Vacations don’t have to be wasteful; all that’s required is some planning. I brought this zero waste kit on my recent trip to Chicago to avoid creating trash while out and about. This canvas tote doubled as my purse with the addition of my wallet and sunglasses 😎
By always being prepared, I was able to enjoy the city with a clear conscience. I avoided disposable cups and plastic bottles with a travel coffee mug and stainless steel water bottle. I avoided food waste with a reusable plastic container that I put restaurant leftovers in. I avoided plastic utensils by carring my own spoon and fork. I avoided paper and plastic bags by putting purchases directly in my tote.
Take a couple minutes right now and create your own zero waste travel kit with items you already have around the house. Then put it by your front door so you can grab and go for your next summer outing ☀️
19 thoughts on “Zero waste kit”
Just found your site from a link in the Washington Post. It’s very useful and encouraging. Thank you.
Thanks, Lynn! 🙂 Let me know if there’s anything specific you’d like to learn more about! I’ll try to address it in an upcoming post!
What about cat litter?
Hi! I’ve transitioned my kitten to Yesterday’s News cat litter (https://www.yesterdaysnews.com/), which you can find at Petsmart, Walmart and other big chain stores. The litter is made from recycled newspaper, is 100% compostable and is packaged in a recyclable paper bag. My kitten took to it without any problems. I plan to write a post about my zero waste cat soon! Stay tuned …
I get so much “junk mail” often stuff sent to me from a charity I gave to…calendars, stickers, updates, solicitations from other related charities, and on and on. Don’t know how to tell them “thanks but no thanks”, I just want to give a donation and not create a stream of waste from it. How do you reduce the junk mail waste?
In Canada, the Canada Post suggests putting a sign in/on your mailbox that says you don’t want to receive junk mail. This eliminates unaddressed junk mail, but but they still have to deliver mail that’s addressed to you. I also put a sticker on my front door to opt out of the circulars/advertisements that get dropped at my doorstep. If you get one of these marketing bags (sometimes combined with the local paper), contact the company and find out how you can stop receiving them.
In the United States, you can register to receive less junk mail at dmachoice.org, optoutprescreen.com and catalogchoice.org.
I hope that helps!
I’ve been doing many of these things since I was I’m my 20’s (50 years ago), but there is always room to improve. Years ago, I was able to shop at a dairy/health store which sold quart returnable glass bottles by the 6 pack. It was so convenient, but now the dairy is no longer in existence. What do you suggest for purchasing milk when glass bottles are unavailable? Also what about laundry detergent—all the containers these days are plastic; once upon a time we bought detergent in powder form in cardboard box containers. I tried making my own, but my clothes did not come clean.
I get my milk and cream in consigned glass containers and love it. Sorry to hear the dairy is no longer in existence 🙁 I wonder if it would be worth talking to your local grocery stores and letting them know you’d like to buy milk in glass. Maybe the can source a new supplier?
As for laundry detergent, I used to use Ecover zero laundry powder (https://us.ecover.com/products/zero-laundry-powder/). It comes in a cardboard box, but it has a plastic scoop (I’ve reused them for other things around the house like baking soda and plant food). Recently, I switched to soap nuts, which I buy in bulk locally, but you can find them online, too. I throw five soap nuts in a small muslin bag then put it directly in my washing machine with my dirty laundry. After washing, I remove the bag of soap nuts and let it dry. The soap nuts are good for several washings (7-10) before they need to be composted. They’re toxin-free, cheap and zero waste! 🙂
I’ve been trying to go zero waste for 6 months and have made lots or progress like reusable bags at grocery stores, not using straws and switching to bar soap, but there are still lots of things I struggle with. For example, I cook 90% of the time but on the odd night I want to do take out, I struggle with all the plastic and that comes home! Have you found a solution for that??
Thanks for the resource… keeps me motivated to reduce more.
Hi, Molly! Congrats on your zero waste journey. Keep it up 🙂
We order pizza occasionally, which comes with minimal waste: cardboard box I can recycle (or compost if it got greasy) and a piece of wax paper. Otherwise, when I go to fast food joints or takeout places, I bring my own container (usually a plastic tupperware) and ask them to put my meal in it. Aside from a couple extra questions to clarify my request, I haven’t been declined (knock on wood)! Remember to say no utensils, napkins, straws, etc. and then carry your food home in a reusable grocery bag 🙂
Hi, Molly! I just created a post on Zero waste takeout that I think you’ll enjoy 🙂
Where di you got this water bottle? I am looking for all metal water bottle, but for some reason, they either got lining inside or are insolated or have plastic caps:( yours is amazing! where can I get one like this?
I got mine at a thrift store or garage sale—can’t remember which! It does have a plastic cap though.
I’ve since replaced this water bottle with an insulated, double-walled stainless steel water bottle I received as a gift. It keeps cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot for a long time, so I use it for water, coffee, tea—you name it! Rather than carry a reusable water bottle and reusable coffee mug, I just carry this with me now 🙂
This one’s similar to mine: https://www.amazon.ca/Simple-Modern-Vacuum-Insulated-Double-Walled/dp/B01GKGF098?ref_=fsclp_pl_dp_2
Hello! I am always looking for tips/tricks to minimize my waste. Where did you get your compartment tote bag? What a great idea. I have one for my cider growlers but it’s more of a canvas, looking for a lightweight option!
Hi! My compartment tote bag is actually a canvas wine tote I bought at SAQ!
We have a medium sized dog. How would you suggest we dispose of the poop without using poop bags.
If you have other plastic bags around your house that you haven’t eliminated yet (i.e. bread bags, frozen fruit/veggie bags, interior plastic bags that come in cereal/cracker boxes, etc.), use those for dog poop. If you don’t have any plastic bags anymore, try using toilet paper, newspaper or any other item that allows you to pick up the poop and carry it to a receptacle. If you’re out walking your dog, you could use a piece of litter you find (like coffee cups, grocery bags, etc.) to pick up the poop—and clean up your neighborhood in the process! 😀
I think a cloth serviette would be a useful addition to your zero waste kit.
Yes! I usually have one of these DIY washcloths in there 😀