag

If you’re an over-packer or just an excessive-souvenir-purchaser, bringing packable bags with you is key. Traveling is exciting because you can find things that you want to bring home as gifts or as mementos from your adventures. Feel free to do so when you have an extra reusable bag handy.

You can use them to store excessive items, separate your dirty clothes in your suitcase, use them for shopping around your destination (minimizing plastic consumption), and whatever you can imagine you’d need an extra bag for! This packable backpack comes in a handy compact size that’ll fit right in your luggage–and it won’t ruin your outfits either.

#7 Suitcase

If you’re going to be traveling a lot, it’s definitely worth it to invest in a great suitcase for all your future travels. This suitcase by AWAY has a built-in external battery so you can charge up during those long layovers at the airport or waiting in line at a cafe. It’s hard exterior prevent your items from getting crushed in transit and, with its wide range of colors, you’ll find one that suits you.

Traveling in style is easier than you thought. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled the best products for your traveling lifestyle. Did you think of anything we missed?

Now, what are you waiting for? Adventure is out there.


32 Ways to Conserve Water at Home

Even as World Water Day passes (March 22), water conservation should continue to be a hot topic of discussion around the world. World Water Day is all about bringing awareness to communities that lack access to water and proper water sanitation and hygiene. For those of us who are lucky enough to have access to clean fresh water, we need to be more informed about ways to conserve this natural resource.

So, how do we get green about this whole water-saving business? Well, put your flushes where your mouth is and take into account all those leaky pipes, dripping faucets, showerheads, and appliances. How much of an environmental impact do these have? The fact is, every drop counts, and we’re here to lay down these water conservation tips on you.

How to Conserve Water


Photo by Charles on Unsplash

In the Kitchen

  • Only use the dishwasher when you have full loads
    Running your dishwasher on a half-load is wasteful. Opt to wait until you have a full load to start a cycle.
  • Install a high-efficiency dishwasher 
    Dishwashers made before 1994 waste more than 10 gallons of water per cycle according to Energy Star. Look for the Energy Star seal when shopping for a new dishwasher. These will save energy, water, and shave off about $35 per year off your utility bills.
  • If hand-washing dishes, don’t let the water run 
    You can shorten the time it takes to wash dishes by using a basin of soapy water to soak, then rinsing the dishes in running water quickly after. Because you’re not running the water the entire time through soap, scrub, and rinse, you are cutting the amount of water being used. Depending on your hand-washing methods, it might save more energy and water to use a high-efficiency dishwasher.
  • Re-use pasta or rice water
    Instead of pouring the hot pasta water down the drain, save it in a tub, wait for it to cool, and then use it to water your plants. Don’t pour hot water onto plants–this might harm or kill them! Similarly, save the water you used to wash your rice for this same purpose.
  • Scrape and soak instead of pre-rinsing
    If you’ve got some tough stains, pre-rinsing might not even help. Sometimes you need to let things sit in warm soapy water for the set in stains, oil, and leftover food to dissolve. They’ll become easier to wash too so you won’t be standing there scrubbing for long!
  • Avoid using the garbage disposal
    The garbage disposal requires running water to prevent clogged drains, which can be using up water unnecessarily. A greener way to dispose of food particles would be to use a strainer and keeping a compost bin nearby to throw these bits out. You might even save some headache from a clogged drain a little down the line.


Photo by Charles on Unsplash

In the Bathroom

  • Shower Buckets
    Ever turn the shower on to heat up before hopping in? We’re all a little guilty of doing this at least once in our lives. All that cold shower water running down can be saved in a large tub or basin and repurposed for watering plants, handwashing clothes, washing your car, washing your pet or soaking dishes.
  • Shower Timer
    If you haven’t already gotten in the habit of taking speed showers, now’s the time. Try setting a timer on your phone or shower clock. You can even make this fun by getting a shower speaker–finish your shower within 1-2 songs!
  • Turn off the faucet while you’re brushing your teeth
    The most water you’ll need is maybe a small glass to rinse your mouth and toothbrush afterward. Be mindful of every drop of water you might be wasting.
  • Shut off the shower when you’re lathering
    Just like the dishes, do a soapy lather on yourself in between rinses. This will save gallons of water from going down the drain.
  • Install low-flow showerheads
    The higher the flow, the more water is being used. Investing in low-flow showerheads will avoid unnecessarily water-intensive showers which are extremely wasteful. These will also help you save some money off your water bill!
  • Install high-efficiency toilets
    These days, high-efficiency toilets are available in all sorts of water-saving options. From low-flush toilets to dual-flush toilets, to water-efficient toilet tanks and more. Since older standard toilets can attribute to most of your home water consumption, this may be a worthwhile investment to look into for the long run. You’ll save money off your water bill for this one, too.
  • Install faucet aerators
    What’s a faucet aerator, you ask? It’s an attachment you can install into any standard faucet and incorporates air into the water stream in order to save water. It’s another way of controlling the flow of water so less is used. Usually, for indoor water use, these are great for the bathroom, kitchen and other faucets in the home.

