Eco-Friendly Products That Really Work
Buying products that are reusable and “green” has never made more sense than now. As shortages of a wide variety of things are reported in the news, consider these sustainable, eco-friendly options that will last longer than a single-use, be great for the environment, and keep your family from needing to make so many trips to the store.
Hopefully, the shortages will not last long, but these smart products are a great idea no matter what is available at the store!
Reusable Products for the Home
There are a lot of places in our modern homes that use a lot of single-use products. This may seem like the easy solution, but it creates additional waste for our landfills, plus the repeat purchases will cost you more in the long run versus making an investment in a one-time, reusable option.
Take a look at the lists below to see if these long-life products could work well in your household.
Sustainable Kitchen and Dining Products
There are lots of ways to cut down on waste by utilizing reusable products in the kitchen. The products below are a collection of my favorites — some have been especially handy during the paper-product shortages at the grocery stores!).
Washable Cloth Napkins
Not only eco-friendly, but cloth napkins also add an element of style to your meals that a paper napkin just can’t do. We keep a few different styles at our home for different occasions (everyday cotton-blend, a wrinkle-resistant style, plus a couple that are just pretty and decorative). As a bonus, there are lots of online tutorials on cool napkin folding to dress up your table (a great project for kids!).
Reusable Kitchen Towels
Paper towels are very convenient and can seem like a necessity of modern life, but when there are shortages at the stores, it’s helpful to have alternatives available. Keep a stash of eco-friendly washable kitchen towels handy to make sure that you are ready for tackling messes in your kitchen and elsewhere around the house.
Reusable Water Bottles
Carrying a reusable water bottle is a great way to ensure that you always have water on hand to stay properly hydrated. Choose a permanent bottle that fits your lifestyle and fill it with water or other beverages from home.
Reduce the need to purchase bottled water from stores by improving your tap water with a water filter. If the water from your tap isn’t safe, consider a tabletop water distiller.
Reduce the need for so many bottles and trips to the store for soda with a soda-making machine at home. Purchase concentrated syrup refills or infuse sodas with your own recipes and flavors.
Fans of the Bubly brand will be excited to know that they can purchase their favorite Bubly flavor drops for soda makers!
Hot / Cold Mugs
A reusable mug is not only more eco-friendly, but these insulated mugs will also help to keep your drink hot for much longer (or your iced coffee drink cold).
Plastic straws get a bad rap for causing so much pollution, and the other types of disposable straws get mixed reviews (paper straws have lots of haters while bamboo straws might be a happy medium). However, you may want to consider investing in one of the types of straws that are built to last. Personally, I enjoy drinking out of ceramic/glass products, but today you can find straws made of glass, metal, and BPA-free silicone too!
Silicone Baking Mats
These food-safe reusable baking mats will keep your food from sticking when it cooks. Allows for easy cleanup and eliminates the need for parchment paper and/or foil in some dishes.
Silicone Baking Tools
In addition to reusable silicone baking mats, this versatile material is available in other shapes too. No need to line your pans with parchment paper for easy release of muffins, breads, cakes, and more!
Coffee Makers with Reusable Filters
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world and the way that millions of people start their day. No matter how you enjoy your brew, these coffee-making methods can help you create less waste.
Reusable Coffee Filters
For standard drip coffee makers, choose a long-lasting reusable coffee filter and eliminate the need for a disposable filter with each pot of coffee that you brew. As a bonus, the metal filters allow more of the coffee’s oils to pass through into the brew (versus paper filters), enhancing the flavor of your coffee. Note that these permanent coffee filters come in different sizes to fit multiple styles of coffee makers.
French Press Coffee Maker
In our house, there is usually a pot of french press coffee brewed each day to start the morning. Choose from large or small models, and go for an insulated model to keep your coffee piping hot for longer.
Pour-Over Coffee Maker
When you choose to brew your pour-over coffee with a permanent filter, you’ll never worry about running out of paper filters!
Percolator Coffee Maker
This classic method is available in stove-top and standalone electric models. No paper filters are required.
For a small but mighty dose of concentrated coffee, enjoy a hot espresso at home. Choose from stove-top machines, standalone machines, or portable machines to quickly brew a delicious, frothy cup!
Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Fans of cold-brewed coffee will love these cold brew machines that include reusable filters.
Customize your morning beverage with any brand of coffee you like with a refillable K-cup. Multiple sizes are available for different machines.
Sustainable Bathroom Products
These bathroom ideas can help you cut down the paper waste from one-time use items in your bathroom — all without sacrificing comfort or cleanliness.
Many cultures already prefer a bidet over toilet paper for the superior job at cleaning, but it’s also a great way to ensure that you are much less affected by shortages of toilet paper. Bidet models begin with a simple ability to spray clean water and move up to fancier models that include warm water sprays, heated seats, and warm air dryers!
Additionally, if you have the space and someone to do the installation work, you could consider a standalone bidet.
