Updated: Nov 8
As the current world situation continues to give back our freedom so we are out and about more and more. We no longer have to shop online and we also no longer have to rely on Netflix for our entertainment. We can visit restaurants again, go to amusement parks and just go outside for whatever reason we want but we want to do that as eco-friendly as possible so here is a list of items I always bring with me when I leave the house.
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A reusable bag is the first thing I throw in my bag when I pack my bag to leave.
Did you know that we use about a trillion plastic bags… per year! That’s over 30,000 disposable plastic bags a second! And about 125 bags per year for every single person on the planet and, as there are about 8 billion of us but we can do better than that.
This number is truly astonishing as I haven’t gotten a plastic bag in years as I luckily live somewhere where plastic bags are banned. I no longer have to decline a plastic bag after purchases. But when you consider that most of us (eco-warriors) don’t even use plastic bags as we know better, there are lots of people out there who use hundreds of plastic bags per year. Let's lower this average please and just always take a reusable bag with you, just in case. It weighs nothing and you are always prepared for those unexpected shopping trips.
Next to a reusable bag, I also always have a smaller produce bag with me when I leave the house. Obviously, this is convenient for those surprise grocery trips but more often these bags are used for chestnuts or acorns my daughter finds while walking to school. Either way, it is useful to carry a smaller bag with you as well because you just never know where you end up when you leave the house. Especially when you have kids.
This bag is also sometimes used to collect trash I find along the way when I am walking to my daughter to school or walk to the grocery store. Obviously, I don’t use it for fruits and veggies when I just collected random trash in it. In that case, I need to put it in the laundry first.
A few cloth napkins are always in my bag as these are a must when you have kids. They are not only useful for runny noses or dirty hands but mine are most often used to clean slides in our local playgrounds. They are also very convenient when you go out for ice cream with kids as my daughters' favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate. This type of ice cream is almost black (and dairy-free) and can create an incredible mess if I don’t wipe everything up fast. The paper napkins they provide I obviously want to avoid as they are disposable and also don’t work well with these types of messes.
Waterbottle or insulated mug
This goes without saying as this way you can avoid purchasing another plastic bottle.
I am not a coffee drinker but if you like a coffee on the road and you would like to keep it warm, go for an insulated coffee mug.
Disposable plastic straws, the source of all evil… Ok, it is not that bad and I know to some they are irreplaceable for people with a disability but for most of us, they are not necessary or easily replaced.
Did you know that half a billion plastic straws are used and discarded every day and not only animals living in the sea are choking on plastic we humans are discarding? Also, animals on land suffer from our plastic garbage. From camels in the middle east to cattle in India, all are eating our plastic waste because they mistook it for food. So the least you can do is decline that straw or bring your own.
I have a daughter that is very active and does not have the patience to quietly sit down and drink from a cup so when we go out I make sure I have a reusable straw with me so she can properly drink and then go play again.
I have a spork in my wallet just in case. I don’t use it often but I would feel awful if I have to use a piece of single-use plastic utensil just because I forgot mine. It weighs nothing and hardly takes up space so it is easy to just take with me. Mine is plastic but I have had it for ages. I think at least 10 years and I will continue to use it until it is no longer usable and then I would opt to go for a foldable stainless steel one.
When I know I will be out of the house for a good part of the day, I always make sure I at least bring a snack with me to avoid impulse buys of snacks that are individually packed in plastic. My favorite snacks at the moment to bring with me are dark chocolate-covered peanuts. As they satisfy my sweet tooth but also contain some protein. But I also sometimes bring fruits or vegetables with me.
If I need to bring lunch I use a reusable sandwich bag. I don’t have a lunchbox as I prefer a bag because it can be packed much smaller once it is empty compared to a lunch box. In the Netherlands, we eat a lot of bread. Some of us twice a day. I only once a day, usually my lunch. So I make a few sandwiches that I can bring with me when I leave the house for a longer time.
I hope these items give you some inspiration for what to bring along the road.