The 3 items in every zero waster’s arsenal
Peek inside any zero waster’s bag/bike basket/car and you’ll find these three items.
When I decided to commit to a zero waste lifestyle I knew I had to make an initial investment in a few basic items in order to reduce my single use plastic consumption.
Below are the three products I bought at the start of my zero waste journey.
If you want to embark upon a zero waste life yourself, then outlaying a little bit extra for these items will make life a whole lot easier, but there are also cheap or even free ways to add to your own zero waste arsenal.
A reusable coffee cup
One of the main items in any zero waster’s arsenal is undoubtedly a reusable coffee cup.
An estimated one billion coffee cups end up in landfill each year in Australia, which works out to be roughly 2,700,000 coffee cups PER DAY.
Many people assume takeaway coffee cups are recyclable, they’re paper after all, right? Trouble is, they’re usually lined with a membrane of polyethylene (plastic) to make them waterproof. This means that not only are they not recyclable, they’re also not biodegradable.
In my mind, the gold standard in reusable coffee cups are the KeepCup, by virtue of the fact they were the world's first barista standard reusable coffee cup company.
But whether stainless steel, ceramic or glass from another reusable coffee cup company, such as Joco Cups, Klean Kanteen or Sol Cup, eschewing takeaway coffee cups is a huge step in the right direction on your zero waste journey.
Personally, I use KeepCup’s 340ml Glass Coffee Cup. I mainly use it to make my own coffee at home and to take with me while I’m out and about. Although I will sometimes use it to purchase a takeaway coffee.
If I get caught out without it but I’m in a hurry then I’ll order a coffee at a café in a regular cup and just down it quickly, but most of time I’ll at least have a glass jar rattling around the caddy of my son’s pram or in the car for “emergencies”.
Strapped for cash?
Just as I do when I’m caught without my KeepCup, simply repurpose a glass jar as your reusable coffee cup. Just tie a few rubber bands around it to protect your hands from the heat.
A reusable water bottle
Much like the issue with takeaway coffee cups, millions of single use plastic water bottles also end up in landfill every year (an estimated 370 million by last count).
Not only that, but most single use plastic water bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate (abbreviated to PET or PETE) and may leach compounds that are harmful to our health.
My husband and I each use a U-Konserve Glass Drinking Bottle with a Silicone Sleeve and my toddler uses a Green Sprouts Glass Sip 'n Straw Cup.
Strapped for cash?
Given you’ll no doubt be buying more food and drink items in glass jars and containers, just repurpose a glass milk bottle or kombucha bottle as your reusable water bottle.
A reusable straw
Another ubiquitous single use item that ends up in landfill are plastic straws. Straws are made from polypropylene, a by-product of petroleum, which requires a huge amount of energy and resources to extract and refine.
Exact figures are in contention, with 10 million and 500 million straws per day ending up in landfill being posited.
Either way, when heartbreaking footage of a sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck in his nose went viral in 2015, the straw backlash begun.
I personally have very little use for straws but most zero wasters will have a stainless steel straw in their arsenal.