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I’ve personally had a couple of these for a few years now, and they’re still holding up perfectly well! And I run them through the top rack of the dishwasher all the time.
Promising review: “I’ve tried a LOT of reusable bags as there are a lot of options out there all using a variety of materials. The fabric ones get gross over time. The vinyl ones are hard to clean and aren’t usually dishwasher safe. There are other silicone ones that need a separate rod to close them that you can easily lose. This one is the most simple and easy to use. No separate pieces. Can withstand any temperature/microwave/dishwasher/whatever. And if they get gunky they are very easy to clean and I trust that they aren’t hiding gross crumbs in any of the crevices.” —Megan A.
Promising review: “Love these covers! They are definitely sturdy. The various sizes are suited to numerous containers of foods, from small jars, drinks, leftovers, etc. Love that they are microwavable and dishwasher proof. And they nest together so they don’t take up much room in a drawer. They advertise this as a great alternative to aluminum foil or plastic wrap — I agree!” —NancyinTexas
Otherwild is a queer-owned shop that also has their Anotherwild Fund, which provides a grant for folks who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) who are also LGBTQIA+ working in specific disciplines.
The beeswax wraps are made of 100% cotton and sustainably harvested beeswax. You simply warm the wax with your hands to help the wraps conform to what you’re, well, wrapping! It lasts for about a year — just always wash in cold water — and is fully biodegradable after that.
Get a pack that comes with a small, medium, and large wrap from Otherwild for $19, or check out all their available Bee’s Wrap options, including a 52-inch roll.
Instead, all you do is fill these with your favorite ground coffee, rinse ’em after brewing, and repeat.
Promising review: “The single cup reusable k-cup is highly cost effective. A pound of coffee around $6 (Dunkin’) will produce 50-75 cups, so 10 cents a cup. With Dunkin’ Donuts k-cups running ~80 cents (price from Amazon), it does not take long to pay these off — 20 cups of coffee. I make them up once a week (10 for me, five for my girlfriend). This particular style cleans up easy. Works well and the bottom shape means that you can just drop it in. Of the three brands of reusable k-cups we own, this is the best.” —Jenn Mottram
It’s leakproof flip-top cap is both easy to drink from and easy to clean — no terrible nooks and crannies where mold might start to lurk. Of course, it’s top rack dishwasher safe, too.
Promising review: “I have bought this water bottle maybe four times because I always leave it somewhere. I have never found anything as perfect. I prefer plastic water bottles because I don’t like the taste of aluminum and glass is impractical. This one is great because you can open it with one hand and drink while walking without splashing water all over yourself (due to the narrow opening). At the same time it doesn’t have any fussy parts that are prone to mold, so I am confident I am really getting it clean when I wash it. I also like the ring at the top for carrying and that it is narrow enough to fit in most backpack side pockets.” —callaslilies
Or to replace a lost lid on your ceramic coffee to-go cup! They’re completely reusable and designed to fit 16-ounce cups (aka a medium/Grande at Starbucks).
Promising review: “Ask for ‘no lid, no straw.’ I keep these in the car specifically for drive-through drinks. Fits standard drink cups, eliminating the straw and plastic lid if you use them like I do. Lids stay on well enough and don’t make the cups particularly top heavy. I can fit these on a couple of my own standard reusable mugs too. Quite satisfied.” —Dawn
Promising review: “I was sure I’d break a glass straw by dropping it in my sink while cleaning it so I played it safe and got a set of four. I have now been using ONE straw for months without a break so I may give the other three as gifts! Well, I may give two as gifts and keep one as a back up because I really like it!” —Carla
Get the set of four, two bent and two straight, on Amazon for $12.99+ (also available as all-straight or all-bent).
These are extra long so you can use them with your favorite travel tumbler or fit ’em in a large soda.
Promising review: “I bought these with the intention of using them even if I absolutely hated them because they’re better for the environment and I’m a hippie like that, but I truly love them. I think they are perfect, really easy to clean, and the metal against my teeth doesn’t bother me. My fiance had always been a straw chewer and was was a little upset at first, until he realized that the straw gets nice and cold as you drink, and he got on board. He LOVES the fact that it gives you the feeling of an ice-cold drink with every sip.” —Kate Black
Get the pack of four on Amazon for $4.89+ (available in two widths and three lengths).
Instead of tossing the disposable covers in the trash when you’re done (or having to handwash a different reusable cover), you just toss ’em in the laundry. You can also store them in a plastic container along with your favorite floor cleaner, so you have wet versions ready whenever you need! Saged Home is a small business based in Portland, Oregon that makes all kinds of reusable home products, from paperless towels to cotton rounds to fabric tissues.
