29 February 2020

5 Eco Essentials for Beginners

If you haven't already, I recommend reading the previous post, Getting Started - A Post for Newbies. You might even save some money.

I have bought my share of environmentally-friendly products, so I feel as though I have a good understanding of what’s on the market. And, while I don’t consider any of these items to be a waste of money, I do wish I had been given a bit of direction when starting out. So here’s the guide I wish I had. The five items that have been the most beneficial to the start of my eco-journey:

1. A Quality Stainless Steel Drink Bottle
The one I have is a cheaper model, but it was a great place to start for me to know whether or not I’d like it enough to invest in a better quality one. Some of the colour has chipped off, but it does everything I need it to. It has a great seal which is easy to clean, it’s 500ml, and it’s insulated - cold water stays cold! Best of all, I’ve had it for close to a year which is way longer than any plastic drink bottle has lasted.

2. A Stainless Steel Lunch Box
Similarly to the drink bottle, it’s important for me to have durable lunchware, as I’m always on the go. Plastic lunchboxes were always hard to clean properly, left weird stains, didn’t seal properly or would break easily. This lunchbox is a toughie. Stainless steel hides scratches really well, which is great for a klutz like me! It’s the perfect size for a few snacks, and fits really well in a handbag (or basket). It’s a bento-style lunchbox, which means you don’t need additional containers to separate different foods. The one I bought has 3 compartments, but I believe you can also by two-compartment or one-compartment lunchboxes, of the same size. It was quite an investment at the time, I’d never spent that much on a lunchbox. But I’ve used it nearly every day since, and it’s been more than a year. It still looks great, and I have a feeling it might be the last lunchbox I ever buy. 

3. A Coffee Cup
Honestly, I bought this before I even knew much about waste! I bought it to be super boujee and drink coffee from a pretty pink cup. I also loved the convenience of a push button that opened and sealed the contents. Say goodbye to coffee spills on the morningly drive to work. The button does have a lot of parts, which seemed difficult to understand at the start. I only take it apart to fully clean, once a week. Even with the lid assembled, a quick clean with hot soapy water does the trick, during the week. I also love that you can buy replacement parts online. Another great feature is the integrated Visa PayWave chip that's inside the cup. Say goodbye to the awkward handing over the cup, while fumbling with your wallet to find your debit card, and dropping your keys and holding up the line. It's as easy as *beep* and done. Once I began to learn more about waste and our global impact, I was so glad that I invested in a quality coffee cup from the beginning.

4. Reusable Shopping Bags
I love my hessian grocery bags and cloth produce bags. They’ve simplified grocery, whole foods and farmers market shopping. I recommend a range of mesh and cloth bags as each has proved useful. The mesh produce bags are great for fruit and veg as you can easily identify these items at the checkout, without opening and re-closing each bag. I find the cloth bags are better for whole-foods shopping for all of your seeds, nuts, grains and breads, as the fabric holds finer items.

5. Glass Jars
Glass jars are so underrated. I use glass jars for everything, now. To store items in the pantry and fridge, to make  homemade yogurt, to make and store natural beauty products, to gift presents as a zero-waste alternative to traditional gift wrapping. The possibilities are endless. Whenever I venture to a farmer’s market or food festival, I always take a glass jar. You never know what kind of treat you might come across, and it’s always good to be prepared with an alternative to single-use packaging. My 1L glass jar has stored cookies, gingerbread men and chocolate fudge. And, it’s always so lovely when people say “what a great idea!”. Glass jars are so affordable, as well. Most of my glass jars are reused jars that once held jam, sauces or pickles. You can also pick these up for a few dollars at second-hand stores or at whole foods stores. 

Yours in all things sustainable,

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