12 Eco-Friendly Products for a More Sustainable Lifestyle

Go green with these useful products.
Go green with these useful products. / Hills and Valleys / Smart Sheep / Amazon / zubada / iStock / Getty Images
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With climate change at the forefront of global concerns among world leaders, it’s important to take steps on your own that will help make your lifestyle more sustainable. And doing your part to help the environment doesn't have to be expensive; in fact, you can even save money in the long run by making the switch. Here are some eco-friendly products that will help you cut down on plastics, reduce waste, and lessen your impact on the environment.

1. National Geographic Print Grocery Bags, Set of 3; $8 with on-page coupon

These reusable grocery bags feature National Geographic prints on the side.
These reusable grocery bags feature National Geographic prints on the side. / Earthwise/Amazon

According to the United Nations, humans produce more than 330 million tons of plastic waste every year, and those single-use plastic shopping bags you get at grocery stores are one of the worst culprits, with an estimated 5 trillion being used annually. Consider making the switch to these reusable bags, which are actually made from recycled plastic. They're sturdy enough to carry 30 pounds of groceries on their own and big enough to fit a week's worth of food in just one or two of them (three come in each order). Each set comes decked out in National Geographic prints on the sides and are perfect for shopping, storage, and day trips.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Hills & Valleys Reusable Coffee Cup; $15

Hills and Valleys coffee cup against white background.
Ditch the disposable cups and go for something reusable. / Hills and Valleys/Amazon

To avoid contributing to the cycle of disposable plastic cups in the world, especially as iced coffee season approaches, consider switching to this attractive reusable coffee container made from biodegradable rice husks. If you're making your coffee at home and bringing it on the go, it's a much more eco-friendly alternative than drinking out of something plastic that will get thrown out an hour later. And if you're heading out for coffee, some chains even offer discounts if you bring in your own reusable cup.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Zero Waste Cookbook; $23

Learn how to waste less and eat better with this cookbook.
Learn how to waste less and eat better with this cookbook. / Uncommon Goods

Though estimates vary on the exact amount, the average U.S. household wastes a lot of food. According to researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture, Americans throw away about 150,000 tons of food a day, equivalent to wasting 30 million acres of cropland, 4.2 trillion gallons of water, and nearly 2 billion pounds of fertilizer a year. This cookbook aims to help you minimize food waste by providing more than 100 recipes for cooking the food scraps you might normally toss away. Learn how to make vegetable stock from corn husks, biscuits from apple skins, and soup from cauliflower stems and potato skins. Reducing food waste won’t just help the environment—it can also help you save some money in the long run.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

4. Beeswax Reusable Food Wraps; $22

These beeswax food wraps are a sustainable way to preserve your food.
These beeswax food wraps are a sustainable way to preserve your food. / Uncommon Goods

If you frequently use plastic wrap or plastic bags to store food in the refrigerator, go for these reusable beeswax food wraps, instead. This set comes with three wraps in different sizes that you can use to wrap a sandwich or cover a casserole dish. Once you’re done using them, just wash them with cold water and soap, and they’ll be ready to go again.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

5. Brita Reusable Water Bottle with Filter; From $25

Brita water bottle with filter against a white background.
Water bottles like this can help you reduce your plastic waste. / Brita/Amazon

Globally, more than a million plastic water bottles are sold every minute, National Geographic reports. And in the United States, at least, only about 30 percent of those plastic water bottles are properly recycled. Reduce your plastic waste by opting