    Photo by Ben Konfrst on Unsplash



  • Install a rain barrel 
    Save some of that rainwater to be repurposed later. You can have one installed by professionals, or merely leave some buckets outside to fill up with as much water as possible while it’s raining outside.
  • Drought-resistant plants 
    Plants can require a lot of water to stay alive or grow. Reduce the size of your lawn (or forego the lawn altogether) or opt for plants that require less water or that thrive in drought conditions. Succulents and other desert plant species are great options.
  • Water plants in the morning 
    Watering plants in the morning (while it’s still cool), allows the water to run down into the soil to reach the roots of the plants without losing too much water to evaporation in the process.
  • Cover your pool 
    If you have one, cover it. The water can evaporate over time which would require more water to refill.
  • Wash your dog outdoors 
    Your pup will probably enjoy it a little more outside anyway, but the bath water can run off into your lawn or plants so it’s not going to waste. Just make sure the doggy body wash is safe for your pet and your plants.
  • Hand-water your plants
    Instead of using the hose or sprinklers, take it upon yourself to water your plants (bonus points for using repurposed water)!
  • Go to a car wash instead of washing your car at home
    Some car washes use low-flow washing systems that are better for the environment than if you hosed your car at home. If you’ve saved up enough shower water or rainwater though, you could use it to wash your car at home!
  • Look into irrigation systems 
    If you’re apt to do so, installing an irrigation system in your yard or garden can be a great way to save money and properly nourish your plants. Some have built-in rain sensors to prevent over-watering your plants after it has rained, and will distribute water efficiently so there is significantly less water waste than traditional sprinkler systems.

In the laundry room

  • Cut back on laundry days 
    Try to do the laundry once a week or less. The washing machine uses a lot of water and energy to run, so reducing the frequency of laundry days will conserve water and save you money on your utility bills.
  • Do full loads only
    Always do full loads. Running half a load will take the same amount of energy and water to do. As an alternative, you can handwash anything that you absolutely need to wear.
  • Invest in high-efficiency washer and dryers
    Look for the Energy Star sticker on these too. You’ll save money and reduce your water footprint by getting a water-conserving machine.


Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash


  • Check for and fix leaks ASAP
    Aside from the obvious, you can tell if you have a leak by checking your monthly water bill. If there’s been a spike in the price after a normal month, you might want to check your pipes. You can troubleshoot by checking your water meter–take a look at the meter, then make sure all water use stops for at least 2 hours, and check the water meter again. If the meter increases still, you have a leak somewhere. Toilets can be leaking even if you don’t see any water on your floors. To check if it’s the toilet that’s leaking, drop some food coloring in the toilet tank and wait an hour or two without using the toilet. If the coloring appears in the toilet bowl, you have a leak.
  • Install efficient fixtures and appliances 
    Did you know that power plants use water to cool down? So whether your fixture or appliances use water or not, you may be indirectly conserving water just by reducing your energy use.
  • Turn off the faucet
    Even if you aren’t at home, be conscious of the water you’re using. We’re not telling you to not wash your hands, we’re just saying that you should soap and lather while the faucet is off, then only turn it on to rinse.
  • Double-check
    This goes for at home and when you’re out. Always check to see if the faucet or shower is dripping before you leave your home, hotel, Airbnb, public restroom–you name it. Unnoticed leaky faucets can waste more water than you’d think.
  • Don’t buy bottled water
    Bottled water–oftentimes left unfinished at parties or at work, leave water wasted and add to plastic pollution. Instead, get a reusable water bottle, and bring it with you everywhere. If you’re throwing a party, don’t be afraid to put out filtered water in a pitcher or water dispenser, and supply paper cups instead of plastic ones.
  • Repurpose your water
    If you’re cleaning up after a party where you did supply bottled water, be conscious of what you do with the abandoned bottles. Repurpose the drinking water by using it to water plants, your lawn, or your car. Then, properly recycle the empty bottles.
  • Use less hot water
    In the shower, laundry, and kitchen, hot water uses more energy to produce that cold or lukewarm water. Save water from the shower by reducing shower time, don’t use hot water for laundry (most clothes allow cold water only anyway), and try to limit the hot water usage when washing dishes.
  • Re-use greywater
    Greywater (also spelled as grey water, gray water or graywater) is untreated gently used water from bathroom sinks, showers, basins, and washing machines. It is not water from toilets, urinals or kitchens due to the amount of human excrement, grease-levels, and potential for bacterial growth. Greywater is typically filtered to remove any solid sediment but not treated with harsh chemicals. You can re-route greywater for use in other areas if it is legal where you live. You can save money by re-purposing greywater around your home.

And there you have it, easy water saving habits that you can start practicing right now and everywhere. You can find new and creative ways of repurposing and conserving water in your daily life. When doing so, you can reduce your environmental impact and help conserve a valuable natural resource.


