Reusable must-haves: Portable items you should use to reduce waste

Jeong Yun Choi/Staff

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Happy Earth Day! Today, as it should be every day, is a time for us to recognize, respect and remember all that the Earth does for us. Without this lovely planet, we would not be able to live the lives we know. As human beings, it is our responsibility to do what we can to sustain our livelihood as a species and to reverently act with the planet’s ecosystem, which means we need to do our part to care for this glorious place at all times! 

From shopping locally to minimizing driving, there are a ton of different ways for us to be sustainable and nurturing to the Earth. One simple way we can do our part every day is to minimize the waste we create. We need to reduce and reuse at all costs! A great practice to counter some of the waste we create is to carry portable, reusable items with us when we are out and about. This especially goes for college kids, who spend most of their time on the move.

So today, in honor of reducing waste, we at the Clog have decided to give you a handy-dandy list of portable, reusable must-haves! Here are a few items you should carry with you as you move through the day. 

Water bottles

It’s 2020. We should all get with the times by having a reusable water bottle or drinking vessel on our person. We have so many options to choose from, too! From Nalgenes to Hydro Flasks, you can get a reusable water bottle that works for you. Pro tip: Having a reusable water bottle also helps you stay more hydrated!


No need to use plastic or even compostable utensils, which often end up being thrown in the wrong can, when you can bring a small set of your own. You can purchase sets made from of all sorts of different materials: metal, bamboo and thermoplastic. It’s really up to you to decide which type you like best. They’re great to store in your bag because they’re portable and extremely convenient to have.


If you are a person who is constantly drinking coffee or tea, get yourself a reusable mug or thermos. There are tons of options available when it comes to picking out an everyday mug. If you are being mindful of the space in your bag, look for a compact or compressible mug. 


Whether it’s made of glass, silicone or stainless steel, get yourself a reusable straw. While we understand not everyone is able to use straws made from these materials, it’s a great lifestyle swap for those of us who can. A reusable straw is a slim and almost weightless item to carry around. And, yes, there are boba-sized reusable straws as well.

Food containers

You can use plastic containers, or you can get yourself a nice stainless steel lunchbox, but make sure you have something to carry your food in that isn’t single-use! Avoid getting takeout containers and instead come prepared with your own portable container. Make sure to be savvy by using a condensed container.

Shopping bags

Reusable shopping bags are pretty commonplace these days, at least in Berkeley. If you are planning on picking up some goods while you are out, fold a couple of shopping bags and put them in your backpack. You will avoid a lot of wasted bags by bringing your own.

Perhaps many of you already carry reusable items around, and if you are, that is great! If you don’t, there is no time like the present to help reduce more of your waste by investing in reusable things. At the moment, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants and stores aren’t accepting reusable items to reduce the spread of the disease, but we can still prepare ourselves for the moment things return to some kind of normal!  

While reusing items may seem like a small act toward protecting the Earth, it’s a step we should all consider taking. Waste reduction in any way, shape or form is a beautiful approach to care for the Earth, which cares for us every day!

Contact Gina Wright [email protected].