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Zero Waste Car Kit (For $10)

December 13, 2018 5 Comments
*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.*

Cutting waste and minimizing your footprint may seem impossible when you’re out and about, but with a few essential items, it’s simple! 

If you start cutting your waste on the go, you’ll also notice that you’re spending less money and eating healthier too (a win-win-win). Let’s get started: 



Glass clean very easily, unlike plastic containers which absorb odors and discolor. They’re also cheap, or even free – if you’ve bought pasta sauce, peanut butter, jam or honey, you may already have a jar laying around that can be put to use. You can also spend a few dollars and buy mason jars if you want a specific size.

Disposable Swaps:

  • Coffee and drink cups – present your own cup and ask nicely they’ll usually accommodate. I think it helps to pull out the jar and tell them you’d like your beverage in there before you complete your order because sometimes they’ll ring your order up as a different size to fit your glass better.
  • To-go food containers – if you want to take the rest of your meal to go, or are buying fast food, pull out your jar or container and tell them that if at all possible you’d like to put it in there instead of a disposable container. When making unusual requests, a smile goes a long way. I’ve found that people are usually happy to oblige if you explain your request.  
  • Single-use food packaging – toss your own snacks in a jar and take them with you. In addition to preventing the use of single-use packing, you’ll also avoid spending money and eating food that’s usually highly processed.  

Also great for:

  • holding bulk foods
  • taking home compost scraps
  • “leave it better than you found it” and picking up litter 

Cost: ~$2

Reusable Straw

You may be sick of hearing about reusable straws, but they’re an essential item. The best deal on Amazon are these stainless steel straws but any type will do. I recommend looking around locally before ordering one only. I found one at a local shop for $1. 

Cost: ~$2 each

stainless steel staws

Shopping Bag

Carrying a shopping bag with you at all times in your purse or bag is the best way to never need a disposable one again, but keeping one in your car is a close second. You just need to remember to take it in the store and put it back in your car when you’re done. 

Odds are, you already have a bag in your home and you just need to put a system in place: the bag has a specific place in your car where you can always grab it, and you put it back in there after shopping trip.

Cost: ~ $2 each

Cloth Paper Towels

Have you ever made a big mess in your car and desperately searched every crevice for stray disposable napkins? Yeah, me too.

Cloth paper towels are so much more absorbent than disposable paper towels or napkins, and they’ll save the day if there’s an accident in your car.

Tip: Don’t buy them on Amazon. Check out your local dollar store or grocery store. The ones on Amazon are pricey, but they should cost next to nothing.

Cost: ~$1

Putting It All Together


The trick to keeping your Zero Waste Car Kit maintained is having a system.

Pick a container to use and give it a specific place in your car, maybe behind the passenger seat or in the trunk. You can likely find something for a few dollars at a second hand store that will work perfectly. Then just get started using the items! Get in the habit of returning the bags and jar after you’ve used them. 

As A Gift

This zero waste car kit makes a great gift for anyone who’s trying to go zero waste or low impact! If you buy the container second hand, you can make this whole gift for about $10. I gave this kit to several people for Christmas and it was a big hit. 

Here’s a free guide to include with the gift to help inspire and implement. Send it digitally or print it (on recycled paper if possible!) and include it in the kit.

Zero Waste Car

PDF For Print: Zero Waste Car Kit_Writing From Nowhere

What items do you carry around in your car to minimize your footprint? I love hearing from you! 

how to make a plastic free car kit with stuff you probably already have_writingfromnowhere-10.jpg


  • Dani January 21, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    What a simple way to get started on a zero waste journey, I love the idea of making these kits as a gift set. These are definitely essential items for on the go when you’re trying to reduce your impact. I always carry a reusable shopping bag that fits into my purse with a stainless steel straw on me and have a container to go in my car.

  • Leanne (@ecothriftylifestyle) January 21, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    There are some great ideas here – thank you for sharing! The disposable cups versus reusable ones is an interesting one. Here in the UK, if you take a reusable cup to a coffee shop, they give you a discount, which is another great incentive to do just that! Hopefully they do that where you are too! 🙂

  • Ana January 23, 2019 at 8:29 am

    Love this! Already keeps reusable bag and a glass jar in my car but definitely need to start doing the other two thank you!

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