Plastic consumption is a major issue for the environment – so why are we still using brand new single-use airport liquid bags every time we fly?
This was the question posed by the Department of Transport earlier this week, after it was revealed that 13 million of the clear plastic bags used each year at London City and London Stansted airports alone.
‘This government is determined to cut single use plastic and the use of eco-friendly plastic bags at airports would be a welcome step in the right direction,’ said a spokesperson for the DoT. ‘We would encourage airlines and airports to do their bit.’
There are, of course, restrictions on how you can take your liquids through airport security, but picking a reusable case that you can travel with time and time again isn’t one of them. Some airports are in the process of introducing biodegradable, compostable bags, but the system’s still not quite there yet.
What size should airport liquid bags be?
Current advice on the gov.uk website states that you must use containers that hold no more than 100ml for your products, and that these containers ‘must be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm‘.
So as long as your reusable option meets these requirements, there’s no reason why you can’t buy once, use forever, and cut down your plastic usage at the airport in the process.
With this in mind, here are 12 of our favourite durable, easy-to-clean options on the high street, with prices starting from less than £5.
Dimensions: 18cm x 15cm x 4.5 cm
This Space NK bag is small but mighty, with enough depth to fit bulkier jars and tubs too. We love this champagne colourway (well, if you can’t be fancy on holiday, when can you?) but it also comes in black, blush, hot pink and aqua.
Dimensions: 19.5 x 16 cm
Like basically everything else it stocks, Muji’s cases are minimalist and practical, but somehow still feel stylish. While you’re in store, check out its extensive range of other travel accessories, including all of the mini bottles, pumps and pots you could ever need for efficient decanting.
Dimensions: 18cm x 19cm x 4.5 cm
From city breaks to around the world adventures, this cute pastel case puts the fun back into packing. If you’re heading somewhere particularly tropical, there’s also a pink palm-print option.
Dimensions: 13 cm x 20cm x 7cm
This is the medium size in Cult Beauty’s travel bag collection – there’s also a smaller version for short trips, and a compartmentalised vanity case you can stuff and stow in the hold. The gold hardware and black edging make this a chic, sleek carry-on you’ll want to reuse again and again.
Dimensions: 20cm x 20cm x 3.5cm
This square, mustard yellow number is one of the roomier options we’ve found – perfect if you’re the type who’s always trying to slide an extra lipstick past an already bulging zip. The wording on the front reads ‘busy as a bee’ with a cute accompanying illustration.
Dimensions: 18.5cm x 16cm x 5cm
Superdrug says this generous bag is airport approved, which means no unexpected hold-ups at security. It looks pretty jazzy, obviously, but it’s also durable, and the panels are easy to wipe-clean.
Dimensions: 19.5cm x 13cm x 6cm
However, basic isn’t always a bad thing – if you prefer your case sleek and simple, Horizn’s TSA-approved PVC bags come in neutral tones like olive green, night blue and quartz grey. Thanks to the handy slim edgings, you can see everything that’s inside at first glance.
Dimensions: 14 cm x 18 cm x 6 cm
Amazon is awash with reusable travel bag options for your liquids, but you can’t much better value than this Lolomoda 2-piece set. It has almost 400 customer reviews, and over 70 per cent of them are five-star.
Dimensions: 16 cm x 20 cm
Equally bargainous is this leakproof Anrui duo, also from Amazon, which has the added bonus of a detachable strap handle. You can use it for speed and ease when being scanned, but also to hang inside hotel bathrooms for easy access and less clutter on the surfaces.
Dimensions: 15cm x 5cm x 18cm
You can rely on John Lewis when it comes to quality, so count on this bag to last you for many holidays to come. For those who don’t fear rogue concealer smudges as much as we do, it also comes in white.
If you want something cheap, cheerful and classic, you could do a lot worse than Boots’ airport liquid bags. The store doesn’t list the dimensions of the case on its site, but reviewers say they’ve not faced any problems on their flights.
Dimensions: 22 cm x 13 cm
For when nothing less than ultimate luxury will do, Anya Hindmarch’s reusable travel bag is any high-flyer’s dream come true, from the two zip compartments to perspex window to avoid hold-ups at security, and of course, the ‘Take off’ slogan embossed onto the buttery silver leather.