Packing a Zero Waste Travel Kit

Packing for a zero waste trip with low-waste travel gear | Litterless

This post is sponsored by MATTER, makers of ethically produced clothing and accessories that are hand-printed and naturally-dyed.

A mental checklist of the things I bring with me when traveling or leaving the house often looks something like: Water bottle, cloth napkin, reusable fork, handkerchief, produce bag, compost container, menstrual cup. If staying zero waste while out and about means endlessly digging around in the bottom of my purse for the aforementioned items, I'm not sure I'm cut out for this. (Kidding. Though I do hate digging around in the bottom of my purse). But the fact that I do travel with more gear in tow now that I'm trying to reduce my reliance on disposable goods is ineluctable.

Packing for a zero waste trip with low-waste travel gear | Litterless

Thanks to MATTER, I've finally found one solution to keeping everything a bit neater. MATTER makes clothing and accessories with a focus on sustainability: both for their workers (they're transparent about their relationships with the folks in India who block-print and stitch their clothing) and for the environment (they use natural fibers like cotton and linen, emphasize printing and dyeing with natural or toxin-free dyes, and make classics that are designed to last). 

They sent me a set of their travel pouches to test out on my recent trip, and since getting these two zippered bags into my clutches, they've hardly left my side. I'm not saying you need a dedicated pouch for holding some of your travel essentials, but I am saying it's been helpful for me of late. Here's how I've thought about using mine to corral a few zero waste essentials - and just life essentials - for traveling:

Packing for a zero waste trip with low-waste travel gear | Litterless

In the larger of the two pouches, I put together a set of the items I typically use when I'm out and about. I laid out a small cotton towel for drying my hands after washing (in lieu of paper towels), my well-worn linen napkin with a metal fork plucked from my kitchen drawer tucked inside, a reusable silicone bag for holding any bits of pieces of compost made throughout the day, a produce bag for grabbing a croissant or an apple or a bagel, a handkerchief, and a mini tin of homemade lip balm.

These are pretty much my essentials - yours may look different, and certainly I could pare these down to a smaller selection. (But then I'd probably need the item I took out, and regret not bringing it). Together, they cover most of the situations I encounter. I used to throw all of these pell-mell into my bag, making for a cluttered mess at the bottom: a fork that often came unwrapped and got dirty, a napkin that collected the crumbs that inevitably sink to the bottom of a bag. With the help of this zippered pouch, it was nice to keep them all in one spot, clean, and intact. Plus, having them all tucked away together means I can easily throw this pouch in whatever bag I'm carrying that day, instead of having to painstakingly gather every item afresh. HELPFUL.

Packing for a zero waste trip with low-waste travel gear | Litterless

In the smaller of the two pouches, I pulled together a small kit of airplane essentials. Plane trips are similarly afflicted by the whole pawing-around-in-my-bag-looking-for-a-tiny-item thing, and having a dedicated space to keep headphones, a toothbrush and small pot of toothpaste, a glass jar of hand balm, a handkerchief, and an eye mask is a much more convenient solution.

Packing for a zero waste trip with low-waste travel gear | Litterless

You can find these pouches in a set of two or in a set of three. I chose the gold, but all of MATTER's block prints are striking and lovely.

What do you bring when you're traveling? Items I missed, or items I've left out? Are you already hip to the whole pouch-using system?

This post is sponsored by MATTER. Thank you for supporting Litterless.