So it’s nearly been a month since I started ‘Plastic Free July’ and really dove head first into the world of zero waste. This month I’ve been making a conscious effort to dramatically reduce the amount of plastic I use, but in particular single use plastics that will automatically go to landfill. It’s actually been a really enjoyable and empowering experience, which has been a nice surprise!
It can be scary to make these sorts of changes; for me one of the fears that I had was the social interactions that I may face when trying to steer around using plastics. In reality what I’ve found is that people have been very supportive (if a little intrigued) and totally willing to weigh my jars and put my bread in a cloth bag instead of plastic.
Before this all started I had already been doing quite a bit of research into the plastic-free and zero waste lifestyles that many people are starting to document online, in particular Lauren from Trash is for Tossers has been a great resource over recent months. It’s amazing to have the web as such a fantastic space to educate and support others who are wanting to adopt more of an ecological approach to life!
Today I want to share with you my Zero Waste ‘starter kit’: the essentials that I’ve been keeping in my bag at all times this month so I’m ready for the day and don’t need to find myself picking up plastics or excessive packaging throughout my city life. I’ve come to realise that you really don’t need to purchase anything fancy to set up your ‘starter kit’, you can muddle together bits and pieces from around your home quite easily, though it can be a good incentive to buy some pretty essentials to start you off on your journey and keep you motivated! I’ve shared links to the products that I’ve used or products that are very similar.
Here’s what my current Zero Waste ‘starter kit’ looks like:
Large Glass KeepCup : $24
This was just the best purchase, not only as it is super cute with its purple and teal colours but I love the fact that it’s glass and doesnt have that funny plastic taste or smell that some reusable cups have. My cup is about a year old now and still working really well for me. It’s been living in my bag and comes to work with me every day. I use it for my morning Chai and even get a discount at my local coffee shop for bringing a reusable cup with me. I also use it through out work as a mug so I don’t need to use disposable cups or glasses there either.
Steel Water Bottle : $29.95
I’ve had this Ishka 1L water bottle for a couple of years, it’s been all over the world with me! But it’s only this past month that I’ve been religiously bringing it with me everywhere that I go and the difference that it makes is obvious. In the past Ive been caught out quite a few times and picked up many bottled drinks just because I hadn’t been prepared with my own from home. That’s not the case anymore! Really any reusable water bottle will do, there are tons of brands out there, I just fell in love with this super cute design.
Big Reusable Bags : $16.95
I just have a hodgepodge of reusable bags that I’ve picked up over the years but I’ve linked to some very similar bags that you could purchase too. I love how small these bags fold down to, I have 2 that I keep in my bag at all times, but I also have a couple more sturdy canvas ones that I take with me if Im going on a large grocery shop for example. They come in useful every single day, for wrapping my lunch in (they’re water proof so great for accidental soup spills!) and for carrying any purchases I make. Having these in my bag at all times rules out my use of any plastic bags.
Cloth Produce Bags : $3.95
I purchase 5 of these organic cotton produce bags when I went to The Source bulk foods near me earlier this month. I have a couple more cotton bags that I have at home too. These produce bags are perfect for filling up at bulk food places or for holding sandwiches or fruit in. I’ve been keeping one in my bag every day which has come in useful for holding a sandwich I buy out or for an unexpected small grocery trip. I have the rest of my produce bags storing food in our kitchen cupboard which then get reused and filled up again during grocery shops.
Bamboo Cutlery : $12.50
I only got this set recently, for most of the month I’ve just been bringing a fork or spoon with me for my lunch and thats been working fine, but I found this set on Ebay and decided to pick it up as backup for days when i’m not able to be so well prepared. The set comes in a handy little case that keeps the bamboo protected, which is great for just shoving in my bag!
This may seem like a fair amount of stuff to carry around with me all the time but it really doesn’t take that much space up in my handy stripe-y canvas bag I bring everywhere! Something that I’m considering is purchasing a smaller sized drink bottle as the 1L bottle I have does get pretty heavy when it’s full and it’s often possible to refill a bottle when I’m out and about. I also want to say that this month Ive been making my own lunch at home and bringing it to work with me, this is mainly to save money, so if I was to go back to buying more lunches out then I would include a Tupperware container in my essentials list too.
I’d love to hear about some changes that you’re making to reduce the trash you create; what do you bring with you when you’re heading out? Come say hello over on my Instagram account @thelittlehome.oz (link above) and let me know your zero waste essentials!
Until next time <3