Staying zero waste when you're out and about is probably the most challenging part of living a waste-free lifestyle. Many people and companies do not realise the impact on our environment.
Buy Local and Buy Loose
Try and buy your fruit and vegetables loose. Supermarkets do cater this to a small extent, but independent stores and farmer’s markets are your best bets for loose produce. Do a bit of investigating and you will be surprised what you can find. Buy seasonal produce to reduce costs, and avoid using plastic produce bags – use brown paper bags which are often provided or bring your own.
Buy in Bulk
Bulk stores are popping up around the country where you can buy nuts, grains, pasta, dried fruit, cereal and loose-leaf tea without packaging. You can bring your own bags and containers to fill up. You can even refill your beer and wine at some places. Sometimes this requires you to buy a growler and refill it at the store, but it definitely reduces packaging.
Always try to refuse straws: they wreak havoc on the environment, animals often ingest them and they litter our beaches. Invest in silicon or stainless steel straws. Most come with a handy straw cleaning brush too!
Bring a reusable coffee cup for hot drinks and avoid takeaway coffee cups. Although technically recyclable, there are very few centres that actually process them so they generally end up in landfill. Larger chains may recycle them if you take them back to the store, but it is best to use your own and you normally get a discount for doing so.
Disposable water bottles have a massive environmental impact. It’s easy to bring your own. Just ask businesses to fill it for you; most of the time they will.
Finally, say no to the plastic bag! Always carry a reusable bag with you so you are never stuck without one.
Once you are used to bringing your reusable bags, cutlery and water bottles with you, it will soon become habit and you won’t even think about it anymore.