7 “Ditch-disposable” Handbag Essentials

We’ve all heard the terrifying quote of there being more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. This rise is being affected by the addiction we have to the convenience of single use plastics such as water bottles, food packaging and shopping bags. So here are 7 simple changes to ditch the disposables and be conscious of what we’re using every day.

Across the UK, supermarkets have been implementing the carrier bag charge. Since the charge began we have also seen Tesco scrap the 5p single use carrier bags in replacement for 10p “bags-for-life” with several other chains debating following suit.

You never know when you might need to pop into the shop; whether it’s to buy some groceries for dinner or a last minute birthday presents you’ve forgotten, so keep a tote bag or reusable supermarket bag-for-life in your handbag for good measure.

Another quick switch for your handbag is to ditch the packets of tissues that you’re constantly throwing out and instead pick up a reusable, cotton handkerchief. There are a whole range of patterns, colours and sizes available on Etsy if you’d like something a little more fun.

With the newly proposed 25p “latte-levy” on disposable coffee cups it was discovered that the UK are throwing away 2.5 billion coffee cups each year. Environmental Audit Committee Chair, Mary Creagh MP, said it was “enough to circle the planet five and a half times”.

Instead of adding to this, you can pick up a reusable coffee cup made from glass, bamboo, silicone or even a ceramic one! Many cafes are even stocking their own, meaning you can support your favourite brands without purchasing paper cups each time you buy a coffee-to-go.

Another staple item in handbags is stationery – notebooks, pens, diaries and post-it notes. Although it may be hard to find  reusable alternatives aside from going completely digital, many companies offer items made from 100% recycled materials, such as the Paperchase Eco range.

Instead of taking a disposable, plastic straw for your drinks, keep a handy substitute nearby.

There are several different options including metal, paper or even just reusable plastic.

For only £7.99, this set of 8 metal straws come with a little pouch, making it easier to carry them in your handbag!


A large percentage of us carry some kind of beauty product in our bags on a daily basis. Whether it’s a hand cream, a lip balm or a moisturiser – but a lot of those items come in throw away bottles and tubs.

An easy switch would be to take a look at the availability of reusing the pots from your beauty products. Plenty of organisations (EG, Mac Cosmetics, Garnier and Lush) now offer schemes in which you can return pots, packaging etc in trade for a free refill or new product.

If that isn’t an option, try reusing the pots by making your own beauty products before recycling them!

Similarly to coffee cups, the demand of the “on-the-go” lifestyle and our constantly busy culture is causing a growth in the amount of single-use plastic bottles produced each year.

A prediction shows an increase in production of PET plastic bottles by over 90 billion per year by 2021.

In 2016, recent studies show, there were 485 billion PET bottles manufactured (an increase of approx 10 billion over two years). A prediction has been made that within another 5 years, a further increase of 100 billion plastic bottles will be produced each year.

To combat these growing figures, keep a reusable drinks bottle in your handbag to avoid buying new bottles throughout the day!


What alternatives do you carry in your handbag? If you switch to any of these – feel free to show us and join #TheEcoHive across social media!

For more inspiration, our Handbag Essentials moodboard can be found on Pinterest; here.


* All photos used in this article were taken from Pinterest and have been hyperlinked back to their source.

2 Replies to “7 “Ditch-disposable” Handbag Essentials

  1. This post has so many excellent tips in it, I hadn’t even considered some of these! A handkerchief is actually a great idea, I never even thought about the fact that a packet of tissues is so wasteful, as well as being covered with unnecessary plastic. Also any excuse to check out Paperchase is a good one – the Eco range sounds amazing!
    Thank you for sharing!
    Beth x Adventure & Anxiety

  2. The statistic about there being more fish in the sea than plastic by 2050 really is terrifying!! 😳 A reusable water bottle is an essential in my bag already but I really ought to invest in a hot drinks cup as well, thank you for that reminder! Any excuse to buy stationery is a good one in my opinion so I will definitely be checking out Paperchase’s eco range!

    Abbey 🌿

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