Starters Kit – 5 Reusable Items to Replace Single-use Plastic

conversationswithmysister_reusable sandwhich wrap
Posted by on April 17, 2014

“Small positive acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world”.


*** Updated December 2016***


Shopping isn’t my first love by any means. Open air markets and clusters of independently owned small business are the exception as they are generally full of quirky, handmade, local items which tend to be a one off – perfect!

There are only a limited number of people who will offer to shop with me, let me assure you. The procedure of checking price, (value for money is super important) where it is made, what it is made of, analysing the necessity of purchasing it and then needing time to think about the decision, is a frustrating process for anyone to witness.

Rest assured when a purchase has been made it is because something really exciting has been found and it usually stays in my possession till it is loved to death. Thought you might be interested to see some of my discoveries under the category – Hunting & Gathering 


conversationswithmysister_reusable Hunting & Gathering

Starting with a few simple changes is how our family began our sustainable journey. Committing to writing this blog has, to date, uncovered simple ways to easily minimise every day waste and cure our single-use plastic habits. As well as a newly adapted routine to Shopping Plastic Bag-free using our Onya Bags, there are a few other items we have tried and tested. These are some ideas which make up a simple ‘Starters Kit’.

Related Post: Plastic Bag-Free Shopping – You Will Need


Sandwich Wraps and Snack/Lunch Bags Sandwhich Wraps

Allow me to redeem myself for the size of the cling wrap admitted to in the Great Plastic Bag Stocktake. It is still in the cupboard because we have been regularly using a sandwich wrap instead. We use them for the childrens’ lunches everyday because:

  • Easily (and stylishly) eliminates the need for cling wrap and plastic lunch bags
  • They make great table/lap mats to catch messy crumbs
  • Using them as a placemats provides extra protection on grubby public tables

Recently snack/lunch bags have been added to the collection after our Little Man came home from school and requested –

“One of those plastic bags for my lunch box treats which seal at the top!” because EVERYONE (are you sure?) in his class has them…!

So we had our chat regarding our stand against plastic and compromised with a reusable lunch bag – meltdown averted. Hopefully his friends at school are looking at his sandwich wrap and lunch bags and are all going home asking for those. This would be a terrific solution to minimise the amount of rubbish which accumulates in school playgrounds.

Easy to wash, quick to dry and super practical.


Related Post: Lunch Box Essentials to Simplify Your Life, Save You Money and Change The World!


Carry your own Drink Bottle Drink Bottles


According to the University of Queensland

  • Australian’s spend over $400M on bottled water
  • Bottled Water has a carbon footprint 300 times greater than tap water


Still not convinced?
Clean Up Australia has some interesting facts and tips on their Website.

We drink a lot of water at our house so these large glass Grolsch bottles (see above) are great for extra storage – at least three friends of ours would agree. The handy bottles are usually found in liquor shops around Christmas.

Reusing not only minimises the impact our waste has on the environment, it also minimises the impact of everyday expenses on your weekly budget.

Reusable Coffee Cups Coffee Cups

Again the University of Queensland estimates 1B coffee cups are produced each year in Australia generating 7,000 tonnes of waste.

Enough said…

Reusable Straws straws

By now you have probably seen or t least heard of this you-tube clip showing a straw being removed from a turtles nose. I have added the link but I have to be honest and say I haven’t watched the full length because it broke my heart. This is one of the main reasons behind adding reusable straws to this collection.

The other incentive was seeing Plastic Free July list plastic straws in their ‘Top 4 items to avoid‘ for those just starting out on their single-use journey. They are also supporting a campaign called The Last Straw which is encouraging business to stop using plastic stars altogether or place them under the counter for customers who specifically ask for them. How many times do you find yourself using a straw without even realising – do you really need it?

We use the silicone reusable straws as pictured due to having young children but you might prefer the glass or stainless steel ones.

Set of three adorably packaged Produce Bags Produce Bags

  • Hemp Cotton – green beans, nuts, grains and bulk foods
  •  rePETe – squash, broccoli, carrots and celery
  • rePETe Mesh – apples, oranges, onions, potatoes

These bags are all manufactured from recycled materials. The reason for the various fabrics is to absorb excess moisture, restrict airflow and allow natures ripening agent ‘ethylene’ to escape preventing over ripening.

They ‘stuff’ quick and easily in the produce stand pouch which is super convenient and takes up minimal room in your bag or car boot along side your reusable shopping bags.