Sustainable Living with Jess Ann Kirby

Sustainability has been a hot topic of discussion for us here at LARQ HQ. Mostly because we whole-heartedly are committed to reducing our environmental footprint–hey, we gotta walk the walk, right? We’re not 100% there yet, of course, and have noticed a struggle with trying to find alternatives for plastic products and getting into mindful practices, but we’re constantly striving to be more eco-friendly and we believe that even small changes and decisions can have a great impact on the future of our environment.

We wanted to learn more about how people are living sustainably and to learn ways to manage a sustainable lifestyle. Naturally, we thought to ask a few of our friends about the topic for this Sustainable Living series. First up, lifestyle blogger, coastal queen, and fashionista, Jess Ann Kirby.


Jess’s blog,, is a lifestyle blog and online community dedicated to fostering connections. Her blog will inspire you to live stylishly and unapologetically. She proves that you can be passionate about the finer things in life while also living a more mindful lifestyle. Yes, you can do both.

Elaine: What does sustainability mean to you?

Jess: Sustainability to me is about making responsible choices. It’s about being thoughtful in your decision-making and being prepared to act based on what’s best for everyone, especially the planet, not just what’s best for you at that moment. It’s about focusing my impact on the environment and creating less waste while also supporting companies and brands doing the same.

Agreed. Living sustainably is all about the future of this planet. Jess explains that she’s always been mindful of recycling and reducing her impact on the environment, but got really serious about living sustainably when her and her partner, Craig, bought their first home two years ago.

Jess and Craig really mean it when it comes to sustainable living. Their home has solar panels and this kickstarted their personal challenge of looking for other ways to make their home more eco-friendly and efficient. They share a car, compost, recycle, and support and buy from sustainable brands.

J: We always try to re-use materials especially when doing projects on the house. It’s all about making small changes that become habits, bringing reusable bags to the store, asking for no straw with your water at a restaurant, bringing a reusable water bottle like the LARQ Bottle everywhere to avoid single-use plastic.

E: What has been your biggest challenge in living more sustainably?

J: Travel is when I find I have the hardest time keeping up with being more sustainable. That’s why I really love our LARQ Bottles. I hate buying plastic water bottles so it’s just really nice that I don’t need to worry about it; I know I can have clean water anywhere and not be wasteful.


It’s true, we started LARQ after reflecting on how many plastic water bottles are still being purchased today even given the availability and accessibility of reusable water bottles. Travel is a pain point for a lot of people where you’d want to buy bottled water to be sure the water is drinkable instead of asking a waiter for tap water in a foreign country or refilling a reusable bottle at a water fountain. But if you’re sure that your reusable water bottle can purify your water, maybe that can eliminate your consumption of plastic water bottles.

When it comes to plastic, it’s truly difficult to avoid on a daily basis.

J: It’s brutal. Plastic is everywhere. It drives me crazy when fruit and vegetables at the grocery store are wrapped in plastic. WHY?! I really just try to avoid making any purchases that include single-use plastic. I go to the bulk section of the store for rice, cereals, etc. and use cloth bags. I try to avoid buying things with excess packaging. Once you start paying attention you realize how much plastic waste there is and how it can be avoided.

E: What are some products you stopped buying because of the environmental impact? What are some alternatives?

J: I try not to buy anything with plastic containers, easier said than done. Online shopping can be super wasteful with the packaging so I focus on supporting brands that don’t have wasteful packaging. We also use environmentally friendly cleaning products instead of harsh chemicals.

E: What are your favorite products that help you live a more sustainable lifestyle?

J: Obviously, we love our LARQ Bottles. Never leave home without them. I love shopping at Follain for beauty products because they’re focused on clean beauty and sustainability. For clothing brands, I love Mate the Label based in LA.


E: You travel a bunch! What are some items you absolutely need to travel with?

J: Our Leica Q [camera], LARQ Bottle, Silk sleep eye mask, and my skincare products.

E: We’re glad to hear that you’ve been finding a ton of utility in our LARQ Bottle! How has it fit into your lifestyle?

J: I’ve had the LARQ Bottle since last fall. I never leave the house without it. I also use it as a daily water bottle, instead of wasting glasses I just fill my LARQ Bottle and it’s easy for me to keep track of how much water I’m drinking.

E: Do you have any wisdom you’d like to share with our readers?

J: When it comes to living more sustainably, start small. Small personal changes become a habit. Don’t be too hard on yourself but don’t make excuses either. Every little change truly makes a difference.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. You don’t have to make a ton of changes overnight. It takes time to get used to a routine and stop depending on single-use plastics and other harmful waste. Once you become more mindful of the choices you’re making, you will be reducing your environmental footprint and making the Earth a better place.

Stay tuned for more interviews with more of our friends in this Sustainable Living series!


​11 Eco-friendly Ways to Travel: A Guide to Sustainable Travel

Why do you need to know about sustainable travel?

