When I first started trying to be more eco-friendly and was pretty much addicted to ethical lifestyle blogs, I felt like I would need a suitcase with me every day. Avoiding plastic seemed like it would take a hell of a lot of planning and would mean investing in a tonne of reusable products: stainless steel straws, 50 different types of mason jar and anything made of bamboo. It was all a bit overwhelming, to be honest.
These days, packing my reusable goodies is second nature. I stopped trying to emulate everyone online and learnt what I actually need daily. So, now I can squeeze all of my eco essentials into my tiny little backpack. It turns out that I don’t need bamboo cutlery because I’m a student who is far too much of a tight-arse to buy takeaway on a regular basis. Who knew?
To encourage you to begin your eco journey, even when it does seem overwhelming, and to remind you that your version of ‘ethical’ might look very different to someone else’s, I thought I would share with you what’s in my every day backpack. Yay for saving the planet, one outing at a time!
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A tote bag
Ah, the classic tote bag. Now this is something that I think most of us feel like is an essential. It means that when I pop into the shop on a whim I don’t have to worry about wasting plastic bags (or spending 5p on one). Instead I get to represent my university’s eco-friendly food initiative, Growhampton!
Produce bags (here are the ones I use)
If I’m going into a shop, then I’ll probably need produce bags on top of my tote. I always try to get loose produce instead of fruits and veggies that are wrapped up in all of that unnecessary plastic. Going to the till with these makes me feel like an eco goddess!
My menstrual cup (I use the Mooncup)
Of course, I wouldn’t want to be caught without my mooncup. This silicone beauty has been in my life for a couple of years now and that won’t be changing any time soon. I mainly use it because it’s so much more convenient and comfortable for me to use, but it also drastically reduces sanitary product waste.
A TOTM pad
Just in case I’m caught in a pickle (not all public bathrooms are menstrual cup friendly, people!) I carry a TOTM sanitary towel with me. Unlike other brands, they’re made with organic cotton which makes them biodegradable and better for your body. I also chuck in a Fab Little Bag, which are biodegradable bags to put used sanitary products in when you throw them away.
Bino Bottle (I got mine at T K Maxx)
This is a recent addition to my eco-living arsenal, as I had to replace a stainless steel bottle that I’d dropped so many times it wouldn’t stand up any more! As it turns out, the Bino Bottle is much more practical. It’s made of glass with a protective case that means it won’t get damaged as easily and is a lot more stout, even though it holds the same amount of water. It fits perfectly in my backpack.
Sometimes, a reusable coffee cup
I don’t go for take away coffee all that often (as I said, I’m far too much of a tight arse) but I do enjoy a soy chai latte in my lectures. For these times, I make sure to pack a reusable coffee cup, like this one from Paper Chase. It does fit in my bag when empty, but I usually carry it anyway because it’s so damn cute.
An eco-friendly snack
Listen, nobody’s perfect but this is one that I’m working on. I’m slowly trying to eliminate palm oil and reduce my intake of animal products, as well as my use of unnecessary packaging. Usually this means packing my own snack at home and then wrapping it in my Bees Wax Wrap.
Lip treatments by Lush and Mallow and White
I cannot live without lip balm. The Lush lip scrubs and this teeny sample of the Mallow and White blossom balm (no longer available) are a match made in heaven and each come in glass containers. Oh, and they’re cruelty-free and natural!