Reducing waste while on-the go is extremely manageable. The easiest thing to do, is to create a ‘Zero Waste Kit’ that you can keep in your vehicle or near your entry way to have when you’re out and about. It is likely that you already have the majority of what you’ll need to construct your kit. This means it won’t be any additional out of pocket cost to you! It’s a win for lowering your impact AND for financial responsibility – a WIN-WIN!! You can start out with the basics and then add to your kit as you discover what materials you need to conquer waste reduction when venturing out into the world. In this post, I’ll share with you some of the items that I have in my Zero Waste Kit.
- Bag of Bags – The ultimate basic necessity in a zero waste kit is a set of reusable bags. I don’t know that I have actually purchased any of my collection. Most of these were either free through an event or were gifted to me by friends. (Yes, my friends know me well and yes, I am easily amused by reusable bags!) I have all shapes and sizes. Some are even insulated, which comes in handy for grocery shopping. Get in the habit of taking these with you wherever you go – they aren’t just for groceries 🙂
- Containers for Leftovers – You can double up on reducing TWO types of waste by bringing your own to-go containers to restaurants. Food waste is a huge concern, so make sure to either order what you’ll eat in one sitting or take your leftovers home with you for another meal! If you’re like me, leftovers are THE BEST!! I love cooking, but some nights I just need a meal that requires very little brain energy to prepare. I’ve got two examples in this photo, an Elephant Box and good old Mason Jars. (#11 is another option, so keep reading) Often times, the to-go packaging that restaurants supply is plastic or styrofoam. The styrofoam is not recyclable and the chance of plastic containers getting recycled, sadly, is slim to none. You can reduce the single-use waste by simply bringing your own container.
- Bamboo Cutlery Set – This takes out the waste from having to use plastic/disposable utensils. There are a wide variety of Bamboo Cutlery Sets that are available for purchase, but if you don’t want to buy a set, you can use silverware from home!
- Reusable Cup/Mug – The cup pictured doesn’t actually stay in my kit but rather is nearly glued to my hand. It’s to the point where I feel naked without it! I always have it with me so that I can easily reject disposable cups, and kindly fill my own. I do keep a mug in my kit, though! I received this Tervis one as a gift from a friend over 5 years ago! While I don’t often purchase coffee when I’m out and about – let’s be real, it’s EXPENSIVE – I do want to make sure I am prepared if it happens last minute. As an ADDED BONUS, many places will give you a small discount from using you own mug.
5. Cardboard Box – I like to keep a stash of cardboard boxes from online orders so that they can be reused. This box delivered my Leaf razor and other goodies from Package Free Shop a while back. It’s sturdy construction is perfect for the kit. It was PERFECT for the bar soaps I stocked up on at the Farmers’ Market recently. It could be used for a wide variety of items from knick knacks at the hardware store to jewelry and accessories.
6. Stainless Steel Straws – You’ve probably heard that reusable straws are all the rage right now! If you are someone who tends to purchase beverages with straws often, then I would recommend getting a set of reusables to have in your kit. Also, you’ll have to get used to saying ‘No straw please’ at many places as the drink is served to you with a straw already in it.
7. Berry Boxes – I’m not really sure where these came from. If I had to guess, probably a farmers’ market a long time ago! I really like using these at the grocery store or farmers’ market as an alternative to the plastic bags they often place produce in.
8. Coffee Bag – A great way to support a small, local coffee shop is to purchase coffee directly from them. Like I said above, I don’t buy a single cup of coffee out much at all. I prefer to brew my own at home to cut down on unnecessary spending. However, I do like to get my bulk coffee from the coffee shop. They grind it fresh for me and many times, they get their beans from a local roaster. When I purchased by first order of coffee from the shop, it came in the bag pictured. Each time I’ve returned for more, I take the bag to get refilled. You could also mason jars.
9. Drink Carrier – I had to pick up lunch one day for work and came across this collapsible drink carrier in all of the packaging from the restaurant. It only made sense to hang onto it and add it to the kit!
10. Reusable Produce Bags – The produce bags at the grocery stores really add up if you buy a lot of fresh fruits and veggies. It’s quite simple to make you own produce bags if you have a sewing machine and some scrap fabric.
11. Another Leftovers Container Option – Some restaurants have some pretty nice to-go packaging like #11. Before I assembled my Zero Waste Kit, I acquired a set of the to go containers pictured. They are very sturdy and many more uses left in them. I simply gave them a good wash and added them to my kit!
It really is that simple! Go on a scavenger hunt around your home to gather items that you can designate to the kit. Organize your Zero Waste Kit as necessary and place it where you will most likely remember to use it, mine stays in the trunk of my Prius. When you use items from it, make sure to clean them up and put them back into the kit after use. Customize your kit to your needs and have fun with it!!
What is your favorite item in your kit? What item do you use most when you’re out and about? Comment below with your tips and experiences with a Zero Waste Kit!