Well, traveling (especially traveling internationally), actually increases your carbon footprint because you’re using a mode of travel like airplane, train, or car. As a traveler, you’re also constantly consuming in your destination–and that has an impact on the environment. Climate change is continuing to wreak havoc on the world around us, making sustainable travel more and more necessary for the survival of the planet and for future generations.

Now, hold up–what am I saying… that you can’t travel anymore in order to live a sustainable lifestyle? Not at all. There are ways to reduce your environmental footprint and travel sustainably without foregoing travel altogether.

One way to have a positive impact on the environment is to advance sustainable tourism as more and more environmentally conscious members of the tourism industry are finding ways to reduce their footprint.

Tips for Sustainable Travel

#1 Avoid Flying (if you can)

12% of all transportation greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S. is contributed by the aviation industry. As a conscious traveler, try to avoid taking an airplane if it’s possible.

Other modes of transportation may be more eco-friendly than others. If it’s possible, take a train–Europe is a great example of where taking a train can be more rewarding as a traveler than taking a plane would be. Or, if it’s possible to drive to your destination–say from San Francisco to Los Angeles–do that instead of booking a flight. Contrastly, driving from Los Angeles to New York might not be ideal for you or the planet, so taking a flight, in this case, would be the better option.


Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

#2 Fly non-stop

In some cases, flying non-stop produces fewer emissions than flights with multiple stops. You can impact the degree of carbon emissions you contribute to by flying smart and taking the fewest stops possible.

#3 Don’t buy travel size items

At least not specifically for your trips. The plastic waste that is accrued from travel size items being used and tossed away contributes to the growing plastic pollution in the world, and isn’t exactly environmentally friendly, especially when you toss that mini size body wash in the trash in a country that doesn’t have proper disposal methods.

A more sustainable way to travel is to refill smaller reusable bottles with a bulk sized product. If you do have some travel size items leftover from other trips (probably from before you read this article), you can save them for this!

*Bonus points for buying and using products with compostable or plastic-free packaging.*

#4 Take public transportation

Do your research on transportation at your destination as part of your planning process. Public transportation can be a more efficient alternative to renting cars or taking taxis depending on where you are in the world. Your thorough research will ensure that whatever option you choose is both sustainable and convenient for you. It’s way better for the environment and you’ll benefit from having exciting new travel experiences you might not otherwise have.


Photo by Ingo Hamm on Unsplash

#5 Buy local

Buying local products might not necessarily be cheaper in other countries, but your money will be directly supporting the local shop owners as opposed to larger companies. Check with local guides to find establishments owned by local people. Local communities will directly benefit from your business and you’ll feel good about where your money is going.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa | Courtesy of Hyatt


#6 Stay in eco-conscious resorts or hotels

The tourism industry can destroy native land, wildlife, and culture in different countries. Tropical islands and resorts can be among the most detrimental, but there are some out there that aim to bring tourists in while preserving the environment and the well-being of the communities around the properties.

You can look for eco-certification and standards at accommodations before booking. This can differ from country to country, so you should do your research on these certifications before booking.

These certifications are usually run by sustainable tourism or non-profit organizations to promote sustainability in tourism across the globe. They signify whether or not an establishment is eco-friendly by way of giving back to the community the lodging has built its property on, has been assessed for sustainability practices, or is acting on best sustainability practices. These seals of sustainability can mean a lot of things–some approving the establishment for improving anything from economic development to cultural heritage, or employing local people and even wildlife preservation.

By supporting these certified establishments, you’re making a statement that eco-tourism can be sustainable and lucrative for other tourism companies considering new ventures. It’s better environmentally and you’ll help foster a travel trend the tourism world so desperately needs.

#7 Conserve water–always!

No matter if you’re at home or abroad, try not to use water excessively. You may be on vacation but think twice before you fill up a huge tub of water or keep it running while not in use. Water conservation is of utmost importance when it comes to living sustainably as well as traveling sustainably.


LARQ Self-Cleaning Water Bottle in Monaco Blue

#8 Don’t buy bottled water

Sure, you get water on the airplane, can buy bottled water at the airports, or you can purchase them pretty much anywhere in your destination and feel assured that it’s safe to drink–but is it the most sustainable option? The answer is no.

You should always bring a reusable bottle with you on any trip so you’ll have something to fill up with instead of adding to plastic pollution. For all you germaphobes out there who buy bottled water because it’s safer than tap water in another country, it’s a good thing there’s a self-cleaning water bottle out there that uses UV-C technology to zap bacteria and germs to keep your water bottle and your water fresh. That’s right, we hope you don’t mind a little self-promotion, but the LARQ water bottle is probably one of the best things you can ever buy if you drink water.

Anyway, you get the gist. Save the planet one less bottle at a time, and please, just bring your own reusable water bottle next time you travel.

#9 The deal with cruise ships

So, you might want to brace for what I’m going to tell you next if you love cruises… Based on an investigation by the United Kingdom’s Channel 4 television station, daily greenhouse gas emissions from cruise ships can equate to the emissions of one million cars. The air quality is so bad around some cruise ships that they can be worse than the most polluted cities in the world. If this isn’t an argument for sustainable tourism, I don’t know what is.

