Plastic Free July has started for 2020. We’re one week in, but it’s not too late to get on board!
If you’ve never heard about it, it’s a global movement to encourage us to move away from using single use plastic in our daily lives towards a more sustainable future for all. It’s a great opportunity to try, just for a month, to create a new habit.
This month, Travel Bunny is offering weekly tips of ways you can transition to a single use plastic free life. Last week’s tip was to buy in bulk and BYO containers (if you can). How did you go?
Tip#2: Bring your own reusables (bag, coffee cup, straws etc).
My journey to carrying reusables started 6 years ago at Perisher ski resort in the Snowy Mountains in Australia. I loved to get a hot chocolate from Brunelli’s, but didn’t like the single use cup it came in. Luckily Brunelli’s coffee shop sold Keep Cups (who are incidentally a B Corp, and it’s B Corp Month!), so I decided to buy one. I still have it and take it every year back to Perisher for my hot chocolates (support local & plastic free delights!).
Since that first reusable cup, I gradually built my collection and now carry then following when I travel and when I go out each day:
- Carry bags – never leave home without one. Especially when shopping. They fold up nice, tiny and light they can fit into your jeans pocket. Sometimes I will buy something at random so it’s handy to have! Especially when traveling.
- Produce bags – For me this is a must when I go grocery shopping, so great to use your own that are machine washable (organic cotton preferably). Also versatile to carry and I have used it to buy bulk foods like pulses or just a small carry bag for all the reusables listed above that I am carrying.
- Reusable straws – admittedly this is my least used item, but it does come in handy! Particularly my bubble tea straw so I can have the tasty drink, plastic free.
- Refillable water bottle (permanently a great idea to stay hydrated, especially during COVID to stay hygienic, as it’s yours!).
- Coffee cup – great for travel and I often use it as an apple carrier/protector. Sometimes for keeping nuts for snacking if I have no other container. Generally a useful things to carry!
- Reusable cutlery, at least 2 sets including chopsticks. Usually I’m eating with someone. Sometimes I forget to clean them after going out, which is why I think stainless steel is a better choice hygiene wise than wood or bamboo.
- Cloth napkins/handkerchiefs – super useful for wiping anything while out, including my nose or hands. Or protecting something by wrapping it up. Great as an alternative face mask during Covid. So many uses.
- Beeswax wraps – While traveling this was great for going to a market and buying cheese or making a sandwich for the day. Not as well used as the others, but came in handy a few times.
It seems a lot to carry around, but they are all light weight. There is a reason I now carry a handbag with these items! The bags can fit within the coffee cup or the reusables within a produce bag. For me, it’s worth carrying around as they always seem to come in handy at some point!
I don’t recommend getting everything listed above in one hit, the gradual transition is the way to go. Hopefully the above has given you some ideas on where you can go plastic free.
- Pick whichever you think is the one you’d use the most and start there.
- Try carrying it around and making sure you clean it after use and see how you go with that process. The hardest part is remembering to carry it in the first place.
- Find a way to make it easier for yourself. Mine are permanently in my handbag/backpack. I have occasionally left my reusables in the accommodation before around the world! Fortunately it gets sent back to me!
Share what you’re picking as your first or second reusable. Let me know how you go!
This is why I pivoted from being solely about sustainable travel to a retail online shop for sustainable travel and lifestyle products. People and friends would see what I carry and ask where I got it from. Particularly my bubble tea straw as they are less commonly found. They are also great for thickshakes and smoothies.