If there’s one thing staying at home during a pandemic has taught us, it's that we use a lot of resources. From paper napkins to plastic storage bags, you're bound to be dipping into your drawer of disposable products if you're cleaning, cooking, and eating at home all day long. Even your morning cup of coffee may require a paper filter that can't be used again.
So now may be the time to switch to reusable products. After all, they’re cost-effective, user-friendly, and easy to clean. Plus, incorporating them into your daily life is a simple way to not only help the environment, but also cut down on household waste—meaning fewer trips to take out the garbage.
Rest assured, the following products aren't your mom's Tupperware and canisters. These products are made for modern users, with innovative designs to make life a breeze. So, check out these reusable products and streamline your life!
1. Silicone bags
Plastic baggies should be a thing of the past. Single-use plastic bags start out as fossil fuels and end up in landfills and the ocean. But reusable silicone bags ($7.99+, stasherbag.com) are 100% pure platinum cure silicone and eliminate the need for plastic bags. They are nontoxic and can store everything from kids’ snacks to thumb tacks. They’re also dishwasher- and microwave-safe, and you can freeze and cook in them. Plus, they come in a variety of pretty colors.
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2. Sip straws
Some 500 million straws are used in the U.S. every day, according to Eco-Cycle.
Since they are too small to be mechanically recycled, the straws end up in landfills, or worse—the ocean.
Why not grab a pack of reusable straws ($25, verishop.com) instead? These ones are made of borosilicate glass and can be used for hot and cold drinks. They are multicolored and come in swirl or smooth-neck options in a set of six, including a cleaning brush. And fortunately, they're dishwasher-safe.
3. Cloth napkins
Do you use paper napkins at every meal? It's a hard habit to break, but cloth napkins are a good alternative since they can be washed and reused.
Consider these hand-dyed cloth napkins ($32+, Etsy). The set of four blue and white 18-inch-square napkins are made of 100% premium flour sack cotton. Their distinctive design comes from the Japanese dyeing technique called shibori, so each set is unique.
4. Airtight silicone lids
Plastic wrap was discovered by accident in a lab in the 1940s and since then has been in use in countless households. But those clingy sheets are a major contributor to the plastic pollution crisis, since they're tough to recycle and made from potentially harmful chemicals, particularly when they break down in the environment.Read Full Article
Instead, you can seal your leftovers with reusable silicone lids ($40, food52.com). The colorful stackable lids are BPA- and BPS-free, platinum-grade silicone and can be used in the oven, microwave, or freezer. They're also dishwasher-safe, stain-resistant, nonporous, and naturally antimicrobial.
The set includes five size options, so you can put a cap on anything from your morning cup of tea to your pot of simmering beef stew.
5. Lidded canning jars
Once upon a time it was trendy to drink water from a Mason jar. Well, guess what? These environmentally friendly, dishwasher-safe glass containers can hold a lot more than drinks. Use them to store dry foods like pastas, nuts, rice, and beans, or sweets like cookies or licorice.
And look for canning jars with an attached lid ($33.30 for two 1-liter jars, Amazon), so you won't lose it. The tight lid keeps food fresh longer, and the transparent jar makes it easy to find what you are looking for when stored away.
6. Pour-over coffee filter
Like the average human, you probably have an expensive coffee habit. But do you have an environmentally sound coffee habit?
Coffee connoisseurs drink a variety of pour-over versions that require a filter. But the type of filter used can be environmentally problematic, especially if it’s a paper filter that is thrown in the trash after use. A lot of paper filters are bleached with chlorine or oxygen and create significant waste volume.
But don’t fret, you can still have your joe guilt-free if you use a stainless-steel, pour-over coffee filter ($24.99, Etsy). It will eliminate your need for a paper filter, and it's dishwasher-safe. Your mornings have never looked so green!
7. Sparkling water maker
Does your weekly grocery list include a case of LaCroix sparkling water? Having a sparkling water maker ($219, Sur La Table) in your home will put a halt on your consumption of aluminum cans and plastic bottles.
Whether you want to create a mixer for cocktails or a flavorful soda, or simply drink more water, a sparkling water maker can be kind of life-changing.
8. Dryer balls
Replace your fabric softener with wool dryer balls ($28, Friendsheep Wool) made of 100% premium organic New Zealand wool. They tumble in your dryer and help separate fabrics, leading to fewer wrinkles, reduced static cling, and a shorter drying time.
Each ball can be used for about 1,000 loads, and it's completely biodegradable and compostable.
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