Year for the Planet Week 40: My Zero Waste Travel Kit

Year for a Planet is a personal challenge to be a better human for the planet for a whole year. This year, 2017, is where I deal with my food choices.

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For these last few weeks of the year, I will summarize the things I have learned in the project so far. I think these articles will be convenient go-to posts about what to do, in case you ever want to embark on a similar lifestyle.

One of the most helpful things I can share is my zero waste kit—the things I bring with me when I go out, be it to the mall, to the gym, or traveling to another country. Being prepared is one of the best things you can do if you want to live a sustainable lifestyle, mainly because most cities have broken and capitalistic systems that aim to deter you to doing just the opposite. A few quick changes should set you up well. Go ahead and buy yourselves an early Christmas present:

1. Three reusable bags
Most of the plastic you tend to bring home aren’t the containers of your purchases, but the bags you need to bring them home in. And so the easiest way is just to bring your own bag. Identify your main activities and categorize accordingly. For example, I always carry one bag for groceries, one bag for books and art supplies, and another just in case. I even reject the big fancy paper bags when I buy clothing—they take up way too much space at home and face it, you don’t need them.

2. One reusable water bottle
…That is already filled with water, of course. I drink at least 4-6 liters of water a day because of my active lifestyle. One of the biggest reason of falling off of the sustainable eating wagon is not so much willpower but dehydration. Bringing this along already saves you from buying another overpriced beverage likely contained in plastic.

3. One reusable bottle for something else
If you like to drink something other than water such as coffee or a smoothie, it’s easier for cleaning purposes to have something separate. Make this one smaller than your water bottle so you won’t overdo it on the caffeine and calories!

4. One travel jar for snacks.
You will go hungry when you’re outside, watching Blade Runner 2049, or waiting for a cab. Having even a couple of energy bites stored in a tiny jar in your bag can just be your lifesaver. Want to lay off that processed donut? Bring something equally delicious yet with more nutritive benefits. As a bonus, you won’t have to get into yet another line.

5. Reusable utensils
Spoon, fork, knife, chopsticks, straws—you can get these in so many different materials now such as bamboo, glass, stainless steel. Not only will it save you from having to resort to plastic cutlery if that’s the only option, but you can ensure that they’re clean.

6. Zero-waste go-to replies
Practice saying these in the mirror and eventually you will automatically say it to the grocery check-out person, the server taking your order, the real estate agent who wants to give you a flyer, and everyone else that will feel complicit in getting you to eat processed food or create plastic waste.
• “No sugar, no straws.”
• “No bag.”
• “I’ll pack it, thanks.”
• “No.” (Seriously, just no.)

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