How to make a low waste shopping kit

Mar 9, 2020 | by Hawnuh Lee

low waste shopping kit

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It’s inevitable, you’re on your way home and realize you need to stop by the grocery store and you didn’t bring a single bag or container. But let’s be real, this happens more frequently than we care to admit. Grocery shopping has to happen y’all! I get it. Especially with the frequency I hit up our local New Seasons. Creating a low waste (and sometimes zero waste) shopping kit has been an incredibly helpful solution to mitigate excess packaging and waste. You don’t need all of those flimsy plastic produce bags to hold your apples and you can say, no thank you, to that extra bag at the checkout line, because you’re prepared friend! And I am proud of you. Having your low waste / zero waste kit on your person will come in handy more often than you think.

The most important thing about your shopping kit is actually remembering it. Making sure you place it somewhere you will actually see it before you leave the door makes it easy for you to grab and go. Alternatively, you can keep your low waste kit in your daily commuter / travel bag or in your car, easily accessible. Set yourself up for success pal.

One of my favorite #lowwaste shopping tricks is super simple–just stuff things into other things and keep it on your person. A small glass jar usually fits several other bags that prepare me for a mindful trip to the grocery store. Shout out to the well worn tote I’ve had for 10 years, a sturdy mesh produce bag, and a plastic produce bag I’ve reused more times than I care to share. If an unexpected trip to get groceries pops up you can always be prepared! The glass jar also comes in handy if you’re out getting coffee and forget your travel mug or have leftovers from a quick bite to eat. I usually keep some variation of this mini travel kit in my bag or backpack and it comes in handy almost everyday.

What to pack in your low waste shopping kit:

  • A sturdy glass jar that will fit in your bag or a medium sized container you don’t mind carrying around (with a tight fitting lid)
  • A tote (ideally without major holes) that you can fit into your glass jar or use to carry other bags / container
  • Produce bags, usually 1 or 2 depending on how many you can fit into your travel container
  • As always use what you have on hand first!

It’s that simple! You don’t need fancy equipment or expensive materials to shop low waste. Just a few things you probably have at home already.

How to remember your low waste shopping kit:

  • Keep your kit compact and let it live in your travel bag. Always replace it as soon as you empty out your shopping.
  • Place your kit with or close to your keys so you see it when you leave the house.
  • Have a kit ready to go in your car so you don’t have to think about it.
  • Add it to your PKW chant when you leave – Phone, Keys, Kit, Wallet. It works!

Our latest piece from Moji Igun on sustainable habit formation really resonates. If collectively we want to make change, to reduce the amount of to-go containers, flimsy plastic bags, and single use items in the landfill we have to be mindful about how that change takes place. We have to intentionally implement small habit shifts that add up over time. Moji sums it up so well, “We simply want to adopt habits at a pace that won’t be overwhelming to the point of inaction. When we are able to consistently see ourselves have small wins, it transforms the new habit into a behavior we no longer have to actively think about.” YES. Adopting an entirely zero waste lifestyle change cold tofurkey is not sustainable for most people.

So, small steps. Packing a mini travel kit in your bag everyday is an impactful habit shift that will influence other actions. This is an achievable intention that will help you navigate the overwhelm of trying to live a completely zero waste life. Low impact intentions, y’all. We know this is an imperfect practice and giving yourself the kindness to make mistakes and correct is how things stick. One travel tote bag at a time.

What’s in your low waste travel kit?? #closedloopcooking

Stay hungry,
Hawnuh Lee
Closed Loop Cooking

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