Alison of No Waste Space and Loam Co-Editor Kate recently collaborated on a project to design tool kits to help make trash-free living sweet and easy. Traveling this winter and want to tread lightly? Check out Kate's toolkit, below, for advice on how to minimize your footprint.
KATE'S TOOLKIT (TRAVEL)
Traveling without producing a lot of trash is often tricky! Recycling and compost infrastructures vary throughout the world and it can be difficult to figure out the laws of the landscape in such a short stretch of time. We might go to a restaurant that uses disposable cutlery or find that our hostel doesn't recycle.
The toolkit, below, will help you reduce common sources of waste (be sure to read our guide on strategies for traveling light as well!) That said, the unexpected challenges of travel are often matched by the generosity of strangers. Maybe you will meet with a local farmer who shares with you a plastic-wrapped parcel of fruits and veggies. Maybe a friend you are visiting will bring you to a family dinner where whipping out your cloth napkin and cutlery might be read as rude. I've encountered similar situations throughout my travels and I think it is always best to exercise open-mindedness. We can't always do things our way and that is more than okay. Embrace moments of imperfection. Exercise compassion toward the earth. Be receptive to your surroundings and learn from new friends. Because no trash-light toolkit is complete without a little philosophical introspection as well!
#1: BAMBOO SUNGLASSES
You likely already have a fine pair of sunglasses, and if so, work with what you have! If you're in the market for a new pair, however, don't buy a cheap plastic set. I totally get why it is tempting to go for the inexpensive lens on sale at any pharmacy shelf. But many of these glasses are built to be trash. Opt for a pair of bamboo frames instead made of natural materials. I particularly like Woodzee because their smart recycling program helps to minimize waste later down the line.
#2: REUSABLE GLASS BOTTLE
Although I often bring my reusable water bottle wherever I go, I sometimes use this glass bottle that I kept and cleaned out just because glass is a little easier to wash after drinking a thicker liquid!
#3: STAINLESS STEEL STRAW
There are so many sources of trash that are really easy to fix (plastic cutlery and bags are a prime example). Swapping plastic straws for stainless steel is truly simple. And yes, a little silly, but let's take down our culture of disposability in any way that we can!
#4: CLOTH NAPKIN
This one's a staple of any trash light toolkit and is great if you need to temporarily store food scraps for when there isn't a trash can/compost bucket close by.
#5: BIODEGRADABLE SHAMPOO BAR
I use Meow Meow Tweet's biodegradable shampoo bar as an all-purpose soap/shampoo for when I'm on the road and want to keep my toiletries kit to the bare minimum.
#6-7: HOMEMADE TOOTHPASTE + BAMBOO BRUSH
Lauren Singer of Trash is for Tossers has a winning recipe for homemade toothpaste that you can easily pack and go into glass compact. Bring a bamboo toothbrush (check out Brush With Bamboo) for a biodegradable alternative to the standard plastic brush.
A way more beautiful and sustainable alternative to a plastic knife and fork.
#9: GLASS CANISTER
For leftovers, storing snacks, and keeping things tidy!
#10: REUSABLE TOTE
Because one of the best ways to learn about a new city is to check out the farmers' market (plus, you're probably going to want to bring a few souvenirs home!)