Ultimate Guide to a Zero-Waste Handbag Essentials

You can bring your zero-waste lifestyle beyond your home, too! If you carry a handbag with you everywhere you go, then you’ll enjoy these zero-waste alternatives. They don’t have to be complicated either. Many of these options will allow you to save money in the long-term while living a more eco-friendly life.

Personally, I don’t have all these options in my handbag, but for those of you who favor big purses or have kids, I bet you’ll find many choices here. However, if you’re going to walk away with just two items from this list, that’s great! Mine two are a reusable bottle and my metal straw. Living in a tropical climate, these are a must, and you could even include a reusable cutlery set, too!

With that being said, check out our ultimate guide to zero-waste handbag essentials and see what swaps you can introduce today.

Reusable Shopping Bags

Reusable Shopping Bags

Plastic bags take years to decompose, littering our landfills and oceans. And if they are burned, they release toxic fumes into our atmosphere, harming our environment even more.

This is where reusable shopping bags come in. These LuckyTreyvon bags are super durable, and they are easily foldable so you can place them in your handbag or car. Most people shy away from reusable bags since they deem them as bulky; that’s not the case with these shopping bags! 

Just because they are compact doesn’t mean they can’t hold a lot, either. These large-capacity bags can carry up to 50lbs, so that’s enough for a more extensive family shopping trip — especially since they come in a pack of six. I also like their cute designs, plus, they’re waterproof.

Reusable Collapsible Coffee Cup

Reusable Collapsible Coffee Cup - Ultimate Guide to a Zero-Waste Handbag Essentials

Personally, I love reusable coffee cups. This is why I’m on board with these collapsible silicone coffee mugs! The fact that they’re collapsible is what makes them so great. It’s easy to forget to wash out your mug during a long commute, meaning more of a mess the next day. The reusable, collapsible coffee mug can be squashed down after you’re finished drinking it, so you’ll know it needs to be washed out.

The coffee mug also includes a reusable straw, which is always a plus in my book. I also like that this cup is so lightweight, making it ideal for long camping trips or other types of outings.

Reusable Water Bottle

Reusable Water Bottle

Reusable bottles are a must. Like plastic bags, plastic bottles are also a huge problem for our environment and are constantly filling our landfills. I like various types of bottles. I bring a smaller one like Hydrapeak with me when I’m on the go, and I opt for a larger, metal one for the gym.

The Hydrapeak water bottle effectively keeps your water cool and fresh during the hotter summer months since it keeps its contents well insulated. When browsing for a new reusable bottle, try to opt for zero-waste metal types like titanium, steel, glass, copper, or silicone. These are not only better for our environment, but they don’t leave a weird aftertaste.

Reusable Straw

Reusable Straw

I switched over to reusable straws a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back since. It’s a great step to a greener lifestyle, and it’s easy too since they’re so small and lightweight.

I’ve tried plenty of reusable straws, ranging from glass, silicone, bamboo, and steel, and found steel ones to be the best. Especially if they have silicone tips — to avoid accidentally whacking my teeth. Reusable straws often come in various designs to choose from, including a cute little carry case and a straw cleaner, as well.

Reusable Travel Utensils

Reusable Travel Utensils

Reusable cutlery is excellent for many reasons. For one, if you’re on the road or camping, you don’t need to bother yourself with plastic cutlery, which does nothing but break easily and litter our landfills. Also, more and more people are making the switch to reusable cutlery when eating out, since restaurant utensils are known to carry many germs.

I really like this travel utensil kit. It comes with seven pieces of stainless steel cutlery, including straws! They also come in beautiful colors, with a cute travel case. If you want to check out more sets like these, take a look at our best reusable travel utensils, to add to your zero-waste handbag!

Zero Waste Foldable Chopsticks

Zero Waste Foldable Chopsticks

If you fancy sushi while on the go, this foldable set has you covered. These wooden chopsticks are way better than plastic which is always thrown out after, and they aren’t covered with any type of paint or wax to keep them truly natural.

Wooden Sunglasses

Wooden Sunglasses

I try to have a pair of polarized sunglasses with me everywhere I go. They’re especially useful when driving, which is why it’s good to have a pair you can always leave in the glove compartment. Since here at Trash Backwards, we like everything to be sustainable, we’re loving these sunglass” link_title=”Cloudfield Wood Sunglasses on Amazon” /] frames.

They are not as flimsy as the plastic ones, and they look pretty cool too! And if they do break, the frames are fully compostable.

Reusable Tissues

Reusable Tissues

We often go through a ton of tissues every day; therefore, I knew I made the right call when I made the switch to using cloth handkerchiefs instead. Not only do they look so aesthetically pleasing, but they also are super convenient and will end up saving you both money and our trees! They might feel a little stiff at first but should soften up after a couple of washes.

There are also these LastTissue sets which are also eco-friendly and totally dishwasher safe. The tissues can be used up to 400 times, and they feel so soft.

Zero Waste Deodorant Bar

Zero-Waste Deodorant Bar

Did you know that most commercial deodorant brands often include nasty chemicals and aluminum? They’re not that great for our health and often come packaged in materials that don’t naturally break down.

I was happy to make a switch over to a more natural, zero-waste deodorant brand like this natural deodorant. This deodorant is filled with high-quality ingredients that are beneficial for our skin, while still remaining effective. Plus, these tubes are travel-sized, so I can easily throw one in my handbag. Some people use deodorant wipes, but they aren’t precisely zero-waste, even if they’re labeled as biodegradable.

Reusable Period Pads

Reusable Period Pads

Getting a call from Mother Nature at the most awkward time is inconvenient, to say the least. This is why I always try to pack some period protection in my handbag no matter where I go. Period products can also be zero-waste, and these reusable period pads are a great alternative. I much prefer these to commercial period brands since they aren’t biodegradable and simply end up lying on our landfills.

What makes reusable period products so absorbent is the extra layers of charcoal bamboo, which doesn’t include any harsh chemicals and is environmentally friendly.

Reusable Mini Bento Box

Reusable Mini Bento Box

Reusable are superb to pack your lunch into, or even to use as kids’ lunch boxes. They are super sturdy since they’re made out of steel, and easy to wash out as well. I like to use these as-to-go boxes in restaurants instead of the styrofoam ones that are flimsy and not sustainable at all.

The bento boxes come in all types of sizes, and they are separated into three or more different compartments for each meal.


Do you have any of these essentials in your handbag? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading.

Last update on 2021-08-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API