Promising review: “I waited a few weeks to write a review so that I could use and wash them a few times. They are exceeding my expectations. They pick up a LOT off the ground (more than the disposable ones IMO). I was initially having trouble getting them clean in the wash until I realized the mistake I was making: I was folding them (dirty side in) when I threw into my hamper, so they were staying folded in the wash cycle. Once I remembered to unfold them for the wash, they came out sparking clean. Love how easy it was to take an every day disposable and replace it with an option that is not only sustainable, but also works better and is cost effective in the long term.” —Janine LaSalle
Get the pack of six from Saged Home on Etsy for $12.50 (available in two colors, although you can only bleach the white).
Each one will last a just week or two, but that’s about how long you’re supposed to keep a sponge, anyway. To compost it, you do have to cut it into small pieces!
Promising review: “These sponges are the best scrub sponges for any category — regular or eco-friendly. They are very absorbent and the scrub side is excellent at getting to hard, crusted-on food. They are very sturdy and durable. I like them so much I don’t want to throw away. Every week they get put in the dishwasher and come out smelling and looking as good as the first time I used them. I am very happy with my purchase. Highly recommend!” —shortnsweet
The handles are completely biodegradable, though you do have to pull out and toss the nylon bristles at the end of its life. Also, four brushes = technically a year’s supply, if you replace every three months.
Promising review: “These are perfect. Bristles feel fine, are full, and do not fall apart. I’m on my third toothbrush now. No problems. I use my old ones to clean my vehicle’s battery terminals and the other as a clothing stain remover. Those toothbrushes are still intact and good for those second purposes! I found these after becoming aware of the negative impacts of plastic and love how these and the packaging are biodegradable. What we do with our money is how we can ‘vote’ to better the environment. Try them out!” —Rosie
You simply mail them back when you’re done — here’s all the take-back and recycling info.
Promising review: “I love these toothbrushes! I get the Ultra Soft, which is actually really, really soft. I didn’t realize brushing was that uncomfortable for me until I suddenly noticed I wasn’t wincing from the roughness and kept brushing because it was so soothing. It has me brushing longer just to keep brushing my gums because it’s actually enjoyable, quite relieving, and just feels good. The bristles are very flexible and fine, getting in between my teeth better, so I all around feel cleaner and better after brushing with these. It’s all I buy now.” —Chickadee
Conscient Kind is a small business based in California that specializes in compostable, vegan, and reusable household, health, and beauty items. And while I do realize the picture says the tablets are fluoride-free, I promise there’s a fluoride option available.
Plus they’ll save you money in the long run. And yeah, disposable wipes can and often do contain polyester and polypropylene (along with other more natural fibers), unless they’re marked as compostable.
Promising review: “I have no clue how this works, but it does! I was wearing a full face of make up. I mean foundation, contour highlight, eyeliner, seriously the whole nine yards. All I did was wet it and wiped my face, and my jaw literally dropped. This is hands-down my favorite make up remover. The best part is that they are reusable so you don’t have to keep buying those expensive disposables that leave your face feeling greasy. And honestly, four dollars? Trust me, you won’t regret it.” —Heather and Ryne Griffith
It’s 33-yard spool comes packaged in a recyclable, reusable glass container, with a recyclable box (some reviewers mention it does ship with some plastic packing materials, which…I guess your best hope there is to reuse or recycle them.) It’s flavored with mint and tea tree essential oils.
Promising review: “This is the best eco friendly floss there is! Tastes great, flosses easily, cute little glass bottle, very pleased.” —meismeems
Get it on Amazon for $9.99. (This company doesn’t seem to make refills, but you can get five refills of a different brand for $14.95.)
Because they’re 100% wool, you can theoretically compost them at the end of their life (though they should last for years — or at least 1000 loads!) You can lightly scent them with a few drops of your favorite essential oils or even a fresh clean cotton fragrance oil ($5.95).
Promising review: “Love these things! I got tired of dryer sheets and found forums about products like this. My weighted blanket (15 pounds) drying time got cut in half just like my work clothes. My boys clothes dry much faster and smell great with the essential oils. Do you hate pulling fitted sheets out of the dryer? It is all good with these. Towels a bit damp in the middle? Not any more with a decrease drying time.” —P. White
And once you have ’em, you can always just buy ink refills, or recycle the pens without the ink.
Promising review: “I wanted a ballpoint pen that was refillable, made of recycled material, and easy to write with. These pens meet my criteria. They offer much smoother writing than other pens I have been using, and they will help reduce plastic waste.” —SFloyd
Get them on Amazon: the pack of five pens (in blue, black, purple, red, and green) for $5.99, or if you’re more of a blue-or-black ink person, get a pack of 12 for $14.99.
