8 Eco-Friendly Things You Should Always Have in Your Bag

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Pete Bellis/Unsplash)

When you’re on the go all the time, it’s easy to be overly (almost accidentally) wasteful. Not-so-eco-friendly disposables—think plastic bottles of water, tissue, and shopping bags—often become the go-to when we’re running around in a rush.

That’s why it pays to stock up on compact, eco-conscious items ahead of time, so they’re already in your bag in a pinch. From recycled tote bags to reusable cutlery, here are eight environmentally sound items you should always have on hand.

1. A Reusable Cup

Look, we love to-go drinks as much as the next person. But if you’re a chronic on-the-go drinker—aka never without a glass of juice, water, or coffee drink in hand—it’s time to invest in a cute reusable cup. More and more, places will happily pour your drinks into your own cup instead of a paper or foam one, all you have to do is ask.

2. A Reusable Straw

If you didn’t already know, plastic straws (especially the disposable ones wrapped in paper) are insanely wasteful. So if you’re a fan of sucking up your liquids through a straw, do the environment a favor and invest in a reusable option. They’re inexpensive, and small enough to fit in your makeup bag.

3. A Foldable Shopping Bag

Avoid relying on pesky plastic shopping bags when you make a quick grocery store or CVS run by keeping a tiny foldable tote in your bag at all times. Chances are you’re already sitting on a cloth or polyester one you can easily fold up, or just ask a friend if for one they’re not using any more. Our guess is they’ll have one to spare.

4. A Thermos

If you find yourself buying coffee at a café more than twice a week, it’s probably time to consider investing in a proper thermos. Not only are these sleek washable mugs earth-friendly, they’ll save you time and money should you decide to start making your morning coffee at home.

5. Reusable Snack Bags

It seems crazy to continuously buy something—like plastic snack bags—that are not reusable, much less not recyclable. Spare yourself, and the environment, the harmful waste and always have reusable snack bags—like these dishwasher-safe cuties—filled with munchies on deck. Your pocketbook (and Mother Nature) can thank us later.

Jearey 16 oz. Water Bottle, $12.99 (Image credit: Amazon)

6. A Stainless Steel Water Bottle

H20: Can’t live without it, but also can’t always find it for free when you’re on the go. Instead of stocking up on wasteful plastic water bottles or worse—paying for expensive ones in a pinch—do yourself a favor and invest in a reusable stainless steel bottle (or score one from a friend who has extras).

7. Reusable Utensils

We’ve all been there. Lunch is packed and ready to eat, but there’s no cutlery in sight. Before you rush to the nearest convenience store for a disposable pack of plastic cutlery, consider investing in a set of reusable utensils—like these washable bamboo wonders—so you always have a fork and spoon on deck.

8. A Handkerchief

For as handy as disposable tissues can be in your purse, they’re not doing much to help you cut down on waste. In addition to being inexpensive and easy to source, handkerchiefs are just as cute and compact as a portable pack of tissues—no trash can necessary.