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Waste-free living: 3 ways to get started

Going waste-free may seem like a daunting task. But starting small, like with waste-free lunches, can make the transition much easier!

Step 1: Savvy shopping

Waste-free lunches start at an unexpected place – the grocery store! Look for foods that are fresh and have minimal plastic packaging.

Adding in fruits and veggies instead of foods with extensive packaging is a great way to start going waste-free. It’s also a great way to keep lunches healthier: Even though packaged foods often have a longer shelf-life, they can be filled with more preservatives and sugary ingredients.

If you find that a product you need has extensive packaging, try purchasing that item in bulk! Less plastic is used in larger quantities of food than if you were to buy the same thing in a smaller quantity.

Bringing your own bags is another simple way to reduce waste when you shop. Make sure to tell your cashier that you’ll be using your own bags before he or she starts scanning. Our Essential Storage Totes are super-durable for carrying your non-perishable items, while the Fresh Market Thermal is large enough to keep all of your perishable items cold on the ride home.

After unloading all the groceries, set the totes by the door or return them to your car so you don’t forget them next time. Because the most difficult part about shopping with no waste is often remembering to actually bring the bags with you on your next trip!

Step 2: Packin and Snackin

Now it’s time to pack your lunch with all those yummy things you bought at the grocery!

Another great way to reduce waste in your household is to pack lunches using all reusable, zero-waste vessels and utensils. Trade out the brown paper bags for a more permanent option, such as an insulated lunch bag. Our classic Thermal Tote or Crossbody Thermal Tote are great options for keeping lunches cold or warm, and they can be wiped out and used over and over again.

The front pocket is the perfect size for silverware and a napkin. Switch out plastic cutlery for an eco-friendlier option, like disposable wooden cutlery or even silverware from your own kitchen! Add a cloth napkin in place of a paper one that can be returned and washed at the end of the day. Add a glass or stainless-steel water bottle that can be refilled throughout the day in a handy Bring-A-Bottle Thermal. These zero-waste options are not only great for the environment – it’s also a lot cheaper to reuse than continue to buy new!

Step 3: Putting it all together

The final piece to building a waste-free lunch is switching out plastic baggies for a food safe and reusable option. Our adorable – and better yet, food-safe – Cool Zip Snackers help eliminate baggies for good! These reusable thermal pouches are perfect for holding snacks to munch on throughout the day, like baby carrots or crackers, as well as for holding sides for your lunch, like roasted almonds or a bunch of grapes. And kids love their cute designs and easy-zip tops for toting their healthy cheese sticks, apple slices, pretzel sticks and more!

While there may be other aspects of your life that aren’t waste-free just yet, your lunch is a great place to start. Want even more ideas on how to switch out plastic for permanent? Check out all of our stylish and sturdy totes and insulated thermals of all sizes to expand your waste-free living!