What was the first zero waste tool you ever purchased? Some zero wasters start by keeping a few reusable grocery bags in the trunk of the car or by ordering their very first produce bag online. Or maybe you haven’t purchased it yet and that’s okay, too (psst… we have some you can order). Everyone has to start somewhere.
Whether you’ve yet to start your zero waste transition or you’re a ways in, here’s a great jumping off point for all: creating a zero waste tool kit.
The idea behind the zero waste tool kit is to keep a few go-to tools with you while you’re on the go. After all, a few stainless straws and a reusable spork aren’t much eco-friendly use to you if they’re left at the bottom of the utensil drawer in your kitchen.
It’s a common scenario: You’re out and about and decide to stop at Starbucks on a whim. The green tea frappuccino is already ordered and paid for by the time you realize you’re stuck with a plastic (or at the very least, paper) straw instead of your stainless steel one.
Or you prep your meal in advance, bring it to work, and mid-microwaving the fully-prepped lunch in the office kitchen, you realize you forgot to pack a reusable utensil. Forced to choose from the office’s plastic array of non-compostable fork options, you’re soon kicking yourself for your inability to remember your zero waste stuff.
What’s the point of having it if you’re not using it, right? And what’s worse, without your tools on hand, you have no other choice but to succumb to non-biodegradable, wasteful options.
Ready to break the cycle? Keep reading to find out 5 zero waste tools to have on hand at all times!
Any reusable water bottle is a baby step in the right direction whether it’s plastic, glass, or made of some other material. Cutting out single-use plastic in the form of bottled water is an excellent first step to take and a crucial way to reduce your consumption. (Consider this: 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year.) Our stainless steel water bottle is a great option because the entire bottle is made from sustainable materials — from a stainless steel body to a bamboo cover, everything is made of food grade material devoid of harmful BPA.
Stainless steel straw
Straws can make or break your zero waste experience. Why? Because they’re seemingly innocuous. It’s super easy to cut out straws in the home. (Who really needs to drink out of a straw at home anyway? Just drink out of a cup!) But when out on the town, things like Starbucks drinks and smoothies bought on-the-go often come with the unnecessary plastic and that’s when you know you’re in a jam. Keep one or two reusable straws in your bag (or in your car!) at all times to ensure that you never again find yourself in this position.
How many times have you gone into the grocery store, shopped, and then gotten to the cashier with all your things, only to realize the reusable bags are still in the backseat of the car? Yeah, same. A great way to plan for “zero waste emergencies” is to always keep a folded-up reusable bag in your bag. That way, whether you stop at the grocery store randomly or suddenly decide to pop into a clothing shop, you’ll never be forced to take home a plastic bag.
I got this tip one of my instagram followers who commented on one of my posts (I love the zero waste community). Travel with a beeswax wraps, they are lightweight, and foldable. They come in handy when you want to grab a quick snack while on the go. For example, you are out and about and you see a delicious donut shop. Ask to get it wrapped in your beeswax wrap and prevent creating any waste at all.
Eating fast food isn’t exactly zero waste (think of all that unnecessary plastic packaging!) but sometimes, it’s a necessary evil. After all, we’re human; we slip up. Sometimes, we order food. Anyway, that’s why it’s a good idea to keep one or two reusable utensils in your bag or in the glove compartment of your car. Stainless steel is a great reusable option and lots of people who actively choose to reduce waste opt for one utensil with several uses: ie., a spork that moonlights as both a fork and a spoon. (Pro tip: you can even opt for a spoon-fork-knife hybrid, a spork with one serrated edge for cutting.)
Are you having a hard time remember your tool kit? Maybe post a reminder on your phone or tell someone of this new habit you are trying to create and they can help keep you accountable.
What’s your favorite sustainable tool for when you’re on the go? Comment below!