In 2017 I started my zero waste journey. Zero Waste is the goal, mindful practice is the action. When I use the term Zero Waste, that is my ultimate goal, but Less Waste would be a more accurate description of my evolving lifestyle.
One way I'm participating in Plastic Free July is to be better about bringing my Plastic Free Kit with me where ever I go. Since starting my zero waste, low impact journey, always having my kit with me has been a struggle but I find when I do bring it it makes my life so much easier.
Creating and carrying a plastic free kit is a great way to start your own plastic free or low waste journey. You don't have to buy anything new to create one, you can use items you already have! The hardest part of having a kit is remembering to bring it with you!
So, what is a plastic free kit? For me, the kit is simply a few items I try to bring with me to help me avoid waste and disposable items. What you have in your kit depends on what you will use most and what will help you avoid using plastic disposables. Your kit can be one or two items, or a whole bunch. Your kit can always be the same items, or can change depending on what you're doing or where you are going. Here is what I usually carry in my kit:
1. A Reusable Cup - Usually insulated to keep hot or cold drinks. Sometimes glass or metal. The one pictured is one I found at my work's lost and found but I have several that I have accumulated over the years. I like reusable cups that have a clear size printed on them.
2. A Small Container. I use this for leftovers or salad bars mostly. But it can also hold bulk items, snacks, or compost I want to bring back home. The one seen here I got last year from the Mighty Nest website. But you don't need to buy anything new!! I also use old tupperware, glass jars, or reused take-out containers for this purpose.
3. A Cloth Napkin. Here I have just a tea towel, but I also have a few thrifted napkin sets, so I'll also bring one of those. This is useful for wiping one's mouth but also for wrapping leftovers and tying into a bag for fruit and veg among many other uses.
4. Produce Bag. I like to keep an extra bag on hand. Cloth bags take up barely any space and are so useful. Use for fruit and veg, carrying groceries or other purchases, loan to a friend, etc... The one pictured was gifted from my BFF; it was her grandmothers!!
5. A Flatware Set:
My set has a a bamboo spoon, fork, and chopsticks. I bought these and the little carrying case last year. It came with a knife, but I find I never use that, so don't carry it. I love the chopsticks tho (highly recommend carrying some chops!). I also carry several metal straws. I don't use straws for most drinks but love milkshakes and smoothies so want to be prepared! You never know when a friend might need one, too.
My advice here would to NOT buy any new forks, knives, spoons, etc!! We all have flatware hanging around that can make a set, or spend a few pennies to get some flatware at a local thrift or charity shop. I like using these bamboo items, but regret buying new when I already had plenty. The carrying case is also not needed.
I would advice investing in some reusable straws.
6. A Carry All Canvas Bag. Once I have all my items I need a bag to carry them in! I prefer a canvas bag bc it's pretty sturdy, can get wet, can take some ware and can be used for a shopping bag, or in other ways as well. I've been using the one seen here, which was a gift, bc it's pretty small but tucks under my arm, and still holds a lot.
I switch out items, this cup for that one, etc... when one needs washed or I left one at work or what have you. If I know I want to get smoothie bowl, I'll bring a bigger container. If I know I'm eating with friend or family, I'll bulk up some items. If I'm going shopping, I'll bring more bags. My kit is fluid and that makes it easy for me. Over all the kit is small and light and easy to carry.
I tend to leave my kit in the car, where I can easily grab it if we are out and about. If we're home and walking around I might grab it to carry with us. My biggest challenge is remembering to bring it with me when I leave the car. I tend to forget until I've gotten far enough away that I don't want to go back. For Plastic Free July I've been more mindful about it and it makes a big difference!!
Have you started your Plastic Free Kit? What was your first item?