Even small gestures can produce a significant environmental impact, whether you’re choosing, using natural cleaning products or finding ways to ditch single-use products for ones that are , biodegradable or made from sustainable materials. Using environmentally friendly products and materials is a good way to reduce our and help us protect the planet and its water. And while comes but once a year, using recycled materials and can be a daily practice.
This shopping list of cool, reusable eco-friendly products available online will help reduce your reliance on plastic and packaging,and harness the sun — all things that benefit the environment.
The war on single-use plastic straws is heating up. Starbucks announced an eventual ban in 2018, and hundreds of stores and retailers have followed suit. You can join the movement by picking up some reusable Klean Kanteen stainless steel straws with silicone ends. The set includes a brush for cleaning.
The Good Pencil Company
The Good Pencil Company, a certified B-Corp that supports a range of educational and environmental causes, makes pencils out of wood sourced from responsibly managed forests. It also donates a pencil for each pencil you buy and includes a spruce tree seed in each package so that you can plant a tree at home.
It’s reported that 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean from the land every year, and by the year 2050, it’s estimated that plastic in the oceans will outweigh the fish. Green Toys makes toys from plastic that would have ended up in the water, collected from coastlines and waterways. It also makes a wide range of other playthings from 100% recycled plastic materials — mainly milk containers. That’s a sustainable system. They include:
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 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.
Single-use 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 has repurposed more than 27 million plastic bottles that were originally destined for landfills. That’s a reusable difference.
Adidas takes upcycled marine plastic waste, found along the coast, and uses it (instead of virgin plastic) in all its Primeblue line of apparel. The company currently sells shirts, short and shoes made from Parley Ocean Plastic, and has the goal of making its entire product line free from virgin polyesters by 2024.
Nimble makes these phone cases from 100% recycled plastic bottles and donates 5% of the proceeds to a range of environmental programs, including the Coral Reef Alliance, Carbonfund.org and SeaSave.org.
If you pack lunches for work or school, you could be going through an alarming number of disposable baggies in a lifetime. These reusable 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’re reusable and 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.
As long as we’re thinking about reducing plastic 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 of three bottles of liquid shampoo.
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.
An alternative pick: Bamboozle, which makes a range of eco-friendly kitchenware made out of bamboo fiber, sells a dishwasher-safe composter that comes with replacement carbon filters.
Panasonic’s reusable eneloop batteries 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/Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/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. The company’s waterproof Bluetooth speaker is made from sustainably sourced cork that’s 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.
Senior Editor Bridget Carey contributed to this story.