This was the hardest portion for me to write of THE SUSTAINABLE DAY BAG: MOM EDITION blog post series. Why? Because in the spirit of transparency, some of these items are made of plastic.
Wah. wah. wahhhhh….
My whole blog is wrapped around the idea of living more sustainably and encouraging people to avoid plastic. Coming to terms with the fact that there aren’t many sustainable options available for the items that I mention below makes this a really hard post for me to write. I can’t even spin this into why these items are more sustainable because the fact is… they just aren’t sustainable.
Not all hope is lost though. I frequently like to bring light to the fact that we as consumers drive the market. So the more noise we make about needing sustainable alternatives to plastic items we use on a daily basis, the market WILL shift. Companies want to make money off of us, our voices also speak volumes.
With that being said, I want to take two approaches to this post. 1) I bought/am using these items because I am ACTUALLY USING them. For example, I should not buy a planner just because it is more sustainable even if it may not have everything I need in it. Why? Because I probably won’t end up using it. When I buy and don’t use a product, that also creates more waste. AND 2) I hope this post can be a letter to these companies to start thinking about how they can make their products more sustainable.
The companies that make these products are good at what they do and people pay them for it by buying their products because there are relatively no comparable plastic-free alternatives. By saying why I like this product, but more importantly why I would LOVE this product if it were more sustainable can encourage those companies to think about their design of products differently.
Let’s shift the market.
Before I get started on what I put into my day bag, you might be assuming that I went shopping for all of these products just for this post. No.
A great way to be more sustainable is USING WHAT YOU HAVE ON HAND. Even if it’s plastic. If it’s plastic and you use it, use it until you cannot use it anymore instead of tossing it in the recycle bin or trash and buying a new item. Try to use what you have on hand FIRST before purchasing a new item.
If you haven’t already caught on yet, I like to categorize things. I have bags for my bags basically. The Electronics Bag is the last “bag” of my sustainable everyday bag (mom edition). All of these items are unfortunately plastic. You’ll see what I mean.
Like many people, I use headphones frequently. Whether it’s for a conversation with a friend or family member on the way into work or listening to a podcast on my walk with the dogs. Unfortunately, headphones are made of plastic and to call a spade a spade, people will not stop buying headphones to decrease plastic pollution. They just won’t.
This is where companies really need to step in and provide a more sustainable alternative. I am currently using the headphones that I have on hand, but when these break I will opt for a more eco-conscious option to let my dollars speak for me by saying, “I will buy a sustainable option over the plastic version”.
If you are in the market for headphones, check out these plastic, but slightly more eco-friendly options below:
2. CHARGING CABLE
No one wants to be on a backcountry road when the worst case scenario happens. Pretend you are in the middle of nowhere, you’re lost, and your phone dies. Unless you’re in the habit of putting a updated paper map on your Christmas list so you can store one in your car, what are you going to do now?
I always have a small charging cable on hand to charge my phone in the car so that I am never in this situation. Maybe this is a low key fear of mine that I need to work through, I don’t know. Again, unfortunately, most of these cables are wrapped in plastic. I am using what I have on hand before buying a new charging cord, but when I need a new one, I will opt for a more eco-friendly option. If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments below!
3. BATTERY PACK
When Bryan and I were traveling overseas, one of the most important tech items we had in our bags was a portable battery pack. Since we were in Europe and not able to connect to the cell towers there, we were only able to use our phones when connected to wifi. We found that the batteries in our phones drained so quickly after a full charge if we forgot to put them into airplane mode. When you are on the go, you don’t always have access to an outlet or a charging port. That’s where the battery pack comes in.
This one below has been my favorite since it allows for two phones to charge at the same time. One downside to this, it’s actually kind of heavy. But when considering pros vs. cons, carrying the weight is worth it for me.
If you do not need a second port, I suggest saving space with the slimmer version of this battery pack, click below:
Now you might be thinking, “Ok, just don’t use these items listed above.” The thing is, I do use them and so do millions of other people on this planet. It would be great if we could somehow get our modern needs accomplished and encourage everyone to avoid these items also. Yes, that would be more sustainable, but not realistic. There are so many people that aren’t even conscious about what sustainability means, so telling someone not to use the new AirPod’s just because they are made of plastic would not go over well 9 times out of 10. This is when we have to use our energy wisely and instead tell the companies, “Hey! Offer a more sustainable product!!!”
So HEY APPLE!!! OFFER A MORE SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT!!!
FREE FLOATING ITEMS
I like to call these items below the “free floating items”. That’s exactly what they do, they float freely about my purse and are accessible for frequent use at any time.
There are a lot of sustainable planners out there, in fact there are a lot of great sustainable planners out there. Unfortunately, I’ll admit that I won’t use a planner if I can’t use it like it holds my life, not just my upcoming events. So if I buy a sustainable planner, but don’t end up using it… I’m creating more waste.
This planner has all of the features that I look for in a planner. It has an hour by hour planner for each day, there are weekly goal worksheets, there are reusable checklists for party planning and travel, and so much more. I have yet to find a sustainable planner that is not just open boxes for the days of the week. If you know of one, please list it in the comments below!!
So while I am using this planner for this year, this got me thinking that this could be a really great Kylie Bee project! I love lists and organization, so why not come up with an in-depth planner?? But even better, why not come up with a sustainable in-depth planner? I cannot be the only person out there that needs more than what the current sustainable planners have to offer.
So… future Kylie Bee project?? … maybe so 🙂 stay tuned.
2. PENS & PENCIL CASE
How many times a day do you grab a pen? Let me guess. All the time? I always have a pen on hand. So when it comes to sustainability, try to use whatever pens you have on hand first, even if they are plastic! Use what you have on hand before buying a more sustainable version. If you are all out of pens, check out these sustainable options below:
For a pencil case, try to use what you have on hand. If you are in the market for a pencil case, check out this sustainable option below:
3. CELL PHONE
Just like a pen, who always has their phone around? The answer is everyone.
