My Number One Zero Waste Tip For Military Families

 In Life, Military, PCS, Zero Waste

My Number One Zero Waste Tip For Military Families

Reducing waste in the home can seem overwhelming when you starting reading zero waste blogs and books that boast about households being able to reduce their trash so much that it fits in a mason jar.  I’ll be honest, my family isn’t there yet, and I don’t think we ever will be. However, we have made some progress in what waste we produce.  Coincidentally, the easiest swap has ended up being my favorite.  Almost two years ago, I bought a Reisenthal basket when I saw it on clearance at the Exchange.  My husband laughed and asked if I needed it or would use it.  I have been carrying it around with me almost every day since.  Below I’ve listed a few of the ways that I use it and why I prefer it over a regular bag.


I’ll be honest.  Carrying a basket makes me feel like I’m on the way to a farmer’s market instead of the commissary, so there is an aesthetics element that makes me happy.  I know…it’s a little ridiculous.  However, who cares if it gets me to carry something reusable instead of using plastic bags? Although, it’s not just about it being pretty and fun, it’s also actually useful.  One of the best things about it is that it has a pocket.  In there is a reusable shopping bag for whatever doesn’t fit in the basket, as well as a reusable produce bag for when I get loose fruits and veggies in the fresh section.  Extra bonuses are that most places give you a discount if you use your own bag, and I no longer have an insane amount of random plastic bags in my house.

(Here is a photo of my actual basket and reusable grocery/produce bags!  I use bags that I bought a few years ago from Ikea that fold up flat and Norwex Produce Bags.  A Produce bag gets tucked into each reusable bag, so everything is neat and tidy!)


We go to a lot of social events…as I’m sure you do too.  Mandatory fun.  Command Potlucks.  Department BBQs…you name it, we’ve been to it.  This basket has been amazing for carrying whatever we’re bringing to share.  Not only does everyone comment on how adorable my basket is, it also helps keep food level instead of being jostled about in a bag.  Once food comes out, all my other stuff like keys, purse and jacket go in keeping everything centralized.  


Alright, I’ll admit it.  I’m often times in a bit of a rush to get out the door in the morning.  However, having my basket makes getting to work on time a little easier.  Instead of having to carefully pack a bag and hope things don’t spill, I can throw whatever I need for the day into my basket, confident that they’ll lay flat.  The best thing is that the pocket doubles as a cup holder for my travel coffee mug. My co-workers also always comment how adorable it is and often recognize it before they recognize me!  It’s become my signature accessory.


Whether we are PCSing, or going on a trip, this basket comes with us.  The handle folds down and the supports can be taken out to collapse it down flat.  This makes it super easy to pack. While in transit, I’ve used it for myriad different things.  Some of my faves include, keeping snacks and drinks handy in the car when we’re doing road trips and to take to and from the laundromat with essentials while we’re hotel living.  My favorite use was when we were stuck in an airport in Spain for a full 8 hours along with….wait for it….literally everyone else in the airport.  Thank you, fog.  I was tasked with bringing food and beer back to whomever was standing in the OUTRAGEOUS line to get re-ticketed. At the beginning of the trip, everyone laughed that I brought my basket, until the moment I appeared with it….full of cheeseburgers, snacks and alcohol.  I made believers out of everyone day that.  


My car has historically always been a bit of a mess.  Receipts, wrappers, shoes, clothes, other random trinkets…you name it, it was probably in my car.  That changed when I got this basket and was using it every day to tote stuff around. Instead of something getting thrown on the passenger seat floor, it would get thrown in the basket so I could deal with it when I got inside.  I will admit, this has been my husband’s favorite side effect of the basket purchase.

Needless to say, the basket has been a game changer in my house.  It enabled me reduce the amount of plastic bags in our home, helps me keep my car clean, and also stay stylish when going to work and parties.  What’s your favorite zero waste product or pro tip? I’m always up for suggestions, so leave a comment below!

Recommended Posts
Showing 2 comments
  • Nalei

    Can I see a picture of this wonderful basket of yours?

  • ciaralisette

    Thanks for commenting, Nalei! Absolutely! I’ll take a photo or two and put it on the article!

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt