5 must-haves for zero waste travels

Updated: Mar 25

Good news for eco-conscious shoppers: With The Source Bulk Foods now in Singapore (they’re opening their first store at Cluny Court this month), your quest for a greener, more sustainable lifestyle has become much easier.

Why? You’ll likely find a lot of what you need in there – and you might even be spoilt for choice. Said to be Australia’s largest bulk foods and zero waste retailer (they also have outlets in New Zealand and the UK), they’re going to be offering over 350 products – from gluten-free and vegan foods to packaging-free household items.

Where do we even begin? 😊

Hearing that is enough to get anyone excited (or at least intrigued).

Going further

I’m writing about The Source Bulk Foods for another reason, though: I’m travelling soon, and I want to ask for their help in updating my travel essentials so that I can be eco-friendly. (I’ve also noticed that people always seem to be somewhere or someplace else these days. This post could enlighten them.)

So on top of The Source Bulk Foods’ nuts and confectionery (and buying them for our carry-on), we can look into some products that can help us minimise our waste.

But don’t worry if you get distracted along the way... ⬇ 😉

We have Sarah Widjaja, franchise partner of The Source Bulk Foods, South East Asia, to guide us with that. 😊

Here's Sarah to the rescue

#1 A big tote bag

“Whether you’re travelling around or shopping in the neighbourhood, a big tote will be your best friend. Most supermarkets around the world now encourage you to bring your own bags, so having one with you at all times will save you a lot of trouble (and money!). We love canvas or jute bags for durability and heavy lifting,” says Sarah, who’s also a full-time nutritionist.

“Pro-tip for markets or groceries: Bring your own reusable produce bags for your fruits and veggies instead of pulling plastic bags off the roll at the store!”

#2 A reusable water bottle “Staying hydrated is key when you’re on the go, so having a water bottle with you at all times is clutch. Stay away from single-use plastic bottles, which are not only harmful to the environment, but can leach chemicals into your drink as well.

“We choose double-walled stainless steel bottles that keep drinks cold or warm for 24 hours. Beautiful graphics make them a great accessory to carry around too.” 😉

#3 Reusable cutlery or stainless steel straws “So often when we’re travelling, we end up getting takeaway food and drinks. Bringing your own cutlery means you can say no to flimsy plastic forks and straws that end up in the ocean, harming our marine life and leaching toxins into the water,” Sarah maintains.

“Bamboo cutlery and chic stainless steel straws are so easy to clean and often come with their own bags or containers to carry around! Plus, most food vendors appreciate it when you bring your own supplies because it means less cost and waste for them.”

#4 Soap or shampoo bars

“Avoid lugging around heavy bottles of liquids and opt for bars of natural soap and shampoo instead. Using organic, natural handmade soaps ensures that you’re keeping toxic chemicals from being drawn into your skin (and out of our water supply!).

“Look for bars that use nourishing oils like coconut, jojoba, hemp or shea butter, and 100% pure essential oils that often have natural anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.

“Keep them in washable containers when you’re travelling and you’ll never have to declare them at airport security checks!”

#5 A bamboo toothbrush

“A toothbrush is one product that we don’t really think about as being harmful to the environment, but consider the plastic handle and bristles, and where that all goes when you dispose of your old toothbrush!

“A bamboo toothbrush is an eco-friendly alternative that can last longer than its conventional counterparts when cared for properly. It has anti-bacterial properties too. Bamboo is a renewable and sustainable resource that will help eliminate your plastic waste in the environment,” Sarah declares.

“Choose a bamboo toothbrush with BPA-free bristles made of Nylon-4, a biodegradable plastic. Keep it dry between uses and store upright in a glass to ensure longevity.

“Before you dispose of your old toothbrush, think about upcycling it (use it to clean those pesky drains and corners!) and discard the bristles before composting the bamboo handle.”

Clockwise from top left: Calico bag; stainless steel straw; bamboo "ZeroBrush" toothbrush; beeswax food wrap; stainless steel water bottle; produce bags; and stainless steel food jar

Do you already have any one (or all) of these? Then good for you. If not, you’ll always have The Source Bulk Foods to turn to. 😊

(Want more eco-friendly, vegan, and/or socially conscious shops and services in Singapore? Try Hapsocial, UnPackt, Sonder Social, The Zero Ways, The Green Collective SG and Souley Green.)

The Source Bulk Foods is at 501 Bukit Timah Road, Cluny Court, #01-05A, Singapore 259760. You can also buy their stuff online.