Whether you prefer to use a handbag, backpack or a satchel, you know you can’t leave your house without certain essentials. Keys, mobile phone and wallet are just three must-haves on everyone’s list. Leaving the house without any of these things is sure to direct you back home.
The importance that we give our gadgets can perhaps be extended to single-use plastic items that lead to heaps of wastage every day. From straws to bottles, we can consciously change our habits in a way that impacts the environment positively. And these eco-habits begin by merely updating your ‘must-have’ list.
We have provided a cheat sheet for eight eco-friendly reusable products that you need to keep in your bag before you step out. Whether you’re going grocery shopping or having a casual afternoon with your friends, carry these items without fail.
1. A non-plastic bottle: Make it a habit to carry water along with you everywhere you go. As important as it is to stay hydrated, it is equally important to take nature into consideration while doing so. Carrying an eco-friendly, reusable bottle solves both purposes.
You no longer have to frantically look for bottled water when the heat gets you down and thus, save several plastic bottles from entering landfills.
2. Reusable bags: Carrying canvas or cotton bags on the go will restrict the use of dozens, if not hundreds, of plastic bags. On the off chance that you buy something nice even if you didn’t originally plan to, these eco-friendly bags will come in handy. Since they are light and foldable, they don’t even bring up the question of extra bulk!
3. Eco-friendly cutlery: Small stalls offer plastic cutlery at affordable rates. But each time you use them, you add to single-use plastic that damages the environment. Why not carry a steel spoon, fork and knife everywhere you go? They are not dispensable like plastic, and that evokes the concern of how they can be cleaned after being used. Washing them with tap water (if available) or the one you’re carrying in your bag is the easiest solution. You can place them safely in a cotton pouch to ensure that they stay clean before and after use.
You can purchase eco-friendly bottles at The Better India shop. Click here to find out more.
4. Steel/copper straw: While talking about cutlery, can straws be far behind? They seem small, but straws have caused a massive problem to the environment, especially harming marine life. You can restrict their use by avoiding them at all times or carry a reusable, eco-friendly straw.
I choose the latter, and although I agree that cleaning them after use is extra effort, I am willing to do it because, in a single day, I stop at least one straw from being trashed.
5. Eco-friendly sanitary napkins: Often, your friend or colleague asks you if you have an extra sanitary napkin she can use. And it’s a great idea to keep at least one biodegradable napkin handy in such cases. Whether you prefer pads, tampons or menstrual cups, keeping one eco-friendly napkin in your bag will not just help you in emergencies, but also someone else who might need your help.
6. A steel box: For all the times that you eat at a restaurant and have to carry your leftovers back, the steel box will be helpful. You can even go the extra mile and use the box in place of the plastic plates or bowls that are given at food stalls.
You can purchase reusable straws at The Better India shop. Click here to find out more.
7. Reusable mug: As is the case with steel boxes, you can use the mug in place of the plastic or paper glasses that your favourite tea stall or juice wala gives. It might be awkward to ask the vendor initially, but soon you will realise that this option is far more eco-friendly as well as hygienic!
8. Handkerchief: How many times do you wipe your mouth after a meal with a single-use tissue paper? The impact we create with our seemingly small habits has a huge impact in the long run. Why not go old-school and make sure you carry a clean handkerchief when you step out every day? This way you can reduce the amount of paper you use and stay clean at the same time!
Going zero waste may not be very easy for everyone. As is with most good habits, it requires practice.
Initially, you may feel like your work or the weight you carry in your bag has increased. But give it some time. Most things I’ve mentioned here do not weigh too much and can be carried easily in a small bag. Be patient with the extra washing and cleaning for a few days and before you know it, you will have made the eco-friendly living your second nature!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)