It’s that shopping time of year!

It’s pretty safe to say that the majority of us will end up at a shopping complex at some point of December. Some will be gleefully skipping down the isles doing the big present shop while others will be trying hard to find a table to sit and wait at while silently protesting the Christmas Shopping experience. Whatever side of the love/hate scale you sit on, adopting just one of these waste reduction tips should help you bring a little bit of eco to your christmas shopping experience.


The BYO waste reduction kit.

Christmas shopping is hard work, even if you aren’t actually buying anything. There are car parks to be found, crowded trains to board, and escalators with more people than stairs. There are also the grinches. The grinch emerges from the most lovely of people and can often comes as a complete surprise. The grinch steals your car park, elbows you in the crowds, and takes the last box of christmas cherries from the supermarket shelf right from under your hands. It can be easy to get mad at the grinch but it’s best to remember that they too are a nice person just like you- it’s just that they had allowed themselves to catch a case of the grinch from someone or something else! You can prevent yourself from catching a case of the grinch by making time for breaks in your Christmas shopping day and these breaks often come with some kind of take-away food choices. Being the eco-savvy folks that you are you will likely already know the importance of a BYO waste reduction kit, but the photo above should help clear any christmas brain fuzzies away. Your eco kit can include:

  • A reusable water bottle: For keeping hydrated on the go without needing to buy bottled water. Glass is my favourite reusable bottle choice and it’s good to look for additional benefits (like a charity donation) when purchasing your bottle.
  • A reusable coffee cup: To avoid contributing to the 1 billion disposable coffee cups added to landfill EACH YEAR here in Australia.
  • A knife and fork: Pack some from your kitchen drawer if you don’t have folding or camp varieties.
  • A reusable napkin: If you don’t have a designated one you can always use a handkerchief for this. No hanky? Raid grandpas stash… he will have a new one hidden in there somewhere. These are useful for cleaning hands and faces and can also be used to dry stainless steel or bamboo straws and knives and forks.
  • Spoon and Chopsticks: If you know you are likely to end up somewhere where you will need these feel free to pack some from the kitchen or invest in a cute little set
  • Reusable bags: If you are planning to do a big shop and tend to do so regularly get yourself some serious shopping bags (these trolley bags would do the trick), otherwise a collection of reusable bags that can easily be carried in one another with one hand, or packed into your handbag will do the trick. My bag at the top is from Boomerang Bags.
  • A straw and a smoothie cup: A reusable straw is the easiest way to cut your rubbish and they are a great conversation starter. If you don’t want to carry your own smoothie cup (totally get it, they can be quite awkward) then choose to have a smoothie ‘eat-in’ at a cafe in a glass or mason jar but remember to tell them to hold the straw! Around 50% of the time your request for no straw won’t work, so don’t feel too awful if you still get one as many busy cafe staff are operating on auto pilot.
  • Small bags: These are great for on-the-go grocery shopping or if you have a collection of little goodies (like loose pens or christmas decorations) that you don’t want to get lost in a big bag. My mesh set (one shown at top) were gifted to me six years ago and are still going strong.
  • Folding travel cup: These are ideal when you find yourself somewhere that offers ‘free samples’ of something. It gets a little frustrating when you find yourself at a delicious tea shop with sample teas that can only be samples with throw-away plastic cups. Ask if you can taste from your stainless steel travel cup instead!
  • Containers, plates, or bowls: If you intend on eating from a takeaway place bring along a simmilar sized container (or just keep the container from your last visit) depending on their health and safety policy most places will use your BYO container if you smile nicely. They will likely be very confused about this request but it’s another good conversation starter.

While it might seem that your efforts are a small drop in the ocean of single use items that move through a typical food court on any given day you can feel good about your decision to BYO. The best part is that your decision to bring your own waste reduction goodies will often result in a conversation about single use items. Who knows… that convo might just inspire another person to invest in a stainless steel straw or bing their own coffee cup!

What is your BYO must have? Is there something you would add to the list above? Perhaps you HATE bringing your own? Share your thoughts below.

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