The fact is, we rely on cargo ships for imports and exports, and for consumers (everyone), it’s going to take some sacrifices to help promote sustainable travel and remind ourselves to make more eco-friendly choices.

#10 Beware of greenwashing

Greenwashing is a marketing tactic that some companies use to promote their products, services, or technologies as eco-friendly. This can mean slapping the word “natural” on labels or creating imagery and packaging that makes it look like a sustainable product. By being aware of these tactics, you can help reduce your environmental impact by purchasing products that actually are better for the environment.

#11 Take a bike

Or a hike! Finding other modes of transportation like biking or just walking is the best form of sustainable travel. Instead of taking a car or taxi somewhere, look up some bike rental companies in the local communities. Bicycling is a fun way to really absorb the culture and views of the city you’re in. If navigating a foreign city by bicycle seems daunting, schedule a bike tour!

Walking tours are also great because tour guides really know their stuff, and you can learn more about the local environment, the culture and be a conscious traveler. And hey, you’ll certainly get your steps in so you can justify eating a whole baguette every day.

The best tips for sustainable travel international that we can give is to be aware of tricks that will attempt to lure you in. Look more closely at labels and eco-certifications, be conscious of your choices in accommodations, support local businesses when you can, and help advance sustainable travel by spreading the word. The world is your oyster, just don’t sh*t all over it.


11 Sustainable Ways to Start Living a Plastic-free Lifestyle

Working toward a more sustainable lifestyle? Good on ya! Whether this is your first effort to learn more about reducing your environmental impact or if you’re a sustainability champion, find out some ways you can reduce plastic pollution in the world right here.

The first step is awareness (looks like you’re way ahead of the curve so far), the next step is to make meaningful changes in your daily life to minimize the amount of plastic you’re tossing into the can. The more informed you are about best practices for recycling, what types of plastics are recyclable and best ways to reduce plastic waste, the better off you will be (you might save some $$$), and the better off our planet and wildlife will be. Our sea turtles and future generations will be so thankful.

Along with saving some money on purchasing endless disposable plastics and saving wildlife, you’re also reducing the amount of  carbon emissions that are produced from the manufacturing of plastics and from burning them in landfills.

So what are the plastic-free alternatives to household products? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s our list of sustainable products that will help reduce your environmental footprint:

Photo by Sylvie Tittel on Unsplash

    1. Reusable Bags

      Despite efforts to ban plastic bags around the world,  4 trillion plastic bags are used each year worldwide–with 14 billion plastic bags a year from the US alone. From these staggering numbers, only 1% of plastic bags are returned for recycling. Next time you’re out shopping, remember to stash away a couple of reusable shopping bags for groceries and shopping. (Tip: Keep some bags in your car at all times or keep some placed next to your front door so you’ll remember to bring them with you on your way out.)If you forget your reusable bags while out shopping–don’t worry. Just try to opt for paper bag options if they’re available to you. Paper bags take about a month to decompose whereas plastic bags can take 10-1000 years to decompose in landfills. In the debate between paper or plastic (bags), the answer is clear–always choose paper.


  1. Reusable Food Wraps

    Swapping out all kinds of plastic, including your single-use plastic at home like plastic cling wraps can have a huge impact on the earth. It takes 500 or more years for plastic to disintegrate. However, they don’t even completely break down; instead, they photo-degrade and become microplastics that continue to pollute the earth.Switch from your usual plastic cling wrap to more sustainable reusable food storage like Bee’s Wrap, an organic cotton material covered in beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin. You can use it exactly the way you would a normal cling wrap. After each use, wash with soapy water, dry, and reuse. healthy meal prep in glass containers Photo by Ella Olsson
  2. Reusable Food Containers

    Have you ever tried to clean oil from plastic containers? It’s just about the most frustrating thing imaginable! Instead of using disposable meal prep containers, opt for glass containers with BPA-free lids or stainless steel bento containers that are completely zero waste.
  3. Reusable Water Bottles

    A study by the Guardian reported that a million plastic bottles are purchased worldwide every minute. This number is expected to increase by 20% by 2021. This is baffling considering there are so many reusable water bottle options out there, and even one that self-cleans and purifies your water for you. Try to avoid buying bottled water and instead fill up your reusable water bottle where you can. Photo by Olivier Guillard on Unsplash
  4. Stainless Steel Straws

    The U.S. alone uses an estimated  500 million plastic straws every day. Diminish your straw waste by purchasing reusable straws and refusing straws at restaurants and beverage shops. There are all sorts of straw sizes and styles to suit your needs–whether it’s for smoothies, shakes, boba, or soda. These are usually made from durable materials like stainless steel (also easy to clean), and some even use glass (for those of you who prefer your straws to be transparent).
  5. Reusable Eco-friendly Cutlery (and travel-friendly!)

