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Low Waste Eco-Friendly Transitioning Tips: On the Go

When we're out and about shopping, commuting to and from work/college/uni, we all tend to spend money on some things that we need in the moment but don't keep: bottles of water, food in single-use plastic (you catch my drift). Being more eco-friendly and low waste when you're on the go is actually really simple to do and all it takes is some investment in the start and a reminder or two to yourself to pack what you need before you leave the house. It's all about thought out simple swaps for things you know you will use and need and you can reap the benefits in knowing that you've really limited your waste and saved yourself some money long term too. Remember what I said in the first post in this mini-series about only using what you need? It totally applies here. It's easy to get sucked into this idea that you need to buy lots of eco-friendly items but that is obviously hypocritical of the movement so please bear that in mind with all the following suggestions - if you don't need them, don't buy them!:

Reusable water bottles:
A really obvious pointer but, it's obvious because it's the one thing we can all use: buy a reusable water bottle. Although a lot of brands are reusing and recycling their water bottles and there are options available now such as tinned or carton water, having a reusable bottle will save you *so much* money and of course, you will be having zero impact in terms of waste. Reusable bottles have become so popular that you can get them from pretty much any high-street store, so many places online, and in independent stores so they're not hard to come by. There are some great brands out there too who do schemes where they donate bottles to areas of need based on their sales or help build wells - so you can do some extra good with your purchase too. If you're limited with your funds and want to be resourceful, why not use that 8 R's mantra I talked about in the Breaking Habits post and repurpose an old glass jar and use that for water? You can get some really nice looking glass jars with secure screw top lids so why not just use one and get creative!

Reusable coffee cups:
Another "big one" everyone thinks of when making eco-friendly changes is reusable coffee cups. I've talked about this before on NB, but I cannot stress enough how great it is to invest in a reusable coffee cup if you're someone who frequents cafés on your commute to and from work/college/uni or just like to grab a hot drink whilst you're out shopping or seeing friends. Reusable cups are really affordable considering the quality and longevity of them and will also save you money in the long-run too. Most coffee shops will give you a discount on your drink if you use your own cup and those 25p discounts soon add up after a couple of months. Just like water bottles, there's some great companies out there doing some fab reusable and eco-friendly things so shop around and find a cup that suits your needs. There are also some great brands who sell collapsible options too so they can save space in your bag so no, you don't need to be travelling and commuting around with everything but the kitchen sink!

Cutlery and straw compact kits:
Cutlery or reusable straws may not be something everyone needs but they are of course out there as options for maintaining an eco-friendly lifestyle. Whether it's bamboo, recycled plastics, or stainless steel, there's so many great options out there. Obviously if you never use straws or think you'll never find yourself needing your own cutlery, these are objects you don't need to invest in. If you're ever going out somewhere and you're unsure of whether or not you'll need your own cutlery, simply pack a set from home just in case and at least you're covered and can refuse the plastic throwaway cutlery you might be offered!

Going back to those glass jars...:
I know I mentioned reusing glass jars for water earlier, but they really are a great option for smoothies, homemade juices, and salad containers. If you happen to use ones such as the classic "Ball" range, some of their styles have measurements up the sides of them imprinted in the glass which makes them extra helpful for either bulk shopping (find out more about that here) or ordering cold coffees, smoothies etc. when you're out and about. Carrying a glass jar might seem excessive but it's just the same as carrying a full bottle of juice around; it's just going to be a little heavier.

Pack your lunch:
I know I mentioned how great meal planning can be for not only lowering your food waste but also for your finances in the last Low Waste Tips post, but it totally applies to being on-the-go too. I used to be *so bad* at not preparing my work lunches and I used to regret it as soon as everyone was getting out their yummy homemade meals during the lunch break at work. You can make some really scrummy and nutritional things to sustain your hunger whilst at work and it doesn't have to be ground-breaking if you're not a confident cook. Simply boiling up some pasta, stirring through some pesto, and adding some cherry tomatoes can make a really nice meal and it's saved you a £3 meal deal that would have resulted in yep, lots of single-use plastic. Creating your own lunch at home minimises your plastic and food waste so much as you can have leftovers from the night before and of course, you're popping them in a container that you will take home at the end of the day and wash and reuse. Any sort of Tupperware you have lying around will do the job or investing in a tiffin box for your lunch can be life changing (dramatic, I know, but that's honestly how I would describe mine). Although mine is plastic, I can reuse it for years to come and there are of course metal options out there that tick even more eco-friendly boxes and they can keep your food warmer/cooler for longer too.

Reusable bags:
There's a running theme here so there should be no surprise that there's another reusable item suggestion to keep in your bag. That's right, another bag! We all know by now that plastic bags are so damaging for the planet but if you have a reusable one already, keep it handy in your usual bag in case you buy anything in a store and that way you're not having to pay extra for yet another bag or just ending up with more plastic than you ever wanted! If you don't have a spare bag to pack, investing in a canvas tote bag can be a good option as many are ethically made from natural fibres which keeps you in check for your eco-friendly code or a bag from brands such as baggu are also a great choice as they store a lot in them, they're durable and they have their own little storage pack to fit into so they take up next to no space in your bag. You can use your reusable for anything from groceries to clothing - just think how low the cost per use will accumulate in such a little amount of time and of course, you're creating no additional waste.

Don't be shy to say no:
Lastly, a really simple choice can help you minimise things so much and that is refusing products you don't need. How many times have you been in a bar and they've instantly put a straw in your drink or you've been given plastic sachets of condiments that you don't use then put in the bin, or you've been given plastic cutlery that you don't use for you fish and chips because you're a fellow animal... When you place your order in so many instances, just kindly add to the order that you don't require any of the previously mentioned. It's not rude, snobbish or any other rubbish someone claims it is. It's exactly the same as if you need those items for mobility issues etc. then you have the right to request them and for the service to deliver. If you don't need something, a simple polite decline will cut down your waste surprisingly quickly.

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1 comment

Hazel said...

Great tips on being more low waste and eco-friendly! I also bring my own bottle with me so I don't have to buy drinks anymore (ti saved me tons of money too). Although i have reusable cutlery that is gifted to me, I admit i still forget to bring them when dining out (especially in fast food resto that serves plastic utensils). Gotta take mental note of bringing it often! :) Anyway, good luck and keep up the good work! Hope many people will follow :)

- Hazel

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