If you’re into the low waste movement, either recently or you’ve been around for a little while now, you’ll probably have heard of a To-Go kit. If you haven’t, then basically a To-Go kit is essentially things that you either keep in your bag or take with you when going out to help keep waste down.
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When going out for either drinks, a meal, or just to see a friend, there can be a decent amount of things which create waste. Do you often get a straw with your drink, or usually order too much food and have to ask for takeaway boxes? Making sure you bring reusables with you is a great way to reduce your waste as well as making sure you get the most from your money when it comes to food waste too!
Zero Waste Bag Essentials – help reduce waste on the go
I’ve created this list of what the most common essentials are for a To-Go kit, but of course you can tweak this to your needs, or even for what specific thing you’re going out for. If you know you’re not going out for a meal don’t feel the need to bring a container with you!
You can of course use this list for your everyday life, but it’s also really good to have when travelling, as some things you may forget to bring or they don’t have where you’re staying. I’ve also got a post all about low waste travel essentials, which might also be helpful!
This is probably the one item you were expecting the most, and of course it’s straws. Disposable plastic straws were one of the things that really helped kick off the zero waste movement, and it was pretty much anyone would talk about for months. With thousands of disposable straws being made and thrown away within minutes of their use, it was easy to see as to why these were becoming a large problem.
There are so many different kinds of reusable straws you can get these days, and some which are make specifically for having on the go. The most common ones are made of stainless steel, and these can often be telescopic or foldable, so they’re the perfect size to keep with you.
I really like the ones from The Last Co. which not only come with a keychain case, but the brand are also 1% For The Planet.
Cutlery or Spork
If you either often bring your own meals with you or get premade ones on occasion, having a reusable cutlery set or spork is a great way to cut down on repetitive waste.
If you’re more of an “on occasion” people like me, I think having a pocket spork is a good idea rather than investing in a whole utensil set, as these take up much less space and weigh almost nothing – especially if made of bamboo.
If you’re more the kind of person to have/bring full meals, then bringing a cutlery set with you may be better for you – you can also always test it out with bringing utensils from your home, which although may be a little heavier than bamboo but won’t cost you a penny.
I’ve had the same insulated water bottle for around 4 years now, and I never leave the house without it now. It comes with me to work, trips visiting friends, and I’ve taken it multiple times abroad now too!
Of course, if you already have a water bottle lying about in your house, use it! But if you don’t I couldn’t recommend an insulated one more – no matter what the weather is like outside, you drink will stay the same temperature inside, which is perfect for summer months!
I’ve had the same one from Tree Tribe since I was in college, and it’s got the dents to show for it! But I also really love Chillys and Kleen Kanteen too.
If you’re the kind of person who can’t survive without caffeine, make sure you invest in a reusable coffee cup if you haven’t already! There’s so many to choose from these days, all made from different materials like glass, metal, plastic, silicone, and bamboo or plant husks.
I would recommend an insulated coffee cup if you’re a slow drinker (or are prone to forgetting about it!), but I also really love the glass ones you can get from KeepCup. You can also get collapsible ones if you’re worried about space in your bag!
Handkerchiefs and Napkins
I like to make sure that I have both a handkerchief and a napkin in my bag at all times, as they’re super useful to have on hand – especially during the winter!
If you’re prone to colds or don’t hold up well in the icy weather, make sure you have a hankie on your person for sure. Napkins are also a great essentials for your bag, as they are great for cleaning up messes, wrapping up leftovers, and also drying your hands if you can’t find a dryer.
Resealable container or Food wrap
If you often go out for meals or grab snacks from your local cafe, a great way to reduce waste is to bring either a resealable containers or a food wrap for leftovers! If you know what you’re going out to get, then of course don’t feel the need to always have them with you, but you never know when you might be spontaneous!
If you’re bringing back leftovers from a meal, having an airtight container is probably best – you can either get a box if that’s what you prefer, but you can also get Stasher bags which are a great sub for ziplock bags!
When it comes to snacks or treats from cafes and such, I like to make sure I have some form of sandwich or food wrap to put them in. You can either bring beeswax wraps with you (though be careful if you’re in a warm area/climate incase they get soft), or I really like my fabric sandwich wrap which is washable. Keep in mind that these won’t keep things as fresh as they aren’t airtight!
Bringing a tote or reusable shopping bag with you if a definite must. There has been countless times now where I’ve used my tote bag for shopping or buying gifts, or simply having to bring home a few extra things from trips, which has saved me buying so many single use plastic bags over the years.
If you live in the UK like me, you’ll know that single use plastic bags come with a charge now, and some of the more durable ones can cost a few pennies now. Making sure you bring at least one reusable tote bag wherever you go means that you’re not only reducing your waste, but saving those extra pennies too!
Along with bringing tote bags, having reusable produce bags is a great idea if you regularly buy things like fruit, veg, or even nuts and snacks package free. When you use your own bag, you’re actually saving money because not only are you only buying the amount of produce you need, but you’re also not paying for the plastic that it comes packaged in either.
You can get so many different kinda of produce bags, and they’re becoming more widely available to buy in supermarkets too. If you’re crafty and have some spare fabric, you could also make your own – mine are made from old net curtains and shoelaces.
Reusable face masks
As we are still recovering from the world living with covid, I think it’s really important that we still carry reusable face masks with us. Not only are there still some places that require you to wear them (this could be an indoor venue that hosts a lot of people, for example), but people – including yourself – might feel more comfortable wearing one in crowded spaces or on transportation. Make sure you’re still being considerate of other people and if they ask you to wear one!
Lotion and lip balm
Depending on your own personal preference, it’s usually a good idea to have some form of lip balm and hand lotion in your bag. If you live in either a cold or dry climate (or both), making sure you look after yourself and your skin is definitely essential.
You can find loads of different brands that make both lotion and lip balm, depending on what you want them to be made of and their packaging. For lip balm I really love Scence, as theirs has lasted me months now, and for lotion I am obsessed with UpCircle’s Hand and Body Lotion (I have their travel sized bottle which is great for keeping in your bag).
As with having lotion and lip balm, having sunscreen in your bag is a must. If you live in a warm country or you travel often, then making sure you look after your skin from the sun should be second nature by now.
There are a few different low waste suncreams you can get, depending on your requirements. Scence do a vegan one that’s packaged in a paper tube, and Shade do one in a metal tin – but isn’t vegan as it contains beeswax. Green People also do one, which is packaged in sugarcane PE plastic.
These are just some of my essentials for a low waste to-go kit, but of course you can edit it to fit your own needs! Are there any essentials items you take with you everywhere?
Looking for more sustainable ideas? Check out my other posts!
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