When we’re out and about, be it shopping, a hurried lunch break or a leisurely picnic, we constantly buy and dispose of bits of plastic, often with little thought for the devastating environmental effects.
But whether we are enjoying a cup of coffee while we window shop or at a family barbecue, we can all make better choices for the environment.
It’s really straightforward to create your own zero-waste starter kit to help you be plastic-free on the go. Living a waste-free life while out-and-about is all about thinking ahead and having easy swaps to hand to help make sustainable choices more simple.
What Do We Mean By Zero Waste?
Some people prefer the terms ‘low impact’ or ‘low waste’ because the term zero waste can seem like an impossible and overwhelming thing to achieve.
We believe that being zero waste is an ideal that probably most of us will never achieve. But we can choose progress over perfection, and making small changes over time has a massive impact on the environment. Implementing these changes over time moves us toward the goal of treading lightly on the planet and causing the least harm.
In this blog, we’d like to give you some ideas for a zero-waste kit that will help you make your on the go life easier and help you on your zero waste journey.
When you have these practical, reusable, and environmentally friendly basics on hand, you'll never have to revert to single-use plastic whether you’re at lunch, out shopping or further afield.
Your Zero Waste Starter Kit
Let’s start with some zero waste essentials for your starter kit. Some will be obvious to you, others you may not have thought of, but they are all eco-friendly swaps for your low waste journey.
Reusable Coffee Cup
We all know the tale of single-use coffee cups. Disposable coffee cups are constructed of paper and coated with plastic in order to make them watertight. Most recycling facilities are unable to remove the plastic lining.
Add to that, the paper part of the cup is generally polluted by its contents after it has been used. There is no market for contaminated paper food packaging in the United Kingdom or Europe.
If that wasn't enough, 2.5 billion coffee cups are used and discarded in the UK each year, enough to wrap around the world five and a half times, but only 0.25 per cent of them are recycled.
So it’s a no-brainer to change to a reusable cup, and we just happen to sell, what we think, is a stylish and elegant replacement.
Our reusable coffee cup is designed to give you an authentic coffee shop experience. It's made from glass and comes with a silicone cover to protect your hands from the heat. We chose to use glass as a material so as not to affect the taste of your drink. Unfortunately, metal and bamboo have been shown to leach harmful chemicals into your drink, but your coffee stays the way the barista intended with glass.
The sleeve and lid are BPA free, and the whole cup is 100% recyclable. It comes in plastic-free packaging too!
Eco-Friendly Water Bottle
The problems with plastic water bottles have long been in the news, but it’s a shock to discover that in the UK, we still throw away 7.7 billion plastic water bottles a year, despite us having some of the best quality drinking water in the world!
On top of this, approximately 15 million bottles are littered, landfilled, or incinerated daily. This waste produces up to 233,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. Unsurprisingly, plastic bottles are in the top 10 most found items on beaches across Europe.
It’s time even more people make the switch to plastic-free drinking on the go.
We love the Ocean Bottle, made from recycled stainless steel, BPA-free plastic, silicone rubber and ocean-bound plastic - all fully recyclable.
Ocean Bottle had an amazing idea to collect plastic destined for the ocean and reuse it. The 11.368kg of plastic buying your bottle saves from the sea gets recycled, turning it into new products—a truly circular economy. When you buy an Ocean Bottle, you fund the collection of 1000 ocean-bound plastic bottles before they reach the water. Locals in coastal communities collect plastic and exchange it for money through a regulated banking system so they can get access to microfinance, tuition, healthcare and other things they need.
The bottle also has a lifetime guarantee with their repair & recycling scheme if you need new spare parts or something breaks.
This award-winning Ocean Bottle is designed to come along with you at home and beyond. It keeps your cold drinks cold and your hot drinks hot. Ice, soup, coffee, and smoothies are all good, thanks to its double lid that lets you sip, fill, pour and clean with joy.
The bottles are made from double-wall vacuum-insulated stainless steel and recycled materials, won’t leak or sweat in your bag and are 100% dishwasher safe–all while helping to save the ocean.
Choosing an Ocean Bottle helps you live more sustainably whilst helping coastal communities worldwide.
Choose Plastic Free Straws For Your Zero Waste Kit
Reusable straws are a must for a zero-waste starter kit. Plastic straws are single-use, lightweight, and manufactured polypropylene, a non-recyclable and slow-degrading substance. They take at least 200 years to biodegrade into microplastics. As a result, plastic straws have a disproportionately detrimental environmental impact compared to their volume. 4.4 billion straws are thrown away every year in the UK, meaning swapping to a reusable straw can make a huge difference.
At Wild and Stone, we sell a variety of reusable straws that suit different needs and occasions, perfect for zero waste living.
Our reusable rainbow steel straws offer an elegant alternative to single-use plastic straws. These long-lasting stainless steel straws stop plastic straws from making their way into our waterways and oceans and harming aquatic life.
We love metal drinking straws because, unlike glass or plastic straws, they don’t break or bend, don’t include any toxins or BPA, and work in the home, the office, and on the go.
