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Staying zero waste when you’re out of the house for 10+ hours a day can be tricky, particularly if you work in a place – like my school – where massive amounts of waste are the norm.
Shoot, staying zero waste on a casual outing with friends can be almost impossible at times!
Luckily I’ve come to find that packing a good zero waste bag can really mitigate a lot of potential pitfalls. Honestly, the most underrated piece of advice about going zero waste is this: be prepared. If you’re not prepared, you’re going to fail and waste (especially disposables) are going to start haunting you!
Having said that, here’s a peek at the goods I usually stuff into my bag of choice on any given work day:
From top, clockwise:
- A stainless steel straw – I went without for a while, but found I actually really liked using a straw enough to purchase a few. These are especially good as visual aids for refusing a straw – waiters/bartenders are much more likely to remember you don’t need a straw when you already have one!
- A fork – no fancy set-up here, just a fork I snagged from our kitchen and left inside my purse forever. (Light travel cutlery does exist but I can’t imagine a time where I’d really notice the difference.) I’m always ready to eat, so you never know when it’ll come in handy!
- FIG+YARROW Rose+Vanilla tinted lip blush – My work space is extremely dry, and this keeps my lips happy. I love that I know all of the ingredients listed and it’s in an adorable (reusable!) metal tin.
- A beeswax and regular cloth handkerchief – When I first looked into zero waste, I was really excited by Bees Wrap; that is, until I figured out I could make it at a fraction of the price they sold it at with just a bit of beeswax. Now I always have one beeswax cloth (the white one) and one plain one with me. Best of all, these were my grandmother’s. For about a year they sat around collecting dust – now, they come with me and get to be useful every day!
Oh: instructions for making beeswax wraps here. Super easy.
AKA the big stuff that makes my zero waste bag super heavy.
My everyday necessity is the KeepCup. For coffee, tea, or juice, it’s perfect! I have the 12 oz version which is a bit on the small size but keeps me from overindulging on anything I probably shouldn’t have a lot of.
Behind the KeepCup is my Ello water bottle. I’m really bad about remembering to drink water throughout the day, so I try to keep this one where I can see it at all times to remind me. I also like to toss in some ginger/lemon/whatever herb is rattling around in the fridge to make the Indy water a little more interesting. I think I picked it up at Target, but it’s cheaper on Amazon now.
I also occasionally bring along the Frigoverre container you see hiding in the background there. I like it because the glass portion can be used in the microwave and the oven – plus it’s the perfect way to take home extra food that would otherwise be trashed.
All this – along with everything else I stuff in along with it – can make quite a heavy bag! But it’s worth it to be prepared for whatever the day might throw at you! What would be your one (or two) zero waste bag items?