We, as a family, are in a continuous process of reducing our waste and must admit that some daily routines have to be changed quite a lot and that it can sometimes be challenging to try to live closer to zerowaste. So we have agreed to change one thing or one habit every two to three weeks, which means that by the end of the year we have made around 20 changes, which really makes a difference and we experience that once we have started this process of finding alternatives to live creating less waste the more we want to do and the more ideas we get. Sometimes it is going back to old habits that were more zerowaste than newer ones.
I am the kind of person who is always carrying around a “Mary Poppins type of handbag”, filled with just-in-case-things, and during the past years little by little I have changed the content of my bag with more zerowaste things and ideas. Here is to give you a look into some!! of the things I always bring in my handbag these days:
- Reusable coffee cup
- I love coffee and also coffee-to-go, but about one year ago I put my bamboo reuseable coffee cup into my bag to avoid using the single use coffee cups when having a coffee-to-go. Yes, it does take up a bit of room in the bag, but it is very lightweight and definitely worth bringing with me.
- Metal straws
- I have had these metal straws with a spoon in one end for at least 20 years and you can hardly see they have been used! During these 20 years, yes I have used plastic straws for birthdays or the like, but since we have started to look more into how we can add more zerowaste habits to our daily life, we have only used these metal straws. And when at home we also use natures own straws found in our garden, for example cutting straws from a Juncus plant.
- Cotton tea bags
- I prefer to make my own tea blend of green tea and species which I buy in bulk or for example mint leaves and thyme which grow wild in my garden – right now our favourite tea blend is: green tea, thyme, licorice, dandelion and mint. I put 1-2 teaspoons of the tea blend into small cotton tea bags which we have made and then we always have tea right at hand without using single use tea bags.
- Small Cotton napkins/handkerchiefs
- Right now I am in the process of making reusable handkerchiefs upcycled from old shirts and other fabric to use instead of single use napkins and paper-towels. I keep them folded up in my bag with a leather string just as you would have a packet of paper-towels.
- Tote bag and small cotton bag
- I always have one or two tote bags folded up and ready for any shopping. Also I have made smaller cotton bags which are very useful for shopping of smaller things. I have one small cotton bag which I use for used handkerchiefs and tea bags, to bring home for washing.
- I always keep several of our wraps folded up in my bag, to use for bulk shopping, to wrap around half an apple, when buying a cheese etc.
- Cork box with homemade lipbalm
- Living in a rather dry climate we all use quite a lot of lip balm everyday and there are so many lovely lip balms on the market but to avoid creating all the used plastic lip balm tubes we make our own lip balm (there are loads of recipes of lipbalm on the internet). We make ours from different vegetable oils already in our kitchen or bathroom, sometimes we add scents from essential oils or green tea. We put the lip balm into either metal or cork boxes to bring along. Luckily I have saved this cork box bought in Egypt when I was a teenager!!
- Klean Kanteen
- These Klean Kanteens are seriously good quality…. They have been with us for more than 9 years and still perfectly water-proof although they have been travelling with us to any climates, thrown around from toddler to toddler etc.! No need to buy single use plastic bottles with these ones around and living where tap water is perfectly drinkable.
- Wooden knife
- Whittling is one of our preferred hanging-around-in-nature things to do, so we have made our own wooden knives which are quite handy to bring along together with a wooden spoon, to avoid plastic cutlery.
- Mouth freshener:
- Chewing gum and mint tablets etc…. Things that freshens the breath are great, but normally they are packed in plastified paper, so lately we have started to bring some bulk bought aniseeds, fennel seeds or raw licorice pieces. All these are great to chew as mouth freshener when you need that fresh breath, and hey, no sugar in them. When done chewing on them they are totally compostable when dumped into the trash!
The best is to get inspired from how other people reduce waste..... so please, any comments or ideas.....!!