Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. These ideas are everywhere, reminded at every step of the way by our culture and (increasingly) state law. We here in Southern California are great at reducing: understanding flex energy usage and water rationing. We all recycle and many of us even compost. What about reusing? How many of us always remember to tote our canvas bags to the market, and, really, who’s bringing a reusable straw to the diner? With regulations and availability increasing, more reusable items will become the norm, so here’s a guide to be ahead of the curve.
Sure, you can just bring the paper or thick plastic bags back to the market you purchased for a dime the last time you were there. Or, you can be the envy of everyone in the checkout line and get sleek, sturdy reusable bags. Some, like Whole Foods’ reusable canvas hot/cold bag, are insulated to keep your meat and dairy chilled and safe, even if you have to run other errands before returning home on a warm day. Conversely, if you pick up ready-made foods for dinner, they’ll be piping hot when you’re getting ready to serve. If you’re a super commuter or love a walk to the farmer’s market, consider leveling up the Hulken Bag. The revolutionary reusable features discreet casters to roll it anywhere, and it holds a whopping 66 pounds of whatever you can fill it with. Best of all, it folds up tightly for easy transport on a bus, train, or anywhere you need it ready to go.
Coffee (or more) to go
Many Southern Californians ritualistically stop for that cup of joe every single morning. What we don’t think about is what happens to that hot or cold cup after our single use - especially when we’re each tossing away 20 a month, or more. While the humble thermos feels like a classic throwback, bringing one’s own coffee mug is gaining steam again, aided by some cool technology. Ember features travel mugs that have self-contained heating elements that can be set to precise temperatures. In addition to a two-hour battery life (long enough for the worst commute) Ember’s mugs are connected, meaning you can control them remotely through an app. Meeting dragging on? Reheat that coffee through the phone and have it perfectly hot when you’re back at your desk. For fans of an iced beverage, Yeti’s vacuum tumbler is rugged and spill-proof, and holds 20 ounces of your favorite coffee concoction. It comes in so many stylish colors you can have one for any mood.
Bring a Straw Along
It’s begun to happen - restaurants are now, in compliance with California’s new law, doling out straws like a rare commodity. The days of the single-use straw are numbered, so get ready to tote along a reusable if you love drinking through a tube. A hygienic option is a stainless steel or aluminum straw - many come in multiple packs with carrying cases, so you can always have a clean straw at the ready. Many also come coated with silicone tips to regulate temperature and assuage fears of chipped teeth, and some even collapse like a tent pole for easy pocket carrying. For those who don’t want to wash and dry a straw, consider toting a few made of natural materials. Bamboo straws have been on the market for awhile as an eco-friendly alternative, but how about ... hay? Hay! Straws are completely biodegradable and inexpensive, and can be toted along to hand out to family or friends. And not to worry, they have no taste, and won’t break down in your favorite beverage.
-Alan LaGuardia, Custom Publishing Writer