Do you want to start moving towards being garbage-free in your life? A successful garbage-free lifestyle requires some preparation, and in many cases introducing more planning and thoughtfulness into the rest of your life as a whole. Below I have outlined my On-The-Go starter kit for avoiding trash. Keep these supplies in your car or in your backpack, and your first steps in going garbage-free will be significantly less frustrating 😉
I use my camping Sierra cup and titanium spork. There are recyclable plastic silverware, compostable corn-based silverware, and supposedly even recyclable Styrofoam plates available today, but even if your host is using these products, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are ending up in the right bin. I feel more confident bringing my own, and have the added benefit of getting to use my gear more than just once in a blue-moon for a camping trip!
Take out container
You can use Tupperware or any other reusable container. I am trying to reduce my reliance on plastic and use what’s available to me, so I’ve been using jars.
Handkerchief or cloth napkin
Bandannas are fashionable, functional, and I just happen to have one in very color 😛 Use them for blowing your nose, drying your hands, cleaning up spills, anything that would normally require a tissue, paper towel, or paper napkin.
I often travel with my backpack, keep fabric grocery bags in my car, and have recently made myself some smaller fabric bags from scrap fabric. I’ve used these little fabric bags for produce at the grocery store and nuts and oats from the bulk store.
Reusable coffee (chai latte) mug
Many coffee chains actually sell these at their stores these days. Most baristas won’t think twice about you providing your own mug.
Healthy snack in a reusable container
Most of my slip-ups are a result of being hungry and craving some snack that only comes in a throw-away wrapper. Keep trail-mix or homemade granola bars on hand so you are less susceptible to plastic wrapped junk food cravings!
Self-control and confidence
Unfortunately, you can’t pick these up at the store. A large part of reducing waste is having the self-control not to take the free-be at the super market served in a little disposable cup, not to buy the single serving bag of chips with your sub sandwich, and holding your ground when you ask for your deli clerk to put your food in your jar even though they insist it should be wrapped in plastic. I have found that many people are actually very excited when you discuss how to be greener at their stores. These enthusiastic people make it much easier to be confident in the face on naysayers.
I hope this helps anyone out there trying to go garbage-free! Comment if you have any questions or additions to this list.