Alison of No Waste Space and me (Loam Co-Editor Kate!) are both passionate about living trash light, savoring the small things, and spreading the love. Collaborating on a project was very organic in that sense. Our hope is that by sharing with you our tool kits for everyday living, grocery store runs, and travel, we can help make living trash light sweet and easy. Because once you've found your template, producing less waste becomes second nature. Enjoy!
ALISON'S TOOLKIT (EVERYDAY)
Here is my zero-waste starter kit! (Side note: this starter kit — which is comprised of items you can find at Goodwill or a secondhand store — would be an amazing holiday present for someone in your life who is interested in environmentalism! And you can personalize these kits to different styles.)
#1: REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
To replace: plastic water bottles
#2: CERAMIC TO-GO MUG
To replace: paper or styrofoam cups
Reusable water bottles and to-go mugs are probably the items that have reduced the most waste in my life so far… and what an easy switch to make!
#3: T0-GO BALL JAR
To replace: individually-wrapped snacks/foods
Instead of grabbing a plastic-lined, processed granola bar on your way out the door, grab a ball jar of yummy granola! Or use these jars for bringing a lunch — you can fill them with roasted veggies, soups, spaghetti — pretty much any meal.
#4: CANVAS BAG
To replace: plastic or paper bags
It scares me to think of all the plastic and paper bags I have used in my lifetime already. Plastic bags inevitably end up in the landfill, and plastics take forever to degrade — and even then, they are toxic. Yuck. If you want to quit the plastic bag, canvas bags (or any reusable grocery bag) are the perfect option.
#5: CLOTH NAPKIN
To replace: paper napkins
Whether you’re eating at home or bringing lunch to work, cloth napkins are the perfect option. And they come in such fun styles, designs, and colors!
#6: TO-GO SILVERWARE
To replace: plastic forks, spoons, knives
After I realized how many plastic spoons I was using at my college café, I started carrying around a Goodwill spoon with me to use. Another very easy switch to make!
#7: COMPOST BUCKET
I live in Maine, so we have a backyard where we keep a composter. I understand that if you live in a city or in the suburbs, this might not be an option. Fortunately, there are composting companies now — like Garbage to Garden or We Compost It! — that will take care of your compost for you! So do a little research into these different services in your area, and start saving those rinds, stems, and skins.
You can pretty much use any sealable container or bucket to keep your compost. And if you’re worried about the smell, you can just stick your compost in the freezer!
I hope you can see from this starter-kit that there are many simple changes you can make in your lifestyle to start producing less trash. Going zero-waste isn’t necessarily always about producing no trash at all — I think that idea is intimidating for a lot of people. But there are so many ways we can begin producing much less waste, and with such simple switches.
KATE'S TOOLKIT (EVERYDAY)
The beauty of building your own trash light toolkit is that much of what you need, you already have. Really and truly. Plus, it's fun and the sort of thing that once you do, you never have to think twice about.
#1: REUSABLE CLOTH NAPKIN
What Alison said! Choosing cloth napkins over paper is one of the easiest switches that you can make to reduce your usage of disposable products.
Sporks are pretty much all-purpose. This bamboo utensil is from sustainable music festival Pickathon.
Because I love tea and a good discount (many independent cafes will charge you less for a drink if you bring a reusable mug!)
#4: GLASS JAR
For carrying my lunch and storing compost scraps in.
#5: STAINLESS STEEL WATER BOTTLE
Stainless steel is a safer alternative to plastic. It's a little pricier but definitely worth the investment.
#6: COTTON TOTE
I received this particular tote for free during a farm-to-fork festival. It's roomy enough that I can schlep groceries home in it and just right for when I just want to travel light.
#7: CLOTH POUCH
I bake a lot of bread and like to bring loaves to share both at work and with friends. This pouch is a reusable alternative to plastic wrap and is pretty (win-win!)