What to bring:
Drawstring bag – it’s perfect for carrying loose bakery items or fruit
Water bottle – you can drink the tap water in Austin
Coffee cup – there's an abundance of coffee shops
Utensils and lunch box – there's plenty of food trucks in Austin
Suncream – if you make your own
A metal straw – they put straws in everything! If you're like me and don't use a straw, make sure you mention this prior to ordering
What to do:
The American culture is more averse to zero waste (from my experience anyway):
Before you order anything from a food truck, explain about the lunch box first. You may have to explain a few times
Be patient, lots of people won’t understand your reasoning
Slow, relaxed and sunny. My first impressions of Austin was lush!
However the waste scene is not so lush, as soon as I arrived me and a friend went to get tacos. Having just arrived off an 11 hour flight I wasn’t thinking properly and ordered from the counter – sadly they arrived covered in packaging. It’s often custom in Austin to eat on the street meaning that lots of food comes in wrappers. Be prepared for this and have that lunch box handy!
On the second day I stumbled across a GIANT Whole Foods Market. In the UK I don’t normally shop here because its too expensive, but I couldn’t help but gawk at the array of zero waste food they stocked.
After more exploring, Gabby took me to… a less expensive shop where they also sold zero waste goods. I couldn’t believe my eyes, you could get sweets, nut butters and an abundance of fruit. I was in heaven.
Although there are lots of zero waste options in Austin, most people I met sadly didn’t use them. Hopefully this will change with time.