Building a zero-waste, or low-waste, lifestyle can be overwhelming and costly at first, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve found simple and less expensive ways to build a zero-waste tool kit on a budget that will help you reduce your plastic waste when you are on-the-go.
It was just last year that I started to become more conscious of the waste our family is creating every day. I had been on a mission for quite some time to reduce the chemicals that we are using in our home and have been focused on the benefits of clean living.
That research led to my awareness of the plastic pollution problem that is plaguing our oceans and wildlife. I’ve been a longtime animal lover/advocate and instantly knew that I had to make a change to reduce the plastic waste our family was making.
I’ll be honest, it’s not easy in our modern world to avoid plastic at every turn, especially when shopping and dining out.
So I started looking online for alternatives to plastic products and was so impressed with all the options available! I am encouraged that there is a new trend to be more sustainable, but some of these alternatives can be costly, especially if you want to dive in and make all these changes right away, like me.
How to Save Money by Going Zero-Waste (Low-Waste)
However, some swaps can actually save you money; such as buying food in bulk bins and avoiding the purchase of disposable plastic products. For example, you may need to pay a bit more upfront for a set of reusable stainless steel straws (vs. a box of plastic, disposable straws). Yet, in the long run, you will save more money since you will likely never have to purchase a straw again!
There are many examples like this that will not only save you money but will also save our planet.
How to Make a Zero-Waste Tool Kit on a Budget
To get started, I’ve compiled a set of budget-friendly items to use in your zero-waste tool kit. You can assemble this one time and keep it somewhere handy like your purse, bag, or car. That way you are
1. Metal Flatware
You have a few simple low-cost options for your utensils. You can use an extra silverware you have a home, especially if they are mix-match. You can also head out to a local garage sale or thrift store to find affordable utensils. If you want to invest in a travel set, there are many options to choose from. I like how this set that I got online has a washable, carrying case that comes with stainless steel chopsticks too. However, there is no need to purchase anything new. Use what you have to get started!
2. Reusable Straw
If you’ve read other posts on my blog, you know that I’ve been focusing on making the switch to reusable straws both in our home and when we are out and about. Check out my Guide to Eliminating Single-Use Plastic Straws for several options! I have stainless steel straws in my Zero-Waste Tool Kit, but recently, I found reusable straws that are available in local stores, such as this one by GoSili. It’s an affordable option at only $2.50, available at Meijer or online, and easy to pop in your bag, purse or pocket!
3. Cloth Napkin
A great way to cut down on paper waste is to bring your own cloth napkin! You may have one at home already, or you can even make one if you are crafty and good with a sewing machine (wish I was!). Sew a napkin using fabric scraps, clothing you no longer wear, or even a pillowcase. You can always hit up your local thrift shop too.
This microfiber cloth by Norwex is optional but handy! I like to have this travel-sized EnviroCloth with me because I can use it to wipe down shopping cart handles, restaurant tables, and spills in the car with just the EnviroCloth and water! It’s so easy and eliminates the need for disposable cleaning wipes, while still keeping you and your family protected from germs!
5. Reusable Bag
All of the above-mentioned items fit into this reusable wet bag and is small enough to fit in most purses and bags. This particular bag is convenient because it has a water-resistant lining making it easy to wipe clean when you get home. However, a budget-friendly idea is to use a cosmetic bag or toiletry bag that you already have on hand.
6. Reusable Water Bottle
Of course, you’ll want to bring along your own water bottle so you can refuse the plastic cups and avoid buying a single-use plastic water bottle from the store or fast-food restaurant. If you don’t have one already, you can consider reusing a glass bottle that you may have from a store-bought iced tea, or you can also use a glass food jar. If you don’t have one, ask around! A friend or neighbor may have extras. Peanut butter (barring any food allergies) works really well for removing labels or sticky residue!
Other Zero Waste Items to Keep Handy
1. Reusable Grocery Bags
Keep reusable grocery bags in your car. This way you are prepared to refuse plastic bags at the grocery store, even if you make an unplanned stop on the way home!
2. Reusable Produce Bags
Reusable produce bags are an item that can help you reduce your place waste when shopping for produce. Say no to those plastic produce bags, which are very difficult to recycle!
3. Glass or Stainless Steel Food Storage
Avoid using plastic food containers for packing your lunch or snacks to limit your exposure to BPA and other harmful chemicals. The post Is BPA-Free Plastic Safe explains why you want to avoid plastic altogether when you can!
So to recap, all you need to get started making your Zero-Waste Tool Kit on a Budget are the following: metal flatware, a reusable straw, a cloth napkin, a small, reusable bag, and a reusable water bottle. Assembling these easy, affordable items ahead of time will allow you to drastically reduce your waste while you are on-the-go.
Won’t it feel good to know you are making a difference and reducing the plastic pollution that is harming our oceans?
Please leave a comment below or connect with me on any of my social media channels. I’d love to see photos of your Zero-Waste Tool Kits or see them in action!
P.S. – Are you ready to take the next step on your journey to go green and start practicing your green mindset? Imagine how you would feel 12 months from now if you drastically reduced the waste your family made all year. These 12 Zero Waste New Year Resolutions will help you achieve those goals – even if you are a zero waste beginner. Download the FREE checklist today and read all about the simple tips to get you started HERE.