All of these items are high on our list of ‘great present ideas’ and can be purchased from the Biome store (follow the links), the store CWMS is now lucky enough to be affiliated with. You can re-read the disclosure statement here if you missed the last post.

Do you diligently use any of these above items and have 5 minutes to share your experience?

Is there anything you use regularly to minimise single-use plastic items which should be added to this Starter Kit?

As you know the comment section is just below. CWMS Facebook following is growing and it is a great place to share your finds with other like minded individuals. Images are more than welcome and are easy to upload to the page – in fact we would love you all to start interacting and sharing tips and tricks you have successfully implemented into your daily routines.

Looking forward to hearing from you,
– Shea

Previous conversations

Last week…Affiliated with Biome Eco Stores

Lights Out For Earth Hour

Latest find at Biome – Sustainable, natural, ethically sourced materials. Perfect stocking filler…

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

Next Week - Eat Throw Grow

Next Week – Eat Throw Grow




15 Responses to Starters Kit – 5 Reusable Items to Replace Single-use Plastic

  1. Tracy

    Here is a link I think you will love! Eco friendly wine bottles made out of cardboard! You can even enjoy yourself while helping the environment!!!

  2. Oma

    Have to say I really do love my snazzy sandwich wrap, use it every day and it really is multiple purpose! Thanks for bringing these new practical items onto my radar!! xx

  3. Oma

    Oh and my drink bottle is a must-have when I’m not at work and out and about xx

  4. Zoe Knights

    I’ve been slowly getting into this whole thing and recently my motivation has been boosted by reading “Zero Waste Home” by Be a Johnson. Yes I use all 4 items above. I have also recently discovered a great shop near us (in Auckland) where you can take your own containers and fill them with loads of things- dry goods, baking staples, spices, cleaning products, even honey and peanut butter- it’s great! We’ve also gone back to bars of soap instead of liquid (bought without wrappers). My next project (once the head we have for the electric toothbrush run out) is bamboo toothbrushes.
    If you want to read more about my experiences, I recently blogged about it here:

    • Shea

      Hi Zoe, Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. We haven’t tried bamboo toothbrushes yet but we have tried the children’s compostable ones. Actually didn’t find it them that great so I would be interested to hear how you go once you change to bamboo ones.

      – Shea

      • bee

        I’ve been using the bamboo toothbrushes for about a year now, and really like them! I used the plastic one in my travel kit while travelling, and don’t want to go back. The only word of advice I’d give is that the bamboo ones need to be aired out enough to dry (in a cup, drawer or cupboard seems fine). I was using one of those plastic toothbrush-head-cover things, and my toothbrush grew tiny spots of mould – even with the holes in the cover!

        • Shea

          Hi Bee! Thank you so much for these great tips, perfectly timed with ‘Plastic Free July’- have you heard about this great community organisation? Not only are they encouraging people to rethink their plastic choices but they also share loads of practical advice. X Shea

          • bee

            Hi Shea. Yes, I’ve heard about PFJ – I think I actually found out about your blog through them or something they linked to! This is my second PFJ, and although I did go back to some single-use plastics after last July, it’s great to see how I’ve made other changes throughout the year, and how I’ve solved several of the issues in my ‘dilemma bag’. I think for me it’s going to be a slow change to being plastic free and low waste, but I also think letting myself adjust slowly means that it will be a change that will stick. What’s your favourite change that you’ve made?

          • Shea

            Oh brilliant Bee!

            I must say, if I had to pick a favourite, it would have to be the sandwich wraps and lunch bags. Our children use them everyday and, apart from the fact they enable us to no longer use glad wrap, it is great to know they have a hygienic built-in placemat.

  5. bee

    Oh, and I’ve been using the Chicobag produce bags for a year or so, and quite like them, although I mainly use them for carrying, not for storing in the fridge. As such I find I need more mesh bags, so I’m in the process of making some. I love that the ChicoBag ones have the tare weight and what each bag is best for on each bag. Definitely a worthwhile feature!!

  6. bee

    Have you used the sandwich wraps or reusable velcro topped bags for freezing? I still haven’t been able to find a good replacement for ziploc bags in the freezer as containers won’t fit for everything. I’ve heard of reusable plastic lined cloth ziplock style bags, but haven’t really seen them around, and not keen to pay international postage.

    • Shea

      Actually I haven’t heard of those but they sound perfect! If you do end up finding them I would love you to share the link on the CWMS Facebook page. They found like a terrific idea.

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