I’m not zero-waste; I can’t yet claim that title. But for the past eight months, I have attempted to dramatically reduce the amount of waste I produce, and it’s been one heck of a mission. Going zero waste is not just a change of habit, but a change of mindset. I hate to be cynical, but it’s truly a conscious decision to alienate yourself from society, all in the name of preserving our planet. It’s rough. Our society is so full of STUFF (or shit, whatever you want to call it) and we’ve used technology to build systems to make life so much easier and quicker. It goes beyond our innate nature to take the time to dodge waste and live slowly.
I could ramble on about the hardships of attempting zero-waste all day. Yet, I’m still sticking to it 100 percent; I’m not giving up. Why? Because I’ve created a 5 piece Zero Waste Tool Kit to make my nearly-zero-waste lifestyle easier. I never leave the house without it.
1. Reusable Drink Bottle
I’m sure you already guessed this would be here, and in my mind, it reduces the most waste. “Why are you carrying a drink bottle? It will just get annoying,” friends say as I proceed to carry a heavy drink bottle on sightseeing adventures, concerts (when permitted), beach walks, meetings, large Indian weddings (a story for another day) and generally everywhere I go. It would be easier to grab a nice cold drink when I’m out and about, but zero-waste isn’t easy.
More than 100 million plastic bottles are used globally every day. To top that off, bacteria don’t like petroleum based plastics, so they don’t help to break down plastic bottles… technically, plastic bottles could last forever. So, if you’re trying to make the decision whether to include a drink bottle in your own zero waste tool kit, simply imagine your children and grandchildren wadding through plastic bottles to get to school… you’ll find it’s easier to make the call.
How many times have you been out and about, found yourself so starving you cannot continue those errands of yours, and stopped by the food court? If you have not ever found yourself in this situation, I applaud you. Carrying a knife, fork, and spoon in your handbag can feel a bit overkill, and I’m often called Mary Poppins. Stick to your guns, and trust me on this one. You never know when you want a cheeky ice cream, and you’ll thank me when you need a knife to cut your BYO orange.
Straws suck. Quite literally, this is their purpose. But, also quite literally: they are terrible for the planet. Straws are found all over beaches, stuck in the bodies of dead marine life, and impact our ecosystem in a very negative way. What bugs me is that they are often just for decoration and totally unnecessary. However, when you get a kick-ass smoothie and want to devour it quickly, avoiding a ‘smoothie-stash’ or staining your sweet organic cotton t-shirt is key, and straws are brilliant at helping with this.
4. Reusable Mug
My brother has never been amazing at gift giving. On my birthdays I am passed a handwritten card on a scrap piece of paper. But one year he outdid himself and gave me a Stojo. A Stojo is not your usual travel mug. This wee guy is made of silicon and pops into itself so you can carry it easily in your handbag. I’m not a coffee drinker, but boy oh boy, my Stojo has carried many chai-lattes in its time! Disposable coffee cups push my buttons. They represent fast-paced living, dependency on caffeine, and single use products: everything I don’t believe in. I avoid them like the plague.
5. Reusable bag
If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say “I always forget my reusable bags at home or in the car!” I would potentially be rich. Plastic bags are a hot topic right now, and fingers crossed, they won’t exist in a few years’ time. This means we need to find an alternative, and I have found just the thing! Of course, it all starts with changing our habits and setting reminders to ourselves to bring our reusable bags grocery shopping, but my little bag folds into a tiny pouch and comes with me everywhere. I don’t know how I got by without it in the past. Whether I’m stopping in to grab some milk, or find myself on a spontaneous thrift-shop adventure, I’m always so thankful I can refuse a plastic bag. It’s super light, compactible, and hard to forget.
Need more zero waste lifestyle inspiration? You’ll love our popular post “5 Zero Waste Lifestyle Advocates Open Up About Going Waste-Free.”
Keen to help change the world and reduce your personal impact on our environment? Our free 12-page Sustainable Lifestyle Guide lists 101+ tips on how to live more planet-friendly. Just subscribe to our newsletter here and we’ll email it over!
Title image credit CaliWoods.