Unfortunately, cell phones are extremely toxic to the environment. Thankfully some manufacturers offer recycling programs, but in general cell phones are not considered an eco-friendly product. However, this product is similar to headphones in that if you were to ask people to give up cell phones for the sake of the environment, my guess is that you would get a resounding “no”. And even if you got several people to stop buying cell phones, it would likely not be enough people to make a difference.
I believe that this sustainable initiative HAS to come from the companies in this case! That is where I see the most sustainable change taking place when it comes to cell phones.
So “HEY APPLE! OFFER A MORE SUSTAINABLE CELL PHONE OPTION!!”
If you do have a cell phone though, you can make a difference by purchasing sustainable accessories.
For plastic-free cell phone cases, check out some of my favorite brands below:
If you like Popsockets, they are now partnered with Terracycle to recycle them after use. So try to buy the Popsocket brand if you need to stick something to the back of your phone.
That wraps up the portion of my bag that we’ll just call the dark side, the not-so-sustainable side, the “come on! Let’s do better” side, etc. BUT! I HAVE GOOD NEWS!
The free floating items below are the saving grace and are actually sustainable!!!
4. REFILLABLE HAND SANITIZER
Because of 2020, hand sanitizer is readily available and for purchase almost anywhere including the Zero Waste stores!! What’s great about this is that you use a glass/metal jar or spray bottle and keep refilling it whenever you run out.
I like to have my large glass jar filled at Zero Market with their bulk hand sanitizer and then I refill the small spray bottle at home.
5. HAND CREAM OR LOTION
This is an item that should ideally use the “refill/reusable” principle. Since lotion is used often enough, ditching the travel-sized plastic tubes will add up by contributing to more plastic pollution.
However, it’s really easy to find a reusable jar, tube, or bottle to keep refilling from a larger lotion bottle that you can keep at home.
The container I have for my bag is from our local Zero Market and the lotion is also from Zero Market, but is refilled from my larger bottle at home.
If you are in need of a travel size jar and/or want to start buying lotion bulk > CLICK HERE.
6. IDEA NOTEBOOK
If you are following me on Instagram @thekyliebee, you have probably seen my morning routine in my insta stories over the past couple of months. I love to start my day with a hot cup of tea and yoga. One thing I have found when I am in the middle of yoga and centering myself, is that some of my best ideas make their debut; however, I never remember them after my yoga session. Because of that, I have learned to keep a journal near me to jot down the idea immediately to return to later.
Now that things are starting to open back up (#2020pandemic) and I am finding myself out of the house a little more often, I have also learned to keep my idea journal with me during the day, as well.
Writing utensils are one of the worst offenders when it comes to plastic pollution. Pens, highlighters, wet/dry erase markers, kids coloring markers, permanent markets, etc. They are all made of plastic.
I like to color code the events in my planner because it breaks up the day and helps me stay organized. It is really hard to find plastic-free writing utensils though. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to find these plastic-free highlighters! To get your own, click HERE.
8. GLASS WIPE/CLOTH
Living in the land of 300 days of sunshine, we all own a pair of sunglasses. Keeping our sunglasses clean is essential especially when we are such an active outdoorsy state. Most people in Colorado love to go hiking, camping, run in a 5k or mud run, play in the park with kids or dogs, bike rides, if it can be done outside, there is probably a market for it in Colorado.
I actually got this clip on glass wipe in my Christmas stocking last year from my mother-in-law and I believe she found it in a local shop from her hometown. #supportlocal
9. GLASSES AND SUNGLASSES
I was diagnosed with slight near-sidedness and astigmatism after I had Lila.. pregnancy does weird things to your body haha. Surprisingly, the same sunglasses and glasses that I use everyday are the first and only pairs that I have had so far. They are definitely showing general wear and tear at this point though, so when they do give out on me and break, I will look to purchase frames from a more eco-friendly supplier with more sustainable materials.
10. SMALL TOTE BAG
When Bryan and I got married in 2018, I made these tote bags for my bridesmaids and flower girls. Lila was of course one of our flower girls so we have been able to use this bag often.
I have found so many uses for this bag over the past couple of years. I cannot tell you how many times Lila has too much to carry and this bag has come in handy. It’s not the prettiest thing anymore with the stains and the flowers are beginning to peel off, but that just really goes to show it has been used frequently, which is the whole point!
To add your own sustainable tote bag to your day bag, try to use what you have on hand. It doesn’t need to be cute, it just needs to be functional and relatively small so you aren’t adding a ton of extra weight to your bag overall.
All of these items have come in handy many times over. I would prefer that they all be plastic-free though. To circle back to the top of this post, our voices matter and we can drive the market. It’s important to demand that companies explore more sustainable alternatives since they have the power to make a difference on a massive scale.
I hope that this blog post inspired you to 1) Use what you have on hand, and 2) Buy what you will actually USE.
Like I said before, this post was the hardest post for me to write in this series because it includes plastic items. I dream of the day when the items I mentioned in this post are offered in completely sustainable plastic-free forms. Unfortunately, we aren’t quite there yet, but I’m determined to make that a reality by pressuring companies to think about things from a more sustainable perspective.
We’re all in this together and companies have a MASSIVE role to play. So until then, let’s keep making lots of noise people!!! Let’s demand sustainable change by using our voices and encouraging the people around us to shop and live more sustainably.
To check out what is in THE SUSTAINABLE DAY BAG: MOM EDITION > CLICK HERE.
To check out the other sections of my complete sustainable everyday bag (the mom edition), click on any of the links below:
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Until next time,