5 Zero-Waste Essentials to Kickstart Your Low-Impact Lifestyle in 2019
Back in July, I shared one of my first and most positively received blog posts: Embarking on a Zero Waste Journey. As promised in that article, I would share weekly updates on my progress. Evidently, that did not happen, so this post will be a re-cap of my experience minimizing my waste over the past 5 months - as a student and during breaks - and some of my favorite items which have aided me through this journey and where you may get them as well. Enjoy!
As someone who eats breakfast on the way to school, this bento bag has been one of the most worthwhile purchases I have made in awhile. Although it was extremely pricey ($90 HKD), I never expected it to become such a crucial component of my everyday life! Not only can it be used to store sandwiches, snacks, and jars of overnight oats, but on a daily basis, or when travelling, it can also be used to contain other loose, miscellaneous items including chargers, toys, or literally anything (depending on whether or not you’re willing to reuse the same bag for these items)! I personally took the lazy way out, but if you’re down for some arts and crafts, you can always purchase a piece of cloth or fabric from a stationary store at Mongkok or Sham Shui Po and manufacture your own bento bag - it’s super simple, works perfectly for any occasion, and - depending on the pattern you choose - looks beautiful, too.
Convenient, light, and fun, I now never leave the house without these collapsible containers. They are the simplest way to avoid plastic waste - especially if a large part of your diet consists of street food and take out. They are particularly handy when travelling (especially when exploring the streets markets of Taipei), and smashing down the box after a scrumptious meal is always an interesting conversation starter. They come in various sizes and colours, and I even have one for my school lunch that has multiple compartments. The only setback with these collapsible containers is if you want to store liquids or desserts that may easily crumble, because the flimsy material of these boxes may lead to spillage or smashing of cakes (which I sadly had to experience recently). They do, however, combat the main issue of inconvenience and weight - two things that have always prevented me from carrying containers around - so they are the most obvious option when wanting to reduce waste.
I only just received this as a birthday gift and haven’t gotten to using it yet, but I am already in love with everything about this mug - the color, the aesthetic, the material, and of course, the fact that it is collapsible, portable, and lightweight. Similar to the collapsible containers, this design combats all of the most common issues related to sustainable alternatives, and although I am not much of a coffee drinker (or anything other than water drinker in general), I believe that having one of these can come in handy when ordering drinks at local restaurants that use paper or plastic cups to avoid the extra dish-washing, and the attached silicone straw can always come in handy when in need of a drink. I love that this cup can literally fit into your pocket, and it is the perfect addition to a travel kit that can easily and weightlessly be slipped into your bag!
I was just in need of a new phone case when I came across the sustainable and ethical brand PELA, and I had never been more excited to embark on some Black Friday shopping. Their cases come in several shapes and sizes, and I particularly love the turtle-engraved ones as shown above. Their phone cases are biodegradable, durable, and beautiful, and I love any company that lives by the philosophy of “believing in better” and encouraging conscious consumption. The only downfall is that their products don’t come with a shipping tracker unless you pay an additional cost (I ordered my almost a month ago and it still hasn’t arrived), but if you are worried about online shopping, you can also purchase these at Live Zero (for a bit of an extra cost).
5. Spork + Knife Edge Utensils
Last but not least, we have this handy little cutlery item which I have been using - but not carrying around until recently - for ages now. It’s a spoon, fork, and knife - all in one! Once again, if you’re like me and you don’t enjoy carrying bulky, heavy things in your bag and prefer items that are convenient and lightweight, then this is the perfect item for you. Unfortunately, I don’t think that they have a simple name which they go by; however, they save you the hassle of having to wonder if you’re going to need a fork, spoon, or knife for lunch. They come in various colours, and to my knowledge, some stores such as Live Zero even sell similar items made out of used cartons and recycled plastic - which is all the more eco-friendly!
Out of the abundance of zero waste items that now exist in my home, those are all my favorite items for now. Hopefully, I’ll post more frequent updates, but in the meantime, let me know what are your favorite sustainable alternatives! :)