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We Could All Take a Leaf Out Of Carrie Yu’s Earth-Friendly Bag

Vivienne Rush Jingkids 2022-05-10

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What's in Your Bag?


Beijing’s an urban jungle, and in any jungle we need tools to survive and thrive. As urban jungle dwellers, we’ve managed to blend practicality with style, resulting in the modern bag. Here, form meets function, and what looks stylish and fashionable on the outside contains all our essential survival tools on the inside. Inspired by this, we ask expats each week, “What’s in your bag?” and get insights into which essentials they keep on hand when out and about in the capital city.



Hey! I’m Carrie Yu (余元), I’ve lived in Beijing for over a decade and I co-founded THE BULK HOUSE in 2017 with Joe. I started trying out this zero waste lifestyle thing back in 2016 and it has improved my life in so many ways. Without realizing it at the time, my parents brought us up with zero waste in mind (even before it was a thing!) – food was never wasted, we only really had what we needed and we were always playing in nature. Admittedly, most of that was for financial reasons more than necessarily thinking of the environment. That thinking kind of went out of the window when I left home and moved to Beijing until one day I started to learn about environmental problems and realized that zero waste was the major solution.



I’ve had this FJALLRAVEN bag since around 2015, I wouldn’t say I love this bag as its actually not that well designed, the straps are too thin and you can’t fit much in the side sections of the bag, however, I have gotten a lot of value out of this bag as I use it about 250 days a year.


If you look closely at the image of the bag open you’ll see there is a new piece of fabric in the bottom part of the bag (Repair, the 5th R of zero waste). When the bottom part of the bag got worn out, I got it fixed for about RMB 20, which shows I do have love for my bag!


Let me take you through some of the items in my bag.



Although I don’t always have every item with me, one item that stays with me always is my reusable bottle. It’s insulated and lightweight so it’s great in the winter to keep hot water or tea inside and handy in the summer for cold drinks or kombucha. I clip a carabiner to it to make it easy to grab and drink from when I’m cycling.



My makeup bag is not very exciting, I just have 1 lipstick, 1 small tin (with some solid lip color inside which I use to add some color to my cheeks), and 1 lip balm. At the moment I’m using the Sweet Orange fragrance from our lip balm range, this is part of our bathroom and beauty brand called Lagom Planet, it’s vegan and only RMB 32.



I usually keep some sort of reusable bag in my backpack, today I had a muslin bag. It’s handy to have to get things like fruit, non-oily nuts, dried fruit, or a mantou. If I’m doing a lot of shopping, I always go home first and grab my tote bag which is hanging on a hook as I step in my front door, that bag has a bunch of reusable bags inside.



I also have a cutlery roll which includes a bamboo cutlery set, reusable chopsticks, and reusable straw with a cleaning brush. This little set is really lightweight and covers me for most eating situations.


The last item I will mention is my cork wallet/cardholder. I used to carry a bulky purse and then I realized it was taking up too much space, so I switched to this wallet. I actually still have too many cards in this wallet and as I don’t use bank cards very often anymore I don’t always carry them with me.



After looking carefully at everything in my bag and realizing that I carry 18 items with me most days I think I should cut this down a little, of course, depending on the day it does vary, but it’s always nice to reflect and the question “How much do I really need with me each day?”



Want to share your Beijing survival tools with us? Shoot us an email at editor@beijing-kids.com, message our official Jingkids WeChat account (ID: beijing-kids), or leave a comment below!


KEEP READING: Olivia Nadine’s Stylish Fanny Pack Is Sure To Catch Your Eye


Images: Courtesy of Carrie Yu

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