Whilst we welcome the ban on plastic straws, steel and glass straws are not an ideal swap for everybody. These silicone bendy straws are soft and flexible, making them ideal for children and those with difficulties drinking.
These reusable silicone straws are made from FDA approved, BPA free, certified food-grade silicone is a safer, non-toxic way to reduce your waste and enjoy your drinks. Our straws are made from 100% silicone, which means there are no plastic filters, giving you a plastic-free experience.
Silicone straws are an eco-friendly alternative to plastic straws or paper straws as they can be reused time and time again. Our straws are made from 100% food-grade silicone and can be recycled at the end of their lifetime.
Choose A Zero Waste Lunch Box
Many of us have hurried lunch breaks, grabbing something quickly from the local sandwich shop or supermarket. This is generating nearly 11 billion items of plastic packaging waste a year in the UK alone.
A boxed sandwich, a packet of crisps, a chocolate bar and a napkin every day create a massive level of waste, and much of this isn’t recyclable due to the contamination of food residue.
The answer? By planning your lunches in advance and using up what you have in the fridge, you can massively reduce packaging, food waste and save money too.
Buying a lunchbox to carry it in easily makes a great addition to your zero waste starter kit.
We love Huski Home, which makes a genuinely sustainable lunch box using rice husks. A family run business, Huski Home wants to contribute to the collective movement towards a sustainable future by creating products that will eliminate the need for existing and single-use plastics.
Rice husks are a potential biohazard if not repurposed or disposed of correctly. Huski Home recycles rice husks to create the durable, environmentally friendly, non-toxic material with which they make their multi-compartment lunch boxes.
Husky Home lunch boxes are non-toxic, melamine, and BPA free, making them eco-friendly and sustainable. They are great for hot or cold foods, have two storage compartments, and collapsible handles.
Swap Plastic Cutlery For Bamboo
Plastic cutlery is everywhere, delivered with takeaways and handed out with fast food. Billions of forks, knives, and spoons are thrown away each year. Like any single-use plastic item, cutlery can take centuries to break down naturally, giving the plastic waste plenty of time to work its way into the environment.
The Ocean Conservancy lists cutlery as among the items “most deadly” to sea turtles, birds, and mammals, and right after fishing nets, as marine life mistakes them for food, leading to a painful and needless death. As this cutlery waste isn’t only dangerous but ultimately unnecessary, a reusable travel cutlery set is the perfect solution.
Our bamboo travel cutlery set has been designed to be reused on any outdoor occasion. Our reusable cutlery is made from FSC® 100% certified bamboo and is biodegradable, so it won't end up polluting the environment. This set is perfect for zero waste living at festivals, picnics, barbecues, meals on the go and camping trips.
The set includes a spoon, fork, knife, set of chopsticks, straw and straw cleaner, all the ideal length for comfortable use, and comes in a handy cloth carrying/storage bag to keep your set tidy.
Don’t Forget Your Reusable Bag!
One of the most important items of your zero waste essentials kit is the simple reusable bag.
Plastic bags begin as fossil fuels and end up in landfills and the ocean as toxic garbage. Birds frequently confuse shredded plastic bags for food, resulting in harmful material being ingested. It's practically impossible for hungry marine turtles to distinguish between jellyfish and floating plastic shopping bags.
Thousands of tonnes of plastic are consumed by fish each year, passed up the food chain to larger species and marine mammals. People are exposed to microplastics through food and in the air.
Globally, individuals are expected to consume the equivalent of a credit card worth of plastic every week, and by 2050 it’s estimated that there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.
But are ‘bags for life’ or tote bags the answer?
Because of overproduction, cotton tote bags may not be as environmentally friendly as brands claim. Chain stores mimic fast fashion, bringing out new designs of bags regularly, tempting people to buy new versions.
Textile recycling and sustainability experts have said that even if cotton totes are sent to be recycled, the logos and messages printed on the bags are usually not recyclable and have to be cut out of the cloth. This wastes an estimated 10 to 15% of cotton received by a single recycling firm.
And ‘bags for life’ offer their own problems. The ten biggest supermarkets in the UK produced 896,853 tonnes of plastic in 2019, an increase of 1.2% from 2017, which, according to the Evening Standard, is the equivalent weight of 90 Eiffel Tower. Supermarkets sold 2.1 billion plastic bags throughout the year, including 1.58 billion reusable "bags for life" — a 65% increase since 2017.
So what is the answer to the problem of plastic bags? We like to think our stylish and classic shopping bag is!
Our jute hessian shopping bag is perfect for taking to local shops and supermarkets. It's strong and durable. Designed in the UK, it’s built to last. Or, go for our chic blue crochet bag, woven out of 100% organic cotton.
These eco-friendly reusable bags are a great addition to your zero waste kit and help you choose to live sustainably every time you go to the shops.
Wild & Stone's mission is to create stylish, easy to adopt and usable alternatives to common plastic products around the home. We source all our products sustainably, from raw material to final delivery. Shop our wide range today.
Vegan diets have been linked to a range of health and environmental benefits. Want to get involved, or already taking part? In this article, we share our top Veganuary tips to help you master going vegan.