Each one collapses to just 1.2 inches high. Of course, they’re also microwave and top-rack dishwasher safe!
Promising review: “What a great product. They fold up nice and fit in my purse to take restaurant leftovers home in. They store well in the cupboard too. They do hold odor a bit but if you pop them in the top rack of the dishwasher it gets the odor out, even with onion!” —Layne Seed
Ruby Love is a Black woman-owned company. You can either wear ’em alone because they have a built-in absorbent liner, or slide a pad into the interior pocket to hold it in place. You can choose or mix-and-match their hipster and bikini styles. And yes, you can wash and dry them!
Emma Lord, my colleague and an editor here, has tried the brand’s sleep shorts ($39) and loves them; she says: “I am a person with an aggressive uterus and an even more aggressive dislike of tampons, so I love these period sleep shorts from Ruby Love — on lighter days you can wear them as is, and on heavier days you can pair them with a pad. It’s just nice to have a lil’ extra backup, plus if you ‘leak’ it comes right out of these shorts when you’re washing and wringing them out before putting them in the washing machine anyway. TAKE THAT, UTERINE LINING!”
Get your custom pack of four pairs of underwear from Ruby Love for $69.99 (available in sizes Juniors–3X and three color options). That comes to about $17.50 each, which is some savings over their $19.99/individual pair price. Or shop all of their period underwear here.
Promising review: “I initially bought these as I have to pack my daughter’s lunch for preschool every day. I end up using them just as much as she does as they are the perfect size for my lunches and save me from having to use plastic. I am not a big chopstick fan, but my husband uses them almost daily. They are a great deal smaller than regular utensils, but my husband and I do not have any issues with the size. The utensils have a very cute design on them so it’s easy to see which ones are for our lunches after they are washed.” —Torie
Think of all the little plastic wrappers around all the popcorn bags that you’ve tossed over the years: this can start replacing each and every one of your future wrappers. And everything but the lid is top-rack dishwasher safe, to boot.
Promising review: “If you want fast air-popped popcorn for a fast, low-calorie snack, this is the product for you. So much easier than having to plug in an electrical popper, clean it, and find a place to store it, etc. I saw this popper online and knew this was what I was looking for…..not expensive, a simple concept, and super easy to use!!! This popcorn popper is easy to use in the microwave and easy to wash and store. I love that it collapses and stores in a very small space. I let mine air dry after washing. A perfect product!!!” —C.W.
Apparently one of these can replace up to 15 paper towels. They are packaged in plastic, but it’s compostable; and when they get dirty, you can run them through the washer or dishwasher (just hang dry and skip the fabric softener).
Promising review: “I love them! They are so much easier to use to clean the counters, stovetop, sink faucets, etc. because they are big and cover more surface area per swipe. They rinse and dry quickly. I’ve been using the same one for a few weeks now, haven’t seen it get gross or slimy. I do always dry it out at the end of the night though, hang it on the sink faucet and that’s it.” —MichelCreek
Promising review: “This is the best natural gum I have tried. I tried the mint and I’m glad I did. Very cool and refreshing. This gum isn’t sweetened with chemicals so it doesn’t taste as sweet as commercial gums, but it has a great minty flavor and definitely leaves your mouth feeling clean. It is soft and has a pleasant texture and the flavor lasts about a half hour for me. I find it gets a little sticky after a while but it seems to be better if you chew two pieces as a time. It blows some pretty nice bubbles, too!” —The Purple Onion
Get six packs on Amazon for $14.88+ (or about $2.49 per pack; 12 flavors available, plus three varieties of sampler packs).
Promising review: “I bought these bags because I was trying to cut down on my plastic use, and I realized that if I was bringing reusable grocery bags to the store, why couldn’t I bring reusable produce bags too? They’re great at the grocery store, where there is always a bag at hand, so you don’t have to go searching for a dispenser. If the bags do get dirty, I just throw them in with a load of towels, and they’re good as new. So far they’ve held up for about six months very well.” —Meghan Jenks
Granted, these are also made of plastic, just a more durable kind. If you’re looking to boycott plastic entirely, you can get a set of six 100% cotton produce bags for $13.65.
Promising review: “I LOVE these bags! They are big and roomy and have nice long straps that seem to be very sturdy. I bought two sets of three packs, because I have three tweens and they eat all the time, so my grocery lists are long. I was worried that I would forget to take them to the store with me, but as soon as I unload groceries, I gather all the bags back up and put them in the middle of my truck so they’re always handy.” —KLB
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