“Please don’t make the zero waste movement a trend.”
There have been a lot of discussions on the ‘gram lately about this very statement, and with good reason. I have been inundated with ads for everything I “need” to be zero waste, and friends, it can be overwhelming and annoying – even from someone who is already on board the zero waste train. And pushing consumers to buy, buy, buy is not where this lifestyle is born, nor does it promote positive, lasting habits.
The thing is, there is so much irony in buying more things to reduce waste, but there is definitely merit in having a few key pieces to at least get you started and one-time purchases that you will use to replace countless one-time-use items in the future.
I’m here to tell you, though, that you can spend next to nothing to prepare yourself a little zero-waste kit to have handy while you’re out and about. Most of the items below can be found already in your home or thrifting.
Your Basic Setup
- Reusable bag
- Use an old bag you already have or pick one up from the grocery. Keep one in your purse and the rest in the car. What helped get me into the habit of actually using them was to either take them right back out to the car once I unloaded whatever they were carrying or leave them on the doorknob, making it easy to remember on the way out the door.
- Cloth napkin and/or handkerchief
- I choose to have both in my bag, but to save room you can have one – they can be used interchangeably. Of course, you’ll probably want to swap out before using your used handkerchief as a napkin! This could be an easy project to repurpose fabric or keepsake items. (My current handkerchief was from our trip to Paris in the fall!)
- Thinking along the lines of a travel mug and water bottle. My preference is glass or stainless steel, but you can use what you like best!
A Few Extras
- This is an easy add – either grab from you utensil drawer, take from an old set or grab at the thrift. I carry two forks and two spoons for me and the hubs; we even used them on our flight to Europe in the fall!
- Straws are one of the easiest single-use products to refuse or replace. These rainbow stainless steel ones are a fun add to any drink!
- Stasher bags
- These are definitely worth it to have on hand, in my opinion. We use our stashers daily in our lunches and for travel too. They clean very easily, are durable, and have a tight seal.
- Produce bags
- We use these babies for all kinds of things when grocery shopping – fruits, veggies, loose nuts & grains all go here!
We’re All Human
You may forget your utensils, your server may give you a straw when you’ve asked them not to, the barista may accidentally make your drink in a disposable cup even when you had a travel mug on hand – we are all human and make mistakes. But by keeping these items in your bag or car, you can be better prepared to make efforts to reduce your waste while you are on the go!
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