Here at The Moment, we spend a lot of our time focusing on the best in clean beauty and on products for the home and kitchen that are non-toxic and better for your body and our planet, but clean products don’t tend to get as much attention in the classroom or at the office. As summer becomes but a vague memory of lazy days spent on the beach with friends and family and our regular school year & work routines arrive to greet us in their always abrupt way, we started thinking about ways to incorporate eco-friendly products into the spaces we don’t call home, but that occupy a whole lot of our time.
While it’s a bit easier to embark on a less wasteful lifestyle in the privacy of your home, it can be tough to assume the same approach when you’re at the office and you notice your co-worker throwing his many ziploc baggies into the trash…again. Living low-waste and using clean products at home while your surroundings at school or the office swing on the other side of the pendulum can be frustrating, but it also doesn’t mean you have to resign to the flow of those spaces and start tossing plastic baggies in the trash yourself. We’ve found that bringing clean practices into these public spaces is still totally possible, and it really becomes more about simple planning and swapping out some not-so-earth-friendly items you might be using in favor of cleaner ones.
These are some of our go-to items we use throughout busy school and work schedules that are functional for us and friendly for the earth!
For the Lunch Packer
Gone are the days of carrying plastic lunch boxes that always seemed to accrue weird smells and impossible-to-wash-out stains on the inside; Yes, you remember the ones. There are loads of lunchbox options from stainless steel bento boxes to reusable “sack lunch” bags that keep food fresh and don’t use any plastic in the process. We love the stainless steel lunchboxes from PlanetBox, which come in multiple different sizes and feature different compartments to keep food separated. The ECOlunchbox is another stainless steel favorite for its kid-friendly snaps on each side. If you’re looking for a cute (and less boxy) option, Homespon reusable lunch bags are roomy and come in multiple different prints of canvas material. Our final favorite in the lunch bag department is the wool lunch bag from Life Without Plastic which is made of 100% unbleached certified organic cotton canvas and insulated with wool.
If you can’t bear to part with sandwich baggies, get familiar with Stasher, who just made “plastic” baggies cute and reusable. Made of 100% pure platinum silicone, Stasher Reusable Bags are completely non-toxic, microwave and dishwasher safe, and can be written on! We love these bags because they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and can hold virtually everything you would have put in a plastic baggie, but without the carbon footprint.
We’re all guilty of grabbing for plastic cutlery (kudos to you if you’ve been carrying around non-plastic cutlery for ages) and for a long time there weren’t very many on-the-go friendly options for reusable flatware until recently. Aside from it’s perfectly simple casing, We like the HansGo Bamboo Cutlery set because it rolls up into a bag-friendly size and comes with a pair of chopsticks in addition to a fork, spoon, and knife.
For the Book Bag Carrier
Often our days see us packing up early in the morning with plans to be out all day until we return home later in the evening, so having a reliable bag that’s both sturdy and can fit all of our things comfortably is crucial. In our bags you’ll usually find a laptop, a notebook, pens, a book, lunch or snacks, and a small makeup bag.
Because we like to fit as many things as we can into a single bag in order to avoid having to run back home for anything midday, we prefer using large totes as an everyday bag. Everlane has long been at the forefront of sustainably & ethically made wares, and their Day Market Tote has long been strapped to our shoulders for the same reason. Made of Italian leather in a handful of cool, muted colors, this is our go-to when a backpack just doesn’t fit the look. Another bag you can find us relying on is the Mara Tote by Raven + Lily. A certified B-Corporation brand and member of the Fair Trade Federation, Raven + Lily work with women from across the globe for bag production, providing them with fair-trade wages, healthcare opportunities, and sustainable employment.
We’ve always looked to the swedish brand Fjallraven for our backpack needs, mostly because they make their packs in a variety of sizes including small backpacks for toddlers. All of their backpacks are responsibly made and able to withstand heavy wear and tear, but our favorite is the classic Kanken style as it’s not too large and not too small. A newer backpack brand we’ve grown to love for their crystal clear transparency on production practices is EST WST. EST WST collaborates with skilled artisans from all over the world in the production of their backpacks, and use only 100% organic and recycled materials to craft packs that are unique and always ethically made.
For the Note-Taker
School & office supplies aren’t usually the first items that pop to mind when we think about or discuss sustainability, yet paper and cardboard pollution actually pose a major problem to our environment, and new observations estimate that by 2020, paper mills will be producing 500,000,000 tons of paper and cardboard each year. It’s easy to overlook school and office supplies as unsustainable because we aren’t necessarily throwing those types of items away on a frequent basis, but those items themselves can now easily be swapped for more sustainable options.
For printing paper, we’ve stocked our office space with Printworks’ 100% Recycled Multipurpose paper, which is recycled from food and beverage containers and ethically manufactured in the U.S.
For writing utensils we like this pencil tin set by Wisdom Supply Co. , which also comes with 2 refillable ballpoint pens, a wax peel highlighter, and natural rubber erasers, and a stainless steel sharpener. We look to Package Free Shop for our organizational needs. Both the three ring binder and 2 pocket presentation folder are made of 100% recycled chipboard, and sport a cool, minimal look that look simple across our desks.
Finally, we like to keep our space in order with desk accessories by West Elm. The pencil holder, paper tray, and nesting tray are all designed from cement, making for a cool, minimalist aesthetic and a completely sustainable option for keeping items organized.