Sustainable Products That Eliminate Trips to the Store

Buying products that are reusable and “green” has never made more sense than right now. As shortages of paper products and other essentials are reported in the news, consider these sustainable, eco-friendly options that will both last longer than a single use and keep your family from needing to make so many trips to the store.

Toilet Paper Hoarding in the USA

Toilet Paper Hoarding in the USA

Hopefully the shortages of toilet paper and other paper products will not last long, but these smart products can help you manage your life no matter what is available at the store.

Reusable Products To Replace Single-Use Items

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.

Kitchen / Dining

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!).

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.

Cloth Napkins

Not only eco-friendly, cloth napkins 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 tutuorials on cool napkin folding to dress up your table (a great project for kids!).

Reusable Straws

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!

Filtered & Bottled Water

Carrying your own bottled water is a great way to ensure that you stay properly hydrated. Choose a permanent bottle that fits your lifestyle and fill it from home. If your tap water isn’t suited to your taste, consider a water filter too for better-tasting filtered water. If the water from your tap isn’t safe, consider a tabletop water distiller.

Soda Makers

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 with your own recipes and flavors.

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).

Coffee Makers

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.

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 style of coffee makers.

French Press

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

When you choose to brew your pour-over coffee with a permanent filter, you’ll never worry about running out of paper filters!

Percolator

This classic method is tried and true and can be found in stove-top and standalone electric models.

Espresso

For a small but mighty dose of concentrated coffee, enjoy a hot espresso at home. Inexpensive stove-top and standalone machines quickly brew a delicious frothy cup!

Bathroom

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.

Masked Woman Carrying Toilet Paper

Masked Woman Carrying Toilet Paper

Bidet

We’ve probably all noticed the great TP shortage of March 2020 by now. Many cultures already prefer a bidet over toilet paper for it’s superior job at cleaning, but it’s also a great way to ensure that you are much less affected by shortages of toilet paper at your local stores. Bidet models begin with a simple ability to spray clean water and move up to fancier models that include warm water sprays and a warm air dryer!

Additionally, if you have the space and someone to do the installation work, you can consider a standalone bidet.

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!

 

Other Household Items

These additional items can be used in many areas of your and 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.

Cleaning Cloths

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 swiffer refills, try a permanent option made from microfiber than can be rewashed and reused hundreds of times.

LED Light Bulbs

While you may need to invest a little more up front 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.

 

Power Sources

These items can literally provide life-saving power during emergencies. Be sure to have at least one alternate method of powering your devices should you ever need it.

Solar Power Charger with USB

Solar Power Charger with USB

Rechargeable Batteries

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.

Solar Chargers

If you live in an environment with an lots of sun, 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 smart phones), a solar powered car for transport, or install a solar powered roof for your home (to take your house completely off-grid).

Fire-Powered Generators

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.

Men’s Eco-Friendly Products

These products are an investment in both quality and simplicity. A quality safety razor can provide one of the most comfortable shaves, plus a pack of refill blades will likely last for many, many year.

Safety Razors

Not only do safety razors provide a fantastic, clean shave, they will save a LOT of money over disposable razors.

 

Women’s 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.

Shopping at a Store in a Face Mask

Shopping at a Store in a Face Mask

Makeup Remover Washcloths

Even when working or physical 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 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.

Period Panties

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 maxipad. Wash and resuse to save on this huge monthly expense and to keep additional used feminine products out of landfills.

Reusable Cloth Pads

Products like Glad Rags provide a washable and reusable option to single-use disposable pantiliners and maxi-pads.

Menstrual Cup

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.

 

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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?

122 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    Hello there! These are great items that you recommended. Interestingly, I actually bought a silicon bread pan today! I have been wanting to make my own brioche bread since the new area I am currently living in doesn’t sell it (Not sure if you heard of 85 degree bakery). The Brita water filtration unit has been very helpful when I was living in the apartments during school. Thanks for creating this list of sustainable products!

    • Alyce says:

      Hi Mike, I think you are going to love the silicone products for the kitchen! They are wonderful products to work with and release food from the pan better than just about anything else.

  2. Haley says:

    These are some great tips! I have paper towels but hardly use them. I’ve been using cloth towels and napkins for YEARS and it makes such a difference. I actually use most of the things from this article except for the soda maker. It’s funny though, because I’ve been looking into getting one for carbonated water. It’s my guilty pleasure and even though I recycle my bottles and cans I know I can help more by using a soda maker instead. I’ll be sure to check out a few of the options from your site! 

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Alyce says:

      Hi Haley, If you enjoy drinking sodas or carbonated drinks, the soda maker is a great purchase. It’s a fantastic way to reduce waste and to make sure that you almost always have your favorites stocked at your house. 

  3. Evelyn says:

    Hello! Great information and products especially for this year and shortages everywhere!!! I love the silicone baking mats, I didn’t know about those! I like the solar power charger too. Oh and the makeup remover washcloths! That will save me some money and trips to the store. Thank you for all of these great ideas and alternatives to the paper/disposable products. Even after this pandemic, it is a great way to move on and be more environment friendly and pocket book friendly too! 