Reusable Swab Cleaners
My sweetie knows how much I love an innovative and useful product, so I was delighted when he surprised me with a set of reusable swab cleaners. These silicone swabs have a couple of different tip styles and can be sanitized and reused over and over again.
Product Spatulas & Bottle Couplers
These products will help you to get the last bit of product from the hard-to-reach areas at the bottom of the bottle. Eliminate waste and save money by refilling less often too!
Foaming Soap Dispensers
Enjoy stretching concentrated liquid soaps into rich handfuls of foam with these foaming soap dispensers.
Eco-Friendly Household Items
These additional items can be used in many areas of your and will help eliminate the need to go to the store as often to replace single-use items like paper towels and duster mop refills. These products are an investment in both quality, simplicity, and less time at the store to purchase replacements.
LED Light Bulbs
While you may need to invest a little more upfront on LED light bulbs, these efficient bulbs will quickly pay for themselves many times over. LED bulbs are now available in most sizes, shapes, and colors and the prices have never been better. Our home uses warm light bulbs in most fixtures (color temperature range of 2700 K – 3000 K) and programmable/customizable multi-color bulbs in select locations.
Microfiber cloths are great at grabbing dust and helping to curb dust around the house. Wash regularly to avoid bacterial and/or viral build-up.
Dry Duster Mop Refills
Instead of purchasing single-use disposable duster refills, try a permanent option made from microfiber that can be rewashed and reused hundreds of times!
Reusable Dryer Balls
Eliminate the need for disposable dryer sheets with dryer balls that reduce drying time and static cling.
Personal Eco-Friendly Products
These products are great ways to make a one-time purchase for things that you formerly needed to repurchase often. For anyone who wears makeup or deals with these issues, consider these eco-friendly options instead of your usual products.
Not only do safety razors provide a fantastic, clean shave, but they will also save a lot of money over disposable razors. A quality safety razor can provide one of the most comfortable shaves, plus a pack of refill blades will likely last for many, many years.
Reusable Makeup Remover Cloths
Even when working or physically distancing from home, sometimes a little makeup can make you feel better on a conference call or when out walking the dog. These washable cloths are incredibly good at removing heavy makeup from the eyes and face. I was skeptical at first, but one use made me a quick believer! TIP: saturate the washcloths with a lot of water for best results.
Sanitary products can be quite pricey, but they are absolutely a necessity. For light to medium coverage, a pair of washable “period panties” can help absorb fluids that would normally need a pantiliner or maxi pad. Wash and reuse to save on this huge monthly expense and to keep additional used feminine products out of landfills.
When sanitary products are needed for monthly menstrual flows, consider using one of the many menstrual cups that are on the market. These BPA-free silicone cups are somewhat similar to tampons but can be washed and reused over and over again. This investment can quickly help to save a lot of money versus disposable products. These have the added benefit of eliminating plastic waste from applicators and the waste from the tampons themselves.
Reusable Cloth Pads
Products like Glad Rags provide a washable and reusable option to single-use disposable pantiliners and maxi-pads.
More Ways to Be Eco Friendly
In addition to the smart products above, you can find new earth-friendly solutions to lots of household challenges.
Eco-Friendly Smart Devices
Small investments in smart devices can make big impacts over time. Consider these additional ways to update and find what is eco-friendly products.
These smart devices can be controlled remotely via an app to make sure you’re always keeping your home in the right zone.
Smart Light Bulbs
Smart light bulbs are not only energy-saving LED bulbs with customizable colors but many can also be controlled via Alexa or an app to make sure that they are never accidentally left powered on.
Smart Power Outlets
Control the power on almost any kind of device with smart power outlets that can be controlled via app or Alexa. Use to easily power on/off devices with hard-to-reach power switches.
Backup Power Sources
These items can literally provide life-saving power during emergencies and reduce the need to go to the store for disposable batteries. Be sure to have at least one alternative method of powering your devices should you ever need it!
Power for your devices is important for us all, but dead batteries can be very bad for the environment. Consider using rechargeable items or using rechargeable batteries and/or other renewable sources.
Portable Battery Chargers
These portable power sources/chargers can be charged at home during times when the power is on, then used as a backup power source when needed. Choose smaller sizes to have something ideal for portability — or something with larger capacity for your devices that require more power. Generally speaking, smaller devices will hold a smaller charge / less power.
If you live in an environment with a lot of sunlight, you should consider keeping a solar-powered charging option for your devices. There are many different solar-powered options from small to large — you can choose a small, portable, folding solar panel charger (ideal for small devices like smartphones), a solar-powered car for transport, or install a solar-powered roof for your home (to take your house completely off-grid).
These first made big news when they were used in urban areas like NYC during the Hurricane Sandy aftermath. These versatile devices both provide heat for cooking or warmth PLUS they generate electricity for your devices! Choose from a variety of small biomass stove models that best suits your needs.
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What other products or ideas is your family using to be more eco-conscious and/or eliminate the need for trips to the store?