10 Sustainable And Eco-Friendly Must-Have Items For Your Purse!
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Are you looking to extend your zero-waste lifestyle beyond your home? Would you like to make your travel and outings more sustainable and eco-friendly? Well, it’s actually quite easy—especially if you have a handbag! And in this article, I’m going to show you all of the best zero-waste items that you can keep in your handbag, and utilize on your outings while reducing your carbon footprint.
Keep in mind that you do not need all of the items that I’m going to recommend. They are simply what is inside of my zero-waste purse. I personally love really large purses because I have kids and I need to store some items for them as well from time to time—so having a big shoulder bag is really handy for me. And for that reason I enjoy bags that are made of a linen/cotton blend because they stretch and are perfect for outings like the beach and road trips. The crochet bag in the video below is actually mine and I have had that bag for over 10 years. It’s a crochet cotton/linen blend and I can easily throw it in the wash to clean it up from time to time. It’s just simply a perfect zero-waste handbag to own.
However, there are times when I prefer to be more of a minimalist and choose a smaller purse with less items—like when I’m shopping alone or doing a lot of walking. But, no matter how I choose to accessorize, I always have to have two main zero-waste items with me at all times: a reusable water bottle and reusable straw. I live in Florida where the heat is insane during the summer months, so those are two must-have items.
I hope the zero-waste items below inspire you to create your own zero-waste handbag kit! I myself am always looking for new products to add that can help me become more sustainable outside of my home.
Zero Waste Handbag Essentials
- Reusable Water Bottle
I have several reusable water bottles that I use depending on where I go and what I am doing. I have one that specifically fits my jogging stroller, a large one for the gym, and a pretty teal one by Hydrapeak that I take with me when I am running errands—that’s the one that’s constantly in my purse. It’s made of stainless steel and it’s insulated, so it does a great job of keeping my water cold—especially during the hot summer months. So when choosing a reusable water bottle for your hand bag, go for anything that’s zero-waste like stainless steel, titanium, copper, silicone or glass.
2. REUSABLE COLLAPSIBLE COFFEE CUP
If you’re a coffee lover like me, then you probably own a reusable tumbler, and use it on your commutes (most likely in the mornings). And again, if you’re like me, you probably accidentally leave it in your cup holder where the remaining remnants spoil over night. We’ve all been there. That’s why I love these new collapsible silicone coffee mugs that have recently become popular. Once you’re done drinking out of it, you can squash it and throw it into your handbag right away so you don’t forget about it. Some even come with reusable straws, and are much more convenient for park outings or camping trips than bulky tumblers.
3. Reusable Straw
I added a reusable straw to my zero-waste handbag kit about two years ago. In fact, switching to reusable straws was my very first step to a greener lifestyle, and it progressed from there. I remember that video of a helpless sea turtle with a plastic straw in his nose and that was it for me.
With that said I tried a lot of reusable straws (stainless steel, silicone, glass and bamboo), and each one has a unique aftertaste—and I prefer to drink out of stainless steel straws with silicone tips (because accidentally hitting your front teeth with a metal straw hurts A LOT). If you’re not sure what kind of straw is best for you, check out my article on the best reusable straws of 2021. Having these in your handbag allows you to avoid plastic straws whenever you eat out and it’s certainly a great feeling to know that you didn’t contribute any single-use plastic to the landfill.
4. Reusable Travel Utensils
Yes, I carry around reusable cutlery in my handbag for two very important reasons. The first and obvious one is that if I am eating out or traveling, I don’t have to rely on plastic utensils which are sometimes wrapped in even more plastic. The second reason is germs. I don’t care how sanitized restaurant utensils are—I refuse to put something in my mouth that thousands of other people have put into their mouth. It’s just not happening.
So because of these reasons, I purchased a stainless steel travel utensil kit. And depending on your preference, you can buy one as well—they have kits made of stainless steel, bamboo, wheatgrass, rice husks and titanium. You can check out my article on best travel utensils if you’re interested in adding this to your zero-waste handbag!
5. REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS
In order to be an eco-conscious and mindful shopper, I use reusable shopping bags. This helps me avoid the need to use plastic bags, and reusable bags are more durable (plus you can fit more items inside). A lot of people like the idea of using reusable shopping bags, but most (especially men) don’t actually put this idea to use. That’s because they think that reusable bags are too “bulky”, but what they don’t realize is that many reusable bags come in foldable compact designs that can fit into your back pocket, and then unfold into large capacity bags that can hold up to 40-50 pounds. I use LuckyTreyvon bags (pictured below) and they are incredibly, incredibly awesome! Not to mention have the cutest designs. I got these in a pack of 6 and they easily fit in my handbag.
6. Reusable Tissues
One of the newest additions to my zero waste handbag is a reusable tissue kit. I was given a LastTissue kit for Christmas last year and it’s the coolest and cutest product ever. It consists of 6 organic cotton tissues that are housed in a dishwasher safe silicone container. The tissues can be re-washed up to over 400 times and they’re completely non-toxic. They feel a little stiff at first, but after a few washes, they soften up. It’s a great way to save trees and money. You can also purchase cloth handkerchiefs and store them in a small coin purse or used mint tin.
7. ZERO WASTE DEODORANT BAR
One of my ‘must-have’ hygiene items is a spare block of zero waste, natural deodorant. If you’re like me and use natural deodorant, you know that a major side effect of switching from traditional deodorant is sweat and body odor—so having a travel size deodorant in your handbag is very useful. Many people carry around disposable deodorant wipes, but those (even if they are labeled biodegradable) are not zero waste. They may be eco-friendly because they eventually breakdown, but they’re not zero waste—and that’s our goal for this zero-waste handbag kit.
8. WOODEN SUNGLASSES
Polarized sunglasses are a must-have item—especially for driving. I have a pair in my purse at all times, and one extra pair in my glove compartment. And lately I’ve been really liking wooden [bamboo] sunglass frames. I don’t know about you, but in the past I’ve gone through a bunch of sunglasses because I’d either break them or lose them—they’re like socks, they just disappear. And they were all cheap plastic. That’s why wooden sunglasses are so much better to own—especially sustainable ones made from bamboo. If you loose them or they happen to break, just compost the frames!
9. REUSABLE PERIOD PADS
We’ve all been there—running errands or at work and Mother Nature decides to crash the party earlier than expected. And of course we realize that we forgot to pack some period protection. Well, if you haven’t given reusable period pads a try yet, you really should consider it! When it comes to landfill waste, menstrual products as just as bad as baby diapers and single-use plastic water bottles that never biodegrade.
And the majority of reusable period pads contain charcoal bamboo layers which absorb twice as much as traditional menstrual pads—without the harsh and toxic ingredients. And if you’d like to know more about zero-waste period products check out my article on best zero-waste period starter kits! These reusable period pads are so great to have in your handbag and they come with a super cute storage pouch.
10. REUSABLE MINI BENTO BOX
There are times when I am eating out and don’t quite finish my meal—and the same goes with my kids. And in those situations, we used to take our food home in styrofoam to-go boxes provided free of charge by the restaurant. And now I realize just how unnecessary and wasteful it was to use those single-use containers. So when bento boxes started becoming popular a couple of years ago, the idea of using one as a to-go box really appealed to me. And the good news is that bento boxes come in all kinds of sizes, so you can get a very small one that fits right in your handbag and is incredibly light weight. They also make perfect on-the go snack containers for you or your kids (and they contain dividers which is awesome!).
Do you have any of these items in your handbag? What zero-waste items would you add?
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