Eco-friendly alternatives to disposable home products
The internet is full of eco-conscious home hacks and supposedly environmentally friendly products that are more expensive (even over time), way less convenient, and sometimes aren't even better for the planet.
That's why we're sharing our favorite eco-friendly alternatives to disposables that are genuinely worth using.
These are products we use in our own homes that have ended up being worth the investment and have ultimately made our lives easier.
Although they admittedly do require an initial outlay larger than buying disposable alternatives, they'll also save you money in the long run.
DII Swedish Dishcloths: $15.15 at Amazon (was $15.99)
Swedish dishcloths are excellent alternatives to sponges for doing the dishes and cleaning countertops, and they've become hugely popular. They last far longer than the typical sponge and can be machine washed to sanitize. They're highly absorbent so you can also use them instead of paper towels for mopping up spills and the like.
Guardsman Wood Furniture Dusting Cloths: $11.29 at Amazon
If you're using paper towels, sponges, or disposable wipes to dust furniture, it's time to switch to reusable dusting cloths. Not only are they better for the environment, but they're also much more effective at dusting. We use these for furniture and also attach them to our Swiffer to clean floors and floorboards.
Stainless Steel Drinking Straws: $6.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond
This set of four stainless steel straws could replace hundreds of plastic drinking straws over a year and will last indefinitely if you take care of them. They even come with a mini cleaning brush to keep them hygienic.
Bolio Organic Hemp Cone Coffee Filters: $22.95 at Amazon
Want to replace your paper coffee filters with something you can use again and again? Cut out that weekly expense and try these hemp filters. Hemp is an extremely sustainable crop, making these filters even more eco-friendly than other reusable options; plus, they make an excellently smooth coffee.
Solofill Refillable Reusable K-Cup for Keurig Brewing System: $15.97 at The Home Depot
Pod coffee machines are hugely convenient but aren't particularly kind to the environment. If you choose a reusable coffee pod, however, you reduce the amount of waste you'll create. This one is compatible with Keurig machines, but other options are out there if you use a different brewer.
Home Hero Reusable Silicone Food Bags: $27.99 at Amazon
Instead of ziplock bags and single-use sandwich bags, switch to these tough, reusable silicone food bags. They're great for freezer storage, but you can use them for lunchboxes, too. This pack contains seven bags in two sizes.
Core Kitchen Beeswax Sandwich Wraps: $14.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond
Do away with foil or plastic wrap for sandwiches, half blocks of cheese, onion halves, etc. and use beeswax wraps instead. The wax helps the wrap adhere to itself, but there's also a button for added security.
AmazonBasics Silicone Baking Mat Sheet: $13.99 at Amazon
Some recipes call for the baking tray to be lined with baking parchment to avoid sticking or to stop browning from occurring too quickly. These silicone baking sheets replace baking parchment and can be used again and again.
The Diva Cup Reusable Menstrual Cup: $32.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond
For those with average menstrual cycles, a menstrual cup could replace around 300 tampons a year (or more for those with heavy flows). With proper care, a menstrual cup could last a decade, so that's several thousand fewer tampons in landfills.
THINX Period Proof Cotton Briefs: $34 at Nordstrom
THINX period underwear can completely replace menstrual pads on light flow days or can be used as a backup with a tampon or menstrual cup on those days when a single type of sanitary product just isn't enough.
Anmababy Waterproof Washable Cloth Diapers: $19.99 at Amazon
Just one baby will typically go through 7,000 disposable diapers until the time they're potty trained. The alternative is using cloth diapers that save you money and keep thousands of diapers out of landfills. Although the extra laundry slightly offsets their eco-credentials, they're still more environmentally friendly than disposable diapers.
If you must buy disposable, buy biodegradable:
Some products may not have a suitable reusable alternative that meets your needs. In this case, choose a biodegradable alternative.
The Humble Co Natural Dental Floss Picks: $15.96 at Amazon
Oral hygiene isn't to be taken lightly, so if you need to use single-use floss picks, choose these made from corn starch, which will naturally break down over time.
Plasticless 100% Plant-Based Compostable Straws: $9.99 at Amazon
Flexible straws are essential for some people with disabilities so reusable straws simply won't cut it. Likewise, folks with sensory issues may not be able to abide metal or plastic straws. These compostable straws are made entirely from plant-based material and are suitable for industrial composting.
UNNI Compostable Trash Bags: $11.95 at Amazon (was $19.95)
One of the factors that makes garbage break down even more slowly is that it's usually contained within a thick plastic bag. You can put your waste loose in your trash can and take the whole thing to empty in your outdoor bin, but this can get messy. Instead, opt for biodegradable trash bags, which are suitable for regular or food waste.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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