    • Alyce says:

      Hi Evelyn, I’ve enjoyed some of these changes that were made during the pandemic, but will be enjoyed for years to come. The makeup remover cloths have been an amazing and effective way to remove difficult eye makeup (no more pricey eye makeup remover purchases!). Enjoy!!

  4. Vance Clark says:

    Wouldn’t the feminine products pose a sanitary problem if not stored properly after use?

    I believe the idea of using reusable products is an awesome idea. Being one that hates to waste anything I would invest in many of the products featured in the web page. I myself use reusable water bottles and several of the other products that are featured on the web page.

    I believe that the web page has a lot of great ideas and I believe that everyone should visit your web page in order to keep the earth green.

    Great page, Great idea  

    • Alyce says:

      Hi Vance, As with all reusable products, feminine products must be properly sanitized between uses. There are usually specific care instructions with each order. 

  5. Favorme says:

    This is an excellent article, valuable information for women, and every family. And it can’t be more timely than this period as we entering the seasons of festivities. Making use of Kitchen Towels to supplement paper towels is very cost-effective. It saves money, time, and it is eco-friendly as you termed it. I use both paper towels and kitchen towels in my kitchen. I can tell you that paper towels go out so fast, as some family members are wasteful. But as for convenience, it is convenient, in the sense that you don’t need to wash it. I also took note of the idea of buying reusable straws, silicone mats, and so many other kitchens and house essentials. It was very thoughtful to share this article during this period. I believe that people will find it very useful.

  6. wilson kume says:

    thanks for sharing this article with us, the detail is explicit. I know that finding a good article does not come by so easily so i must commend your effort in creating such a beautiful website and writing an article to help others with useful information like this on how to reduce expenses,i love the fire-powered generators and the men  Eco-friendly products,not forgetting to mention the solar chargers are worth trying,thanks and keep up the good work.

    • Alyce says:

      Hi Wilson, The fire-powered generators are a really neat little item to have when the power goes out for too long. It’s always best to purchase these emergency type items in advance, as they can be harder to find when you really need them. 

  7. Skuchmane says:

    Hellooo dear, thanks for sharing the valuable content about all the sustainable products that can eliminate trips to the store. I am doing all I can to avoid unnecessary trips out into the world and having longer lasting products is a fantastic strategy!

    I also appreciate being able to purchase from amazon and have everything quickly delivered with free prime shipping.

    Thanks so much for the resources. Lots of great sustainable items that I hadn’t considered before!!

    • Alyce says:

      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed learning about these great sustainable products that could help you eliminate some of your trips to the store! Cheers!!

  8. DorcasW says:

    Hey, these reusable products are fantastic! Many of them I never knew are available in stores these days. I am happier now that I read your post and seen the display of the reusable products. Our younger generation was going down a path where originality was slipping away as they had come in a time when everything was disposable.

     Whatever is the reason for the reintroduction of reusable products it will benefit the big nations time! I am happy about the glass and bamboo straws. I never really enjoy using plastic ones. Do you think the world will continue to produce reusable products?

    DorcasW

    • Alyce says:

      I have enjoyed having glass straws for drinks – I got a pack of five so there are always plenty for everyone. 

      I certainly hope that the world will continue to find new ways to innovate and reduce waste!!

  9. Christine says:

    This is the right article that many people should read. Using reusable products instead of disposable is really necessary at this time. I remember when we were younger, my mother used a kitchen towel instead of a paper towel. We used a cloth napkin and not a paper napkin.

    Thank you for sharing very useful information.

    • Alyce says:

      Hi Christine, These sustainable products are easy replacements for some of the items that are currently hard to find (paper products, cleaning products, etc). If nothing else, it’s always good to have alternatives to items that are needed regularly around the house!!

  10. evans says:

    These are really excellent suggestions on how to best reduce store trips especially in a time of this ravaging pandemic that has kept and limited movement around the globe.I liked how you drove home so many instances where we create waste by using disposal materials. Not just paper. We use plastic straws and wash them for reuse. In older generations washable cloth napkins, kitchen towels were the norm. This pandemic will have positive outcomes if all of us learned how to use sustainable products.

    I must say that this was a great lesson in how to create less waste products. Providing easy links to purchase these products was a plus. Thanks for sharing this great article

  11. Lizzychris says:

    Wow! This is an awesome article!

    Seriously more than ever, we need  materials that are eco-friendly and  can replace items we buy everyday. Especially now that we have restrictions on movement and little or no income coming in! 

    The list of products you have provided here are just great! I am just hearing about the “period pantie”, “reusable cloth pads” and “period cups”! These are wonderful products. Thanks so much for this list.

    • Alyce says:

      Hi, those feminine products really are a great alternative to the expensive disposables that have been the only option for so long. It’s too bad they aren’t sold in shelves at most stores because they are often highly rated products!

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