Packing A Zero Waste Travel Kit

Very soon we here at Matcha Yu Tea will be saying Sayonara (goodbye) to Australia and a big Konnichiwa (hello) to Japan!

We're visiting Japan specifically to visit our Premium Matcha tea supplier as it's tea picking season but also to enjoy drinking a lot of Matcha and enjoying many tea inspired desserts!

Whenever we travel outside of the home, we make every effort to bring our own reusable items so as to avoid excessive plastic consumption.

So naturally we are thinking about the items we plan to take away to Japan to us to help us on this journey, being that we are very eco-aware. 

We've narrowed it down to the items below and we really wanted to share our tips with you all as well, in case you may find them useful.

So, what exactly DO you put in a zero waste travel kit for Japan?  

We've tried to keep it as simple and light weight as possible , bearing in mind luggage allowances.

For the Flight to Japan /  Eating out / Shopping in Japan


Zero Waste Flight Kit

  • Own headphones (to save taking the ones wrapped in plastic handed out by flight attendants) 
  • Reusable Water Bottle (this super kawaii Totoro was sourced from local second hand market) Tip : Take it through customs empty but you can fill once you pass through or once on board ask a flight attendant nicely to fill. 
  • Reusable Coffee Cup (sourced from Keep Cup) (you could also bring your own plastic free tea/coffee bags along and ask for hot water on the flight)
  • A handkerchief / napkin
  • To Go Wear Bamboo Chopsticks, Fork, Knife and Spoon set (sourced from Flora and Fauna)
  • Stainless Straws (sourced from Flora and Fauna)
  • Japanese Bento Box 
  • Reusable Shopping Bag (we just love our Hello Kitty one!)
  • Beeswax Wraps and/or Reusable Zip Pouches we find it very handy to pack snacks such as loose nuts, popcorn, chocolate, dried fruit in either beeswax wraps or reusable pouches for the flight  You can take these items on a flight but they must be consumed before landing in another country

Zero Waste Travel Kit

With these simple items we can say no to the following disposable items (of which many come wrapped in plastic): 

  • Paper napkins
  • wooden chopsticks
  • plastic cutlery
  • straws
  • takeaway plastic cups
  • plastic bags
  • plastic takeaway containers


Zero Waste Travel Toiletry Beauty Kit


Zero Waste Travel Tea Set


  • Tea Shaker to enjoy Matcha on the go while travelling throughout Japan
  • Small tea canister to store enough Matcha to keep us going when tiredness kicks in
  • Bamboo scoop to measure the right amount of Matcha



We will be bringing along our trusty Tokyo Pocket Precincts which is a pocket guide to Tokyo's best cultural hangouts, shops, bars and eateries and is such a wonderful read, well done Michelle Mackintosh and Steve Wide. We recommend it to anyone visiting the glorious city that is Tokyo!), perfect to fit in your luggage or pocket (see what we did there?) 

Tokyo Pocket Precincts



Also a few helpful phrases to learn to politely refuse plastic.

Saying No to plastic bags, cutlery, straws, napkins etc:

  • Iranai Desu (sounds like e-ra-ni) - いらないです

Simply translates to I don't need it. 


  • Iie, Kekko Desu (sounds like e-air, kek-ko des) - いいえ、けっこうです

Also this simple card below made by Zero Waste Japan member Ricky Wakae explains in clear Japanese that you wish not to receive any plastic bags at all.

No to plastic bag please in Japanese

The text reads "No bags please! - I choose not to use any plastic bags for environmental reasons. I accept full responsibilities for any potential hygienic and food safety concerns arising from NOT using plastic bags, and will NOT hold you or your store accountable. Thank you for your cooperation."


Hopefully these tips will help us and you reduce a fair amount of waste on your travels, Japan or otherwise. 

But big disclaimer alert!

Please read on....

Travelling and trying to refuse plastic is really hard sometimes so don't beat yourself up if you end up with plastic items here and there, especially in a country where you don't speak the language and where your good intentions could be lost in translation.

Often when you're tired or hungry it's even harder so all we're saying is, we get it, no one is perfect, especially not us!  

So please don't beat yourself up about it, just know that you're doing your best and that is simply fantastic!

The journey of reducing waste is very complex so be proud of your efforts, no matter how small they seem. Even swapping out one item like plastic water bottles for a reusable when travelling saves HEAPS of waste!

So give yourself a pat on the back for any efforts you make. We're in this together,  learning from each other and most importantly supporting each other! 

If you have any great tips from your own travels, would love to hear about it in the comments below!




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