My kit to reduce single use plastic

I posted the image above on my Instagram account showing some of my plastic use alternatives and it seemed people were interested in the items. I will echo Jen Gale, sustainable living champion, in that you don’t need to buy fancy stuff to aim to be single use plastic free, as she says even reusing a single use water bottle after the original contents have been drunk is a good step forward. And every little bit helps. Refusing a straw every time you are offered one makes a big difference. If you want to try and reduce your plastic use I can recommend Jen’s The Essential Guide to a Plastic-Free(ish) Home.

So onto my kit! First is a reusable shopping bag. I have been using these for years even before there was a charge for bags. The one here comes from Lidl, my husband also has one in his work bag. We have a few more from Onya, they sell shopping bags, rucksacks and cross over body bags and all squish into a little pouch so you can easily pop then in your handbag or laptop bag.

Next silicon coffee cup lids (these are no longer available but these are similar). I know some cups from coffee shops have a plastic layer in them but on the days when I forget my keep cup or my son has a hot chocolate I can use these and not one of the disposal lids.

My water bottle is from Lidl, again, and is brilliant at keeping my water cold. Refillable bottles are everywhere and you are spoilt for choice. If you are in Copenhagen and need to refill your bottle here is a map with public water fountains in the city.

Then there are a couple of bathroom items, the cotton buds use card stem (I bought these in Normal) and the white fabric pads are for cleansing my face. Don’t judge but these are actually breast pads I bought whilst breastfeeding nine years ago, which I didn’t use as they were uncomfortable. I used them to cleanse my face and just pop them in with my usual laundry. Searching online for Washable Cleansing Pads should help you find some or you could make your own (Pinterest has tons of idea).

Sometimes using straws is unavoidable. Drinking a milkshake is a bit weird without one but I can manage an ice coffee without one. Funny story – I ordered an ice latte in a well-known coffee shop chain here and refused a straw. The barista looked baffled and asked how would I drink it! There is a plethora of options for reusable straws available online from silicon ones (these are similar to mine) such as mine or metal ones. If you are holding a party you could also ditch plastic and get paper straws from Søstrene Grene.

I often pick a salad for my lunch and unless you are in one of the few places offering bamboo cutlery then you are faced with the option of eating with your hands or taking a single use set. I bought a set of kids metal cutlery from Ikea very cheaply and bought this pouch from Etsy to keep them in (my son also has one for school lunch).

Lastly is my keep cup. Again you are spoilt for choice with these. I had been using a Bodum one but my husband bought me this really cute bamboo cup when we were in Berlin. It has a silicon sleeve for hot drinks. I have been using it when getting take out coffees and so far no coffee shop has refused (been in Emmery’s, Lagerkagehuset, Yum Cafe, Democratic Coffee where they were all more than happy to fill it).

So as you can see I’ve not spent a fortune on this stuff but it has meant that I have massively cut my use of single use plastic over the years.

On another note, although these coffee shops above are willing to fill a keep cup many of them, particularly Lagerkagehuset and Emmery’s could do a lot more to reduced their plastic use. Photo below from Lagerkagehuset, retailers need to lead the way with this so that consumers have more of a choice then simply buying something in a plastic cup (despite my best intentions this is something I do on occasion) or not having it at all.