Earth Day is April 22, yet every day could be earth day if we choose it to be. Living more environmentally takes self reflection as well as research. I am beyond estatic with the zero waste efforts so far that I’ve incorporated in our home and daily lifestyle. At the same time, I am also compassionate with myself when I make a wasteful mistake. I use mistakes I make as a learning curve. I’ve put together six basic items that I keep in my bag to help me maintain my zero waste goals when I’m out and about. These six items help tremendously when traveling too.
1. Stainless Steel Straw
Plastic straws are wasteful. Over 60 million straws are thrown away each day. A stainless steel straw can be reused and recycled. They also look so much better than plastic.
2. Stainless Steel Utensils
By carrying a set of utensils in my bag, I avoid the possibility of needing to use disposable utensils all together. Compostable utensils sound good, but most of the time they too become trash. I found this set of airline utensils at an army surplus store which was random and perfect all at the same time. I keep them wrapped in a piece of fabric. Bamboo utensils are another great option!
3. Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Plastic water bottles leach “bad estrogens” into your water which is never good for your health. Plastic may be inexpensive and convenient intially, but it only causes unnecessary pollution that does not ever fully biodegrade. Only 5% of plastics produced in the United States is recycled out of the 100 billion tons of plastics produced each year, so recycling alone is not the answer. I used a basic glass jar to carry water until my hubby bought me a stainless steel water bottle. Both are ecofriendly alternatives, yet stainless steel does not break.
4. Organic Cotton Produce Bags
I use organic cotton produce bags for shopping in the bulk section of grocery stores, and obviously for produce as well. I also use these bags to carry snacks and keep lunch items in when I am out or traveling. They are a much better alternative to a plastic sandwich bag, and they can be reused over and over again. I keep small cotton bags with me at all times, and also have medium and large size cotton bags that I use for grocery shopping
Using paper napkins are not nearly as bad as one time use plastics, yet for zero waste avoiding both is the goal. Fabric napkins look fancier than paper napkins ever will. You could also carry a bandana instead of a fabric napkin. A bandana is about the same size as a fabric napkin and can be used in various ways. Paper napkins can be composted though too.
When I go grocery shopping I use large canvas shopping bags to carry all of my items out. I like to keep an expandable shopping bag with me in my handbag for other shopping trips. This bag is beyond convenient to carry other miscellaneous items when needed too.
There are so many aspects of everyday life that can be modified painlessly to reduce your environmental impact. It just takes a bit of conscious effort. Living intentionally is very empowering. These six items are also fairly inexpensive and easy to travel with. What items do you keep with you throughout the day to lessen your environmental impact on the planet? Please share below!
(Image by Dawn Michelle)