    Did you know that only some plastic utensils are recyclable by your typical curbside receptacles? That contributes to about  300 million tons of plastics going into circulation.A great first step is to minimize your use of plastic cutlery at work or school by bringing your own.  Travel-friendly flatware sets like this one made from bamboo are eco-friendly, safe, and reusable. They’re also compostable, so if you end up getting rid of them, they won’t harm the environment.
  6. Collapsible Bowls

    If you’re traveling, camping, or out and about, silicone collapsible bowls are the way to go. These will minimize the waste from using single-use bowls or plates. Plus, they collapse so they’ll barely take up any room in your bag. You can even use them more regularly at home to save space in your pantry!
  7. Biodegradable Loofahs

    Stop buying plastic loofahs. It’s recommended to replace loofahs every 2-3 months, which can contribute to even more plastic waste than you would’ve thought twice about. There are plenty of sustainable options for bath products such as loofahs or bath sponges that are plastic-free. Some are made of organic biodegradable bamboo or made from  organic materials such as sea sponge or ground konjac root.
  8. Sustainable Toothbrushes

    There are no “perfect” options for this category, but these  sustainable toothbrush options listed by Treehugger are still a huge step toward a more sustainable lifestyle. Whether you go with a toothbrush made from recycled materials, a bamboo toothbrush, or a silicone electric toothbrush, you can rest assured that you are making a positive impact on your plastic footprint.
  9. Plastic-free Reusable Sandwich Bags

    Reusable sandwich bags are gracing the pantries of many households in an effort to cut out single-use plastic. They can be used for packing anything from baby carrots for your kids’ lunch boxes to some chips for the road. For reusable bag options, check out  HuffPost’s list of sustainable alternatives.
  10. Plastic-free Packaging

    Plastic packaging can be a tricky one to avoid, but there are some companies out there striving to bring great products to the world sans-plastic.We, at  LARQ, are extremely conscious of our environmental responsibility–that’s why our packaging is made of 100% recyclable paper–no plastic.Companies such as  By HumanKind and Bite make hygiene products sustainable and accessible. By Humankind sells mouthwash, deodorant, and shampoo bars with “plastic-neutral” packaging that can be refilled. It’s a unique program that encourages repurposing and a plastic-free lifestyle. Bite uses glass bottles instead of plastic to package their toothpaste “bits”, which are refillable through their subscription service and recyclable.

Now that you know a few more ways to impart plastic-free living in your daily life, help spread the word! With so many alternatives out there for plastic and non-biodegradable materials that are toxic to the environment, what disposable plastic products can you cut out of your life and replace with sustainable ones?


Top Safety Tips for Women Traveling Alone

Although the idea of traveling solo as a woman seems be daunting, it can be the most rewarding once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you take–a journey of self-discovery if you will. For a lot of us, it’s a way to boost our confidence, move away from being co-dependent on another person to have a good time or feel safe, and a way to travel where we want when we want.

If you’re looking to go solo for whatever reason, there are many like-minded women out there looking to do the same. If it’s your first time on a solo travel adventure, keep reading to find great tips for safety for women traveling alone, other resources for solo female travelers, and tips you need to know before you embark on your solo travels.

Safety Tips for Women Traveling Solo for the First Time

When it comes down to it, solo travel is a matter of knowing yourself, doing your research, having a plan, and erring on the side of caution whenever possible. Hold onto the idea of prevention to keep you safe when you’re traveling abroad alone. Before you embark on your first solo trip, make sure you check out all the top safety tips for solo female travelers–or solo travelers in general–below.


Plan Ahead

Whenever you travel, always do your due diligence and study up on your destination–solo or not. It’s always good practice to find out if the country you’re traveling to speaks your language, or if most shops and restaurants only take cash. Thanks to the internet, it’s easy to find answers to all your glaring questions about whatever destination you are curious about.

Planning also means mapping out all the places you want to visit. Google Maps is helpful for finding out where Notre Dame is in relation to the Sacre Coeur in Paris, what time either attraction closes, and will provide images so you know whether or not you’re at the right place.

When booking your flight, try to arrive at your destination during the day. It’s harder to navigate at night, and there are probably fewer people on the road. Here’s a list of things you should research before you take on your solo traveler journey:

