My handbag seems to act like a magnet for waste. Every couple of weeks I clean out a baffling amount of scraps and flyers, receipts, water bottles and plastic cutlery, tissues, free hand wipes and all sorts of other unidentified trash.
But now I’m making a change. I’m going waste-free for the next few weeks. Join me on my journey to find the ideal zero-waste handbag. Here’s what you might need – just don’t buy anything you won’t use regularly.
A cup to keep
Having something to put your coffee or water in immediately cuts down on one of the largest forms of on-the-go waste. We throw away a million water bottles a minute. Help solve this crazy stat buy getting one to last you a lifetime.
Cull the cling-film
Pack your own lunch to avoid the temptation of on-the-go food which always comes in single use plastic packaging. If you’re lucky enough to have good delis or food stalls around you, bring your box for them to fill up. But what to eat it with…?
A bright spork
Never pick up plastic cutlery again. This totally titanium spork will last longer than you will. It’s an heirloom… Once you’re done with it you can give it to your favourite grandchild to treasure.
Unless you have a heavy cold, handkerchiefs can deal with everyday spills and sniffs. Put your used hankies in a waterproof lined pouch, then both it and any dirty hankies can go straight in the washing machine.
One pen to rule them all
Avoid broken-biro syndrome: crusty pens building up at the bottom of your bag, staining the leather lining. Pick a pen that lasts a lifetime. Attach it to your bag with a loop of ribbon.
It’s easy to be caught out and have to pick up or pay for a plastic bag unless you have a handy one with you. I recommend one that folds down small. ChicoBags fold down super small and can hold a heavy load of shopping. Plus the guy who makes them runs around dressed as a bag monster to try and end plastic bag pollution… What’s not to love?!
No more ex-files
Avoid scummy emory boards in the bottom of your bag by investing in a built-to-last crystal nail file. This Classylady model leaves a really excellent finish, and the item even looks the part on its own.
An old flame
No more matches and cheepo plastic lighters. A timeless Zippo, with an impressive lifetime guarantee. Obviously this won’t be for everyone, but just in case you’re in need.
1. Get organized
Half the clutter comes from not knowing where things are supposed to be. For a zero-waste handbag, I need a little help. Get an internal organiser or pouch and delegate pockets for pills, cards, make-up etc, so you always know where everything is. A bag organiser also means that you can transfer your stuff from bag to bag with ease.
2. Refuse all freebies
The world is awash with cheap free pens, pads, keyrings and lighters. Get into the habit of saying no to all of these. It may seem odd saying no to free stuff, but more often than not these things end up unused and just add clutter and stress than any real value.
3. Digitize your info
If you see a flier for something, instead of picking it up, take a photo on your phone. Then you won’t have it crumpled in the bottom of your bag three weeks later. You could also try digitizing your receipts using apps like Xero.