Regardless of whether you work full time, are a stay-at-home mom, or just any normal person- summers can get busy quickly and you spend lots of time away from the house. Add in road trips and travel, and it can be hard to incorporate a plastic-free lifestyle into an already hectic one. But, have no fear, we’ve made made a handy list of the products you can use to create a more sustainable, healthy, ethical (SHE), plastic-free life on the go!
So what plastic-free items are you going to need? Definitely water bottles, bags, straws, and coffee cups! These are HANDS DOWN the top four single-use plastics that are filling up landfills at alarming rates. Any time you can skip them, it is a win. They are also the most common items people agree to give up for Plastic-Free July (read more about this cool initiative and join in here!) We've got suggestions to eliminate them with reusable options in this blog. But there are a lot more plastic items we carry around everywhere that need replacing.
1. POUCHES: We’re sure your purse/diaper bag/backpack is already kind of cluttered, but instead of reaching for a plastic bag, reach for a reusable punch! Pouches help organize everything, and if you invest in plastic free utensils keeping them in one pouch makes things easier! And cleaner. We love these pouches handmade by refugees in the US by Gaia Empowered Women.
Other pouch favs are:
- The organic pouches from Little Korboose that are sewn and screen printed in Cleveland, Ohio using ethical and sustainable practices by a small team, which now includes refugees from Pakistan and Nepal! Learn more about LK practices and values here. Three other favs are:
- The budget friendly zipper pouches from Bambu, (If you haven't check out Bambu, DO IT! This company goes above and beyond in its testing and business processes to be sustainable and non-toxic),
- The modern designs of the zipper pouches from Grey Whale that are hand-printed and consciously made in Europe with natural fibers and non-toxic inks..
- If you just can't break the idea of using a plastic bag, at least reach for a version that is reusable and recyclable... and gives back! Blue Avocado (fun name, right?) makes (re)zip® storage solutions that can hold everything from food on-the-go to phone accessories, from makeup and beauty items to school supplies, for any storage or organization need.
2. UTENSILS: We try to avoid fast food when we can, which seriously cuts down on using plastic utensils. But sometimes you’re eating out and reusable utensils aren’t an option, or you’re bringing a long your lunch and need something to eat it with! This foldable spork from Life Without Plastic actually comes with it’s own organic cotton pouch. If sporks aren’t really your thing, then get a set of bamboo utensils! You can find them pretty much anywhere, but we found some great organic utensils from Bambu.
3. SUNGLASSES: Looking for a new pair of sunglasses? You’re in luck. We have a whole post on sustainable sunglass options! You’re definitely going to need a pair this summer.
4. LUNCHBOXES: Lunch on the go is a great way to be in control of what you’re eating, save you some money, and give you an excuse to carry around a super cute lunch box. LunchBots offers a variety of high-quality, stainless steel products to make lunch on the go much easier. They even have tiny containers to transport your hummus! ECOlunchbox goes the full nine yards and has stainless steel containers, cotton lunch bags, and cloth napkins. They’re also donating part of their profits to See Turtles so there are lots of cute pictures of baby turtles all over their website. And if you want just about every option imaginable, head over to Lunch-a-Porter. This company has lunch boxes, bottles & cups, lunch bags, and accessories from all over the world at every price point. It was started by a mom who was horrified as a school volunteer and a member of the eco-committee by how much garbage the students were generating at each meal. So she started a company to provide eco-intelligent, designer lunch gear for the whole family.
5. SNACK BAGS: Snacks are good any time of day, but they’re usually either pre-packaged in plastic or put into a Ziploc bag. These completely plastic-free sandwich and snack bags from Island Picnic (another fun name!) are not only environmentally friendly, but super cute! You can also fill a mason jar up with a homemade smoothie and use a plastic-free metal or bamboo lid, like these cuties from Mason Bar Company. The (re)zip pouches from Blue Avocado are perfect for this as well.
6. COLORED LIP GLOSS: Some mornings are too hectic for a full face of makeup, but colored lip glosses are quick and easy to put on wherever you’re at! The problem is more of them come in a cheap plastic container. These lip glosses are packaged in compostable materials and are a perfect size to store in your purse and last a long time. You can walk around just a little more confidently knowing your lip color is good for you and the environment. How easy is that do do something good every day for Plastic Free July!? Plus they are sweetened with stevia and made with essential oils. You can also check out Smith's Rosebud Minted Lip Balm, rated a 3 on the EWG Skin Deep site, which comes in a small plastic-free tin.
7. WINDSHIELD SCRAPERS: We know it’s July, but if you live in a place that snows you might want to buy one of these bamboo ice scrapers! Look at you, getting ready for the winter season months in advance!
8. BABY WIPES: Regardless of if you have a baby or not, baby wipes are handy for wiping off sticky hands, messy spills, or germ-y grocery cars. While it is possible to make your own baby wipes and package them while they’re wet, that only works if you’re going to be out for short periods of time and prepare ahead of time. That’s why we love these baby wipes from EcoCare Organics. The wipes are biodegradable and made out of organic cotton. They do come in plastic packaging, but the packaging uses a renewable content and a minimum amount of plastic.
What are some other plastic-free items you always carry around? We’d love to know and hopefully help you find a plastic-free option if need be! In the meantime, stay tuned for more blog posts on some plastic-free switches you can make in other areas of your life!
The SHE Team