Sustainability Basics: Eco-Friendly Handbag Essentials

This is the first in a series of blog posts where I will delve into sustainability basics. I want to share simple swaps we can all make in our daily lives to help support positive change for the planet. Swaps that aren’t intimidating and feel accessible for all.

First things first – eco-friendly handbag essentials. A great way to dip your toe into a more conscious lifestyle is by investing in some staple items which can help you make better choices every day. Below I have listed the five which I always carry with me:

1. A reusable water bottle. 

This is a no brainer! Did you know that it takes 6 times the amount of water contained in a plastic bottle to make the bottle itself? Imagine it is 1/4 full of oil, thats how much fossil fuel goes into making each one too. They’re inefficient and unnecessary, yet we still produce a million a second (yikes!); which is why carrying a reusable water bottle is essential. It helps fight the global plastic bottle problem and means you can refill from the tap wherever you go. And if you’re travelling abroad and can’t drink tap water? Check out the lifestraw bottle.

2. A reusable coffee cup. 

Globally we use 1 million disposable coffee cups a minute and of these only a small percentage are recycled. Due to the way they’re designed they are hard to recycle (as they’re often paper lined with plastic) and only a handful of facilities in the UK can separate these materials. Instead of contributing to this problem, invest in a reusable coffee cup. Most mainstream coffee shops now offer a significant discount if you bring your own cup, so there is no reason not to!

3. Reusable cutlery. 

We go through millions of pieces of single-use plastic cutlery every single day when we eat on the go. These knives, forks and spoons are used for mere minutes before being thrown in the trash and eventually ending up in landfill or worse, in nature. Carry around a spork or double-ended cutlery utensil which is crafted from bamboo (a sustainable material which doesn’t aggravate security scanners) which you can reuse over and over again.

4. Reusable tote bag. 

Plastic bags are made of a toxic mix of petroleum and gas. If they make it to the ocean they are often mistaken for jellyfish by turtles and therefore eaten by them, which leads to their death. We all know that plastic bags are the devil, yet we often still end up purchasing them when we’re in a pinch. You can avoid this by finding a good quality collapsible and reusable tote bag which you can keep in your handbag. Just pull it out when you go to the shops. 

5. Reusable straw. 

The #stopsucking movement has gained a lot of traction, and for good reason. Straws are small but mighty, reading havoc on nature. They are easily broken down into smaller pieces that can be eaten by wildlife such as birds; which clogs up their digestive system and starves them to death. Either enjoy your drink without a straw, or bring your own reusable one. I personally have one from The Last Straw which I keep on my keyring!

What areas of sustainability do you want me to discuss next?

Let me know on social media @zannavandijk.

Zanna xx