Packing a ‘Green’ Cooler with NO Single-Use Products!

Who else has been totally loving summer this year?! I feel like we have had some really fun mini vacations and lots of good boating days, and in general our family has done a great job spending time outdoors and living it up in the sun.

One thing I have however noticed is that with all of these beach/boat days where you are packing up the cooler and spending the day out can produce a whole lot of waste! From the juice boxes to chip bags, sandwich baggies and water bottles, there is a ton of garbage that one family outing can produce. This left me feeling inspired to pack the greenest cooler I ever had before and post about it for you guys, to give you some thoughts on how to reduce waste for summer family outings. This cooler I packed for our SeaFair Sunday family outing, and I did it ZERO WASTE! Here is the rundown of how I made it happen.

Yeti cooler packed sustainable
My awesomely sustainable cooler ready for SeaFair weekend! All we did was add ice. Nothing was thrown out, meaning there was no garbage for us to tote back – a score all around.

The first easy place to start was with my food packaging. I have a glass snapware set that I love and use for all my leftovers, school lunches, and so on. The thing I love about the snapware is that they seal air tight and do not allow any moisture in. So these replaced plastic bags that our sandwiches, blueberries and other snacks would have otherwise been stored in. Honestly I prefer the snapware because as ice in the cooler melts your sandwiches in baggies can get water inside (gross) or get smushed under other items.

Glass Snapware 1
Our snapware packed up with our lunch sammies and fruit! I went extra sustainable by re-using hamburger buns leftover from an earlier bbq to make our sandwiches. Note – I packed them Marie Kondo style and they fit great, haha!
Glass snapware 2
The snapware stacks great both in the fridge and in the cooler. I love that the container itself is glass as it is a recyclable material and is better for your health!

Bayco Glass Food Storage Containers with Lids, [24 Piece] Glass Meal Prep Containers, Airtight Glass Bento Boxes, BPA Free & FDA Approved & Leak Proof (12 lids & 12 Containers)

The disadvantage of the snapware is that it is heavy, so if you find the weight to be too much I would suggest something like these silicone reusable sandwich bags:

Shark Lock Silicone Food Storage Bag (6 Bags) 2 New 10 Ounce Silicone Snack Bags, 2 Med Reusable Sandwich Bags, 2 Large Reusable Silicone Food Bag, Silicone Storage Bags Reusable

So that takes care of the food. On to beverages! I have this stainless steel water bottle that I use daily to and from work, and I simply filled it up and tossed in the cooler instead of packing plastic water bottles. For my daughter she has these kid-version stainless bottles that have a cap and silicone drinking straw, which is how I pack her beverages to and from the nanny’s house during the week. Lastly, my hubby was the lucky one who got to enjoy a cold one, so I packed him a stainless steel growler! We have a place that does growler fills near our house so he ran across the street before we left, selected his beer of choice and filled ‘er up! This growler in particular I have not been able to find other versions of as we found it at a brewery in Leavenworth YEARS ago, but I have seen similar ones on Amazon. They lock nice and air tight, and the awesome thing is that you don’t have to trek any empties to the recycling!

Simple Modern 17 Ounce Wave Water Bottle – Stainless Steel Double Wall Vacuu

m Insulated Reusable Leakproof -Deep Ocean

My daughter loves these Thermos water bottles! We have a Paw Patrol, Moana and Frozen one. They come in lots of colors and designs!
Thermos Funtainer 12 Ounce Bottle, Paw Patrol Pink

Packing a green cooler yeti stainless water bottles
Our drinks for the day ready to go! That stainless growler would double great even just to hold fresh tap water and keep it cold so that you had more water on hand and didn’t have to pack any plastic water bottles! This works great with a large number of guests and you can pour them a glass of water into a reusable cup.
Packing a green cooler yeti
This growler in particular my hubby got from Icicle Brewing in Leavenworth. They do not sell these exact ones any longer, but do have similar ones! 

Lastly, this wouldn’t have been made possible without my precious Yeti cooler! I am OBSESSED with Yeti products because they hold temperatures so consistently for such a long time. I have forgot to empty my Yeti out once and went back a week later dreading the stench and rotten food I thought I would find inside… I opened it up and there were still ice cubes guys! it hadn’t even all melted. These hard Yetis are heavy, but I don’t mind since we usually bring it on the boat and tote it out in a dock cart, and on the boat I like to let the kids use it as a table. If you do lots of lugging with your coolers and find it too heavy, you can always opt for one of the Yeti cooler bags which are far lighter but also fantastic!

Yeti Cooler White 2
We love our Yeti so much! This is the “Tundra White” color, but it comes in a variety of fun ones.


YETI Tundra 45 Cooler White

YETI Hopper Two 30 Portable Cooler, Fog Gray / Tahoe Blue

So, after reading this post did you see anything that inspired you to ditch any one-use plastics and try to go green the next time you pack your cooler? If you have the right supplies it is actually super easy and will save you money down the road!

X.O. – Abbey Co.

Malibu Boats family at seafair
Look at that trusty Yeti getting it done at Seafair this past weekend! And yes I included a picture of my husband and censored his nipple, this is a test to see if he actually reads my posts haha! Oh and YES my baby is having fun and YES she is wearing BOSE headphones, we couldn’t find her baby headphones to protect her little ears from the roar of the Blue Angels, so that was the next best thing we had on hand! Oh boy, mom life at its finest! 

Abbey Co. Seattle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. I am not sponsored by any of these products, but am bringing you info on how to purchase them because I LOVE THEM!!!


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