  • Culture – Read up on the culture at your planned destinations so that you don’t stick out like a sore thumb or offend anyone. Sometimes cultures will prefer bowing over handshakes, or conservative attire rather than exposed limbs.
  • Travel insurance – Janice Waugh of Solo Traveler dubs this a solo traveler must.
  • Transportation – How will you be getting around? Public transportation? Taxi? Uber or Lyft?
  • Reputable tours – Don’t wait until you arrive at your destination to book a tour. It may end up being more expensive, or unreliable.
  • Lodging – Whether you’re staying at a hostel, hotel, or Airbnb, make sure you have proper addresses and ways to contact the host if you have trouble finding your way. Most hosts and front desk agents are friendly and helpful–this isn’t their first rodeo. There aren’t a ton of women-only hostels, but if you were interested in staying in some, The Hostel Girl has a great list of female-only hostels in a few places around the world.
  • Costs – Try to estimate the costs of your trip and locate any ATMs in your area before you leave for your trip. Not every country will accept credit cards as readily as the U.S. You want to make sure you have enough local cash to get you by at least the first few days of your trip–if not the entire trip. In some countries, ATMs can be harder to come by or have high rates for international travelers, so plan ahead.
  • Tipping customs – Not every country accepts tips–some even take the gesture as disrespectful, and vice versa. Don’t get caught in an awkward or hostile situation. Plus, the more you know about, the less likely you’ll be hustled. If locals know you’re American, depending where you are in the world, they may take advantage of you.
  • Local convenience stores – try to find out if there are convenience stores close to where you’re staying in case you forget to bring body wash, tampons, or anything of the sort. You can find out from your lodging host ahead of time and mitigate any panic from your travels.
  • Places to visit – It’s worth mentioning again that you should plan and map out all the destinations you have in mind to visit–even if they’re maybe’s. Be diligent in planning an itinerary so you can maximize your vacation. Plan mini day trips, hikes (make sure they’re safe ones!), and even food stalls or restaurant options along your routes. Plus, if you’re picky with food, it might be worth doing a little extra digging or asking around for recommendations before your travels.


Pack for your destination

Customs and social climates differ all over the world. Study up on what locals wear so you can blend in. Oftentimes, tourists will stand out and become targets for pickpockets and swindlers.

It’s also of utmost importance for safety as a female solo traveler to generally err on the more conservative side. Some countries frown upon exposed legs or shoulders–take the Vatican for instance, which requires all women to cover their shoulders and knees, no matter how hot it is. It’s probably a good idea to avoid unwanted attention by ditching those tight-fitting tank tops and short-shorts when traveling to countries like India, Istanbul or even Dubai! A great piece to bring along with you is a sarong or a large scarf which can easily be tied around the body to cover up.

Stay alert

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s worth touching on, especially when it’s so easy in this day and age to keep your head down and eyes glued to your phone’s screen. Not only should you open your eyes to your surroundings and soak in the culture and views of your travels, but you should also be aware of what’s going on around you, the faces you’re seeing and keeping an eye out for pickpockets or people who seem suspect.

As women, we tend to feel apologetic or afraid to accuse someone of wrongdoing–even if it is just in our heads–but when you’re a solo female traveler, it’s a matter of safety and our own well-being.

People-watching can be a great way to start your day in a new country. You can practice staying alert and getting to know your surroundings. Stop by a cafe to relax and watch as things are happening around you. It might make you more comfortable studying the interactions of locals around you, and allow you to blend in better. Local coffee shop workers might also know a thing or two about other great local spots to visit while you’re there, so it’s a win-win.

Be open to meeting new people

Since you’re traveling solo, try to make friends with other travelers. You might even meet another woman traveling alone! It’ll make your travels a bit safer if you have another set of eyes on you and your things–even if it’s only for a day. However, you can’t trust just anyone. Make sure you remain cautious and really get to know someone before you ever trust someone to watch your things for you. This is where your women’s intuition will serve you well.



Carry money and documents in different places

You never want to carry all your money, credit cards, passport and other important documents in the same place. Instead, keep small amounts of cash dispersed in different areas such as in smaller coin purses (for when you’re shopping around in a marketplace), in slightly larger forms of cash in a different pouch, in a money belt for emergencies, and even sprinkling cash here and there in different pockets of your bag.

When you’re in a safe and private place, count the cash you have left, and do a quick check of all your important items to make sure they’re all there each night. You want to have a general idea of how much cash you have so you don’t go searching in all your secret places for money when you want to pay someone. You’d also want to check to see if maybe something like your passport was taken from you so you’d have proper time to figure out a plan to replace it. Is there anything worse than realizing you don’t have your passport right before your flight?

Documents and passports, if possible, should be stored separately from your wallet, which you may be using most frequently. This will prevent you from pulling them out too much in public and potentially dropping something or leaving them somewhere.

Travel light

Don’t be weighed down by having multiple pieces of luggage that are difficult to maneuver on your adventures. A part of a solo journey is to be more independent, so plan to carry your own bags everywhere you go. If you can fit everything in a carry-on suitcase and a personal item, this is a great way to keep your items close, cut time waiting at baggage claim, and avoid your bags mysteriously going missing. Of course, some places are suitcase friendly, but if you’re staying in non-urban areas, your best bet may be to use a sturdy backpack instead.

If you plan on backpacking, avoid packing a bag that is too heavy for traveling. You don’t want to hurt your back or be literally weighed down by your backpack, which can cause unnecessary exhaustion or cut your days shorter. Bring what’s necessary, but do your research on the weather conditions at your destination. Even if it’s hot where you’re going, it’s always good to bring a light jacket and a pair of long pants just in case.

