Even small gestures can add up and have an environmental impact, whether you’re choosing recycled goods, using natural cleaning products, or finding ways to ditch single-use plastic products and instead buy reusable items with sustainable materials. Using environmentally-friendly products every day is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint and help us uphold our role as stewards of the planet. And while Earth Day came and went quite a while back, the principles and ideals of using sustainable and recycled materials and renewable energy can radiate out long after and into winter.
This shopping list of cool eco-friendly products we spotted online will help you forgo plastic baggies, skip the beef and harness the sun to light up your life — all in the name of being more environmentally conscious.
The war on single-use plastic straws is heating up. Starbucks announced in 2018 it’d ban plastic straws by 2020. You can get ahead of the curve by picking up some environmentally conscious Klean Kanteen stainless steel straws with silicone ends. The set includes a brush for cleaning the stainless steel straws out.
Americans consume an estimated 208 million tons of paper in a year, so even if you’re using recycled paper, it’s still a lot of waste. Cut back on your waste with the Rocketbook Everlast reusable spiral notebook. The glossy paper works with special Pilot Frixion erasable gel pens (and they come in several fun colors).
Writing on the pages is a little wet at first, like using a marker on a slick greeting card, but after 10 seconds the ink bonds with the paper and won’t smudge. Erase as you go with the pen tip, or clear a whole page quickly with a damp cloth. (Cloth and pen are included.)
The Rocketbook app makes it easy to scan and save your notes as a PDF to multiple cloud storage services or email — and it also can convert your handwriting into text. Converting handwriting to text isn’t going to be perfect, but it’s decent in a pinch. As a frequent pen-and-paper notetaker, I really liked using it — especially for my daily to-do lists.
Single-use plastic water bottles have become an environmental plague. Shoe company Rothy’s transforms them into stylish, and environmentally friendly, flats, loafers and sneakers, with styles geared for women and kids. While plastic water bottles aren’t usually the most colorful items, Rothy’s come in all sorts of bright looks with animal-print designs and even flames for the kids. The shoemaker says it’s repurposed over 27 million plastic bottles that were originally destined for landfills.
If you pack lunches for work or school, you could be going through an alarming number of disposable sandwich baggies in a lifetime. These silicone Stasher storage bags can withstand the rigors of microwaves and freezers, and are also just happy to hang out in a lunchbox. Pop them in the dishwasher to clean.
Art of Lunch/Amazon
Here’s a slightly different approach to the plastic-baggie conundrum. These designer bags are made from cotton lined with food-safe polyester. What makes them engaging are the designs: kitties, squids, turtles and mermaid scales make it fun to go eco-friendly. And, yes, they can go in the dishwasher.
Amazon/Flip and Tumble
It’s not just sandwich bags that haunt your home with plastic. Produce bags might seem filmy and lightweight, but they still contribute to the problem. The Flip and Tumble reusable grocery bags are made from polyester and are machine washable. The sheer mesh lets you see what’s inside these grocery bags.
As long as we’re thinking about reducing plastics and chemicals used in packaging, check out these solid shampoo bars from Ethique. These natural cleaning products come in varieties formulated for oily hair, dry hair and damage control. There’s even an eco-friendly cleaning shampoo bar for dogs. The company says the bars are cruelty-free, TSA-friendly and compostable. Each bar will help you feel cleaner and is supposed to be equivalent to three bottles of liquid shampoo. Lush is another brand famous for making shampoo bars with natural ingredients and no harsh chemicals.
Minding your own beeswax is a great idea when it comes to using beeswax-infused food wraps in place of plastic wraps or bags. These biodegradable Etee wraps are made with organic beeswax and cotton. You warm these biodegradable products up with your hands before using them to wrap food or cover a bowl or plate.
Turn your kitchen scraps into gardening gold with a compost scraps collector that can live on your counter top or under the sink. This particular design doesn’t require the added cost and inconvenience of compostable bags. You can just clean it out with a quick scrub after emptying disposable products into your main bin.
It seems like everyone and their mother makes rechargeable batteries, but the Panasonic eneloop versions are popular for their long life spans. It might take a little time to recharge them, but that’s preferable to tossing a never-ending stream of drained batteries into the trash.
BioLite video screenshot by CNET
Going off the grid gets a little easier with the BioLite SolarHome 620 kit. It includes a solar panel, three overhead lights, wall-mounted light switches and a control box that also acts as a radio and gadget charger. The system could be used to bring light to a cabin or camper, or act as a backup system in case of a power outage.
Anker’s portable solar panels can hook onto your backpack to keep your gadgets charged on your thrilling adventures in faraway lands. Or you can use them at home or at work to harvest those squeaky-clean, I’m-using-solar good vibes.
Replace reams of parchment paper with a reusable Silpat baking mat. It’s made from a fiberglass mesh with a nonstick silicone surface and is one of the best eco friendly products out there. It can survive in the oven over and over again, and will also save you from having to grease your baking sheets.
House of Marley
Audio maker House of Marley makes earth-friendly products. This is the company’s cork-crafted waterproof Bluetooth speaker. The cork is sustainably sourced and is both renewable and biodegradable.
Beef production has a worrisome impact on the environment as cattle chew across the land and produce greenhouse gases. Plant-based meat alternatives like the Impossible Burger want to give people a reason to skip the beef. Even Burger King has gotten on board with an Impossible Whopper that costs a dollar more than a regular Whopper.
If you want to give the world to someone who cares about the Earth, MOVA decorative globes use solar cell technology to rotate silently with any ambient indoor light or indirect sunlight. No batteries or wires required.
Originally posted earlier this year.
Senior editor Bridget Carey contributed to this story.