Now you’ve kitted out your home with the latest eco-gadgets, it’s time to prepare yourself for stepping out the front door and staying eco-friendly (when that sort of past time is allowed again). Current lockdown restrictions might lead you to believe that our on-the-go waste is practically zero. Sadly, this is not the case. Most of our waste that is created when out and about comes from takeaway food. While we’re so happy that small businesses can continue to work, it does leave the door open for unsustainable habits to creep in.
Think about it, when you buy a takeaway, what will you receive with it? Some single-use wooden cutleries, a plastic food tub, bottled drinks, coffee cups, sandwich boxes. Most of our waste when we’re out and about comes from the takeaway services that are still operating. So, this week we want you to consider some eco-swaps on the go. We’re going to show you how you can implement them during lockdown.
There are so many different types of lunch boxes, coffee mugs and bottles. So, we’ve popped them all under one umbrella of ‘containers’, because they are all used to transport food and drink in one way or another. When you go into a takeaway, the same way you bring your reusable coffee mug into your favourite coffee shop, bring your containers! While this may not be possible during the pandemic due to contamination issues, it’s perfect for your sustainable future – so keep it in mind.
When you go into your local takeaway, simply ask if it’s possible for them to use your reusable container instead of their own. Most of the time, businesses will have no issues doing this. At the end of the day, they save money by not boxing up your food.
Even if you’re not taking food away, containers are still essential items for eco-swaps on the go. Every day you head out for work, use your container. Ditch the foil or cling film wrap you use to protect your sandwich and pop it in your box! Here are just some ideas for how you can use your reusable containers on the go:
- Flask for your coffee or tea
- Bottle to keep your ice water cold
- Container for your soup (with spoon)
- Eco-lunchbox with multiple storage compartments for lunches/dinners
- cutlery set for all your food
- Beeswax wrap to replace your clingfilm/tin foil
- Silicone Ziplock bags to keep fruit/veg items fresh
Eco-swaps on the go: bags
Now that we’ve covered all things food, from takeaway to packed lunches and dinners, you’re covered for the most part of being on-the-go. But we all know that as much as we plan our day, things can take an unsurprising turn. We may say we’re heading home straight after work. But how many of us have stopped off at the shops on our way home – you know, for a window browse.
Although retail shops are currently closed, many of us are still going into supermarkets to buy as many books and puzzles as possible to relieve our lockdown boredom! Which is why your next essential eco-swap on the go must be made for carrying items you didn’t expect to pick up on your essential journey.
Your everyday bag is often small, so that you’re not carrying around anything unnecessary. We understand that. Although people who leave the house with nothing but a phone and wallet in their pockets will forever remain a mystery. But there is one very simple eco-swap that you can add to your bag, or pocket, even wallet (depending on its size) and make a big difference.
Those bags for life in the supermarkets aren’t quite living up to their ‘for life’ status. Millions of people buy a new one every time they visit the supermarket. The plastic problem is becoming more of an issue with these bags. So, we’re now urging everyone to stop using them and grab yourself true bags ‘for life’.
Here are just a few reusable bags you can use for your eco-swap on the go:
- Produce bags for your fruit and veg
- Short handle turtle shell bags for lighter shops
- Long handle turtle shell bag for carrying on the shoulder
- canvas bags for big shops
- Insulated bags for carrying frozen and chilled food long distances
Avoiding on-the-go waste: refillable stores
Sometimes, as much as we prepare to create little waste on the go, it can be difficult to avoid. For example, buying pasta in a local supermarket means buying plastic packaging. While some of the plastic can be recycled, you’re better off avoiding it all together. Remember the waste hierarchy:
So, it’s time to refuse packaging that you don’t need by using refillable shops in your local area. Just like you’ve done the research on the eco-swaps in your home, we want you to find your local refillable shop. It might be in a supermarket like Asda, or Loop’s partnership with Tesco, but more often than not; it will be a small local business sitting on your high street. Just type ‘refillable stores near me’ into Google and you’ll have a bunch of great options!
Implement these changes into your life, and every time you leave the house you’ll be prepared to reduce your waste. While we know that it’s not always possible to create zero-waste when you’re out and about, taking the time to think ahead and put preventative measures in place can help. When the world returns to normal and you can go to the cinema, ask for your fountain drink in a reusable cup and ask for your popcorn to be put into your own tub. Small changes can make a big difference and refusing items that create waste in the first instance is a great start.
Do you have any more ideas on how you can create less waste when you’re out and about? Are there eco-swaps in your life that we haven’t included? Share your ideas in the comment section below so we can all work together!