Leave the valuables at home. Your wedding ring can be left behind, or replaced with a silicone one. There’s no need to bring your diamond earrings either. The fewer valuables you bring along with you, the more stress-free you’ll be.

Join tours

Tours are a great way to meet fellow travelers (and even other women who are traveling alone). You’ll be safer with a group of people, and one or two tour guides who know their way around. You’ll learn a lot more about the history and culture that way too instead of wandering aimlessly. Some tours will allow you to explore a bit on your own and give recommendations on local restaurants or advice on the best times to visit major tourist attractions.

Take the time to find a tour company that has reviews from other travelers so you’ll have some peace of mind when you’re there. Also, be sure to ask questions before departing your home country about where to meet, and how they will communicate with you if a tour is delayed or canceled.


Don’t drink too much

If you choose to consume alcohol during your trip, make sure you pace yourself, eat beforehand, and always watch your drink. Alcohol can dull your senses and make you more susceptible to harm. Make sure you know your limits and stay within them. If possible, try to befriend the bartender, a group of women, or other travelers that you’ve gotten to know while sober. This tip goes for your trip abroad as well as at home.

Have a plan or safety net in place

If it’s possible, share your location with a loved one back home and plan a scheduled time where you’d send a message or call to let them know you’re safe. If you aren’t able to contact a loved one regularly, let them know your general location, where you’re staying, and share a detailed itinerary just in case.

If you won’t have cellular service, or if you’re unsure about the network coverage where you’ll be going, it’s always a good idea to screenshot maps of your destination, routes to and from important places like from the airport to the hotel, and keep addresses and names of places you’ll be visiting handy on your phone. The images won’t take any time to load and you won’t be using up any data to pull them up. Just make sure you have a good external battery with you so you’ll always have a charged phone.

Are you ready?

The list of safety tips for traveling alone is endless, but keeping these top safety tips in mind, you’ll be ready for an extremely rewarding solo trip. It’s okay to be a little nervous traveling all by yourself, just take it one step at a time, and trust your instincts.

You got this!


How many plastic water bottles are used a minute?

Let’s break it down.

There are 20,000 plastic bottles used every second.

That’s more than a million bottles every minute being added to landfills around the world.

So, what does that mean in a year? In 2016, over 480 billion plastic drinking bottles were sold around the world. That is enough plastic to wrap around the earth’s equator more than twice. Every. Year.

Simply said, that is a lot of plastic. And according to estimates from Euromonitor International’s global packaging trends report, the number of plastic water bottles consumed in a year will increase to 583.3 billion by 2021.

So, where do all these plastic bottles end up?

Judging by that photo and so many like it, I think we all know the answer. Although plastic water bottles are recyclable, approximately 91% of plastic is not recycled . A majority of your plastic water bottles end up in landfills and in the ocean, where they will take over 450 years to degrade. That means the plastic water bottle you use today still be around when your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great- (take a breath) -great-great-grandkids are born. And check this out, it is currently estimated that plastic is set to outweigh all fish in the ocean by 2050.

One thing is clear, swimming with the fish (in the literal and possibly the mob sense?) will take on a whole new meaning if things do not change.

This is just one of the reasons that we developed the LARQ Bottle. The LARQ Bottle is the world’s first self-cleaning water bottle, aiming to put an end to our reliance on single-use plastic water bottles. Learn more.


The LARQ Story

Hi. We’re LARQ, the world’s first self-cleaning water bottle. And here is our story.

We started with a simple vision where innovative technology can be combined with inspirational design to help people access pristine drinking water easily and sustainably.

Easy, right?

Well maybe not that easy, but with the help of a couple PhDs, design experts and some trial and error – we were ready to show the world.

The LARQ Bottle and its patented UV-C LED technology, which had been over 10 years in the making, made its debut in 2017 on Kickstarter. We surpassed our initial Kickstarter goals in under 24 hours and at the close of the campaign had raised over $1.4 million in funding (Whoa!). We became the largest hydration campaign on Kickstarter. Ever.

The next few months flew by, between finalizing manufacturing plans, fine tuning design and honing the UV-C LED technology everything was falling into place… and huh-oh! (But what is a good story without a little drama, right?) The issue was not with the UV-C LED technology, design or anything that would put a halt to our mission of giving people clean water on-the-go – but simply the name. We had been going by QUARTZ, but ran into a trademarking issue. So, it was back to the drawing board….

And that is how we became LARQ.

The adventurous and fun-loving nature of the word “LARK” resonates with our brand philosophy and deep appreciation for the natural world. The stylized “A” in LARQ gives a nod to a bird in flight as well as the Greek letter λ (lambda) – used in the scientific community to stand for the wavelength of light. And the unique spelling with a Q at the end, is just a gentle reminder of our humble beginnings and the support of early believers, back when we were QUARTZ.

We started with a simple vision, and what we created was simply the perfect fusion of design and technology. The LARQ Bottle looks as good as it makes you feel – with no chemicals, no scrubbing, no compromises.

You are what you drink. So drink brilliantly.