[features gifted items]
A massive movement you’ve probably not been able to escape recently is the public effort to go plastic-free – now, this doesn’t mean throwing away all your plastic items and starting again. Anything plastic you have already, try and keep/use for as long as possible! The idea of living plastic-free is mostly concentrated on stopping the production of single-use plastics and disposable items…Think bottles of water, plastic bags, produce wrapped in plastic and disposable razors, toothbrushes and sanitary products.
I’m going to pin-point the most important things you can swap for when out and about and I’ll drop a few brands I like or have noticed as well, but lots of these things are available everywhere and some you might already have. Think of this as a little beginners guide to reducing your waste!
1 – Reusable Water Bottle
Did you know that only one in five plastic bottles is actually even recycled? The rest go to landfill. Plus, tap water is actually more heavily regulated than bottled water is. There’s nothing better in the current climate (and for your hydration!) than a reusable water bottle – you can make a huge difference by avoiding single-use plastics AND save yourself loads of money at the same time. No more picking up bottles of water when out and about, on your lunch break or from the vending machine at the gym. We’ve all seen the documentary about Fyre Festival right? Sometimes, it’s better to bring your own water…Just incase. I get comments about this massive beast all the time but one of these bottles is what all of us should be drinking each day (around 2.2L) so I’ve found it’s perfect for having on my desk at work, with me whilst DJing, or even taking out in the car with my to refill a smaller bottle throughout the day. The built in handle makes it’s easy to carry and they are BPA & DEHP free and retail from £11.99 – I was kindly gifted a set from The Big Bottle Co including a bottle brush (super handy) and a high grade silicon ice cube tray that I absolutely love. It’s shaped to make long ice cubes that will fit in the neck of almost any bottle easy peasy, great for the summer. If you want a big bottle but think this is a little too chunky for you, they now also have a 1.5litre version as well.
2 – Reusable Cup
This really is a must have item for those of you that are coffee lovers! If you find yourself grabbing coffee to-go regularly then this is the perfect item for you to start with. It’s easier to carry and drink from than a take-away cup as it’s just ergonomically designed in a way you don’t get with disposables. If, like me, you don’t often get take-away drinks anyway then I’d recommend leaving it in the car for those mid-drive visits at the services if you need a coffee or even just to grab some water. Atlas & Ortus stock a bunch of great zero waste options but the cup and their stainless steel bottle are the two products I set my heart on. The bottle is amazing as it’s double walled and vacuum insulated so keeps whatever you put in it hot or cold, something plastic bottles aren’t so great at when carrying them around all day in the summer but this keeps your water from getting warm and gross.
3 – Cutlery Set
This super gorgeous cutlery set is from Yuggen! Wrapped inside the beautiful cotton bag you’ll find a full set of cutlery, bamboo straw and cleaner plus chop sticks. Perfect for picnics or keeping with you on your travels because, not only are you saving the planet by refusing to use single-use plastic cutlery, but plastic cutlery is notoriously rubbish anyway so it’s better all round. Their packaging is also all 100% biodegradable and for every purchase you make they plant a tree! Alternatively, if you’re not big on picnics you could buy this little Bamboo Spork from Eco Green Revolution (only £2.40!) that would make the perfect travel companion for anyone who doesn’t need to carry a whole cutlery set. Just pop it in your bag ready for it to be the hero of the day when you least expect it – you could even look into some reusable napkins to reduce your waste even further.
4 – Sandwich Wraps
Eco-Kiddles change their designs regularly (addictive collectors beware!) so I can’t see these exact wraps right now but there are plenty of others (including a very similar leaf print) and they are here to save you from struggling with tangled cling film – a wasteful, single-use plastic product that just ends up binned! Cling film literally takes forever to decompose because of the chemicals and resins used to make it stretchy, so ww should all aim to switch to a more natural option. These soya food wraps are compostable and a vegan alternative to beeswax wraps which you might have seen around elsewhere. As you wrap your food item up, the warmth from your hands will make the wrap more maleable so that it fits snug to the item and then once done with you just wash with cool water and let them dry before you put them away. Apparently these sorts of wraps should last around a year, then you can compost them – so much better than cling film! Perfect for wrapping food to take with you (or at home covering plates) – plus, they look nicer. I was kindly gifted these wraps from Eco Green Revolution who are an awesome one-stop-shop for loads of independent and zero waste brands – There’s a massive variety on there so you’ll have lots of choice. I also spotted the most gorgeous Bento bags on there as well which make lovely little lunch packages as well as a zero-waste starter kit.
5 – Lunch Bag
I was lucky enough to be gifted a few things from Colony Co and I receive so many compliments on them even when they’re just laying around the house! No need to tuck them away in a cupboard like the dreaded, hideous plastic bag-for-life, they are totally stylish enough to be left out on display and I use the bigger tote bags for everything, even just moving the laundry between rooms or carrying 30litres of Oatly from the door to the kitchen (they pride themselves on durability). They’re waxed canvas so wipe clean and proper sturdy so they stay standing up and don’t tip your stuff everywhere. You can pop snacks straight in there or just use it to put your lunchbox inside (+ maybe a reusable cup!) to keep everything altogether. They are now also stocked on Amazon so depending on where you live that might be cheaper than buying directly through the website. The totes are around $30/£40 but the lunch bag pictured is cheaper…I love it, it looks just like a cute paper bag from the movies but way more practical and, best of all, reusable. It almost makes me wish I had an office job so I could pop this on my desk each day!
6 – String Grocery Bag
These are oh-so-Instagram but they’re also super lightweight and perfect for scrunching up in the bottom of your every-day-bag/glove compartment/desk drawer so you always have something on hand! The holes are actually surprisingly useful, particularly for anything that likes to poke through and tear the usual rubbish plastic bags (cucumbers I’m looking at you) but mostly they just look awesome. I was gifted these ones from MadeSustained which you can buy from Watson and Pratts where the bags are only £3.50-£3.95.
What are your favourite zero waste swap suggestions for when you’re out and about? For the rest of this series I’ll be looking closer at other ‘life categories’ to make changes in but, until then, just buy less, choose well and make it last.
Continue the Zero Waste series: