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4 Things a Rocket Scientist Keeps in Her Zero-Waste Kit

A zero-waste kit can drastically help you cut down on the amount of trash being sent to landfills. Here's how to make one.

Written by
Tehrene Firman

We're all imperfect environmentalists. And it's totally normal to forget to bring your reusable bag to the grocery store, or occasionally drink an iced coffee with a plastic straw. But when you have a zero-waste kit on hand, you'll be better equipped to go about your day in a more planet-friendly way.

In the latest Good Together podcast, Liza Moiseeva, Brightly’s CMO and co-founder, discussed zero-waste living with Anita Vandyke, MD, a rocket scientist, medical doctor, and the creator of the popular Instagram account @rocket_science. That conversation came with plenty of tips—including how to build your own zero-waste kit.

The Perks of a Zero-Waste Kit

Living a more sustainable lifestyle doesn't have to be hard. Dr. Vandyke says the key is taking small steps. "Get your zero-waste engineering, creative brain working and making changes in your everyday life. These small changes make a big cumulative difference," she says. "The first thing you might want to do is put together a zero-waste kit."

Dr. Vandyke never leaves home without her zero-waste kit. It's something she puts in her handbag, backpack—whatever she's carrying around. And it only contains four simple items: a reusable straw, reusable water bottle, reusable coffee cup, and a reusable tote bag. She puts everything into a cotton bag, which makes it easy to transfer from bag to bag. Or, you can leave it in your car so it's there whenever you need it.

It might not seem like a lot, but having those four simple items with you at all times can help cut down on waste from plastic straws, plastic water bottles, disposable coffee cups, and plastic bags. Aside from keeping those items out of the landfills, you're also keeping plastic out of the ocean: It's estimated that 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year.

"That little zero-waste kit will reduce your waste automatically when you're out and about by 80 percent already," Dr. Vandyke says. "And in these COVID times, it's actually really sensible to bring your own products and use the things you know are clean, rather than taking products that are single-use. So it's actually a really handy economical tip, and a safety tip as well."

Create Your Own Zero-Waste Kit

This stainless steel straw is BPA-free, dishwasher-safe, and super-durable. So much so that it has a lifetime garantee against breakage. You can buy it in silver, rose gold, or black.

This 32-ounce stainless steel reusable water bottle has double-wall vacuum insulation to keep your water cold for up to 90 hours. It's also really durable: You can use it during your typical day-to-day activities and take it on hikes and outdoor adventures. For more reusable water bottles, click here.

3. W&P Porter Mug, $25

How cute is this reusable coffee cup? It features an interior ceramic mug with a matte silicone sleeve and BPA-free lid. It's also microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe. Grab it in a terrazzo pattern, or a solid color like mint, slate, blush, cream, or charcoal.

You might already have a reusable tote bag at home. But if you need one for your zero-waste kit, this option from Tentree is a great choice. It's made from 100 percent cotton and was ethically made in Bangladesh. It's also really cute and is sure to get compliments from your cashier.