7 essentials for your out and about zero waste kit

5 minute guide

In Britain we get through 7 million coffee cups a day, millions of plastic bottles, countless bits of plastic, from stirrers and straws to takeaway forks - we are constantly consuming and disposing bits of plastic without a thought.

If like us, you’ve started to realise the environmental impact of this churn of disposables (and our role in it)  and want to make a quick, impactful difference, it’s time to cut out the daily throwaways. And it’s easier than you think. All you need is to get organised and keep a few essentials with you when you go out. It’s time to move away from plastic, people.

Georgina Wilson-Powell 28 December 2017


7 things to include in your zero waste kit

  • Reusable coffee cup
  • Plastic free lunchbox
  • Reusable cutlery
  • Foldable chopsticks
  • Stainless steel water bottle
  • Reusable straw
  • Foldable tote bag
Zerowastekit Collage

Coffee cups

No one’s asking you to give up the morning latte, but stop using disposable cups which can each take 30 years to decompose after you’ve used them for a few minutes.

So you’ll need a reusable coffee cup. Now that chains like Pret and Eat have introduced cheaper coffees for reusable cup holders, there’s even more reason to pack your own mug. KeepCup have brilliantly robust glass cups wrapped with cork to stop your fingers from burning.

Non-plastic lunch box

Ditch the daily run for a plastic box full of day old salad and start taking in your own lunch - it’s not only better for the environment but cheaper (and healthier if you’re trying to watch what you eat). Pick a compostable one or one made from stainless steel, like this one, so you’re not swapping one form of plastic for another.

Reusable cutlery

To go with your smart new lunch box you’ll need reusable cutlery. No more cheap plastic forks that break on the first bite or bendy white knives that don’t actually do anything. These take years to break down once you’ve thrown them in the bin and they’re not necessary. Either choose disposable wooden ones or invest in a cool reusable set like this one, and you’ll never be caught trying to eat a yoghurt with a fork again.

Bamboo Cutlery

This is our editor's set of now much loved bamboo cutlery

Foldable chopsticks

Along the same lines, why not pack your own chopsticks? While wooden chopsticks are better than plastic, they still have to be made, transported, stored and end up in the bin after you’ve scoffed your pad thai. This foldable setmake an awesome addition to your bag’s zero waste kit.

Water bottle

With the UK government considering putting in more public local water fountains, the move to reusable water bottles continues. Refill (the app that shows you where restaurants and cafes will refill your bottle for free) has rolled out across Bristol, London and Brighton.

Don’t be part of the insane plastic bottle problem - globally we go through a billion a day, all because we’ve got disorganised. A stainless steel one will last longer than plastic and is BPA free - this one has a bamboo lid and is perfect for being out and about or in a gym class.


200 years is how long it takes for each plastic straw takes to break down. Weatherspoons has banned them, whole villages and cities all over the world have banned them and they’re fast becoming a symbol of what’s been going wrong with our disposable lifestyle. If you’re non plussed, ditch them all together. If you’re a straw fan, swap to metal ones. These metal straws come in a range of sizes for all glasses.

Click here for more ecofriendly straw ideas.

Tote bag

The massive reduction in plastic bags has been a rare success story in our battle with single use plastic. More and more of us pack cotton or reusable bags when we go out without even thinking. And that’s where we’d like to get with all of the above items. If you’re short of foldable bags to sit in your handbag (always useful when you decide it’s wine and pizza night on the way home), this one comes with a little drawstring bag.

Want to do more? Here's how you get rid of single use plastic in your bathroom.

Or even more? Get our 21 easy ways to go zero waste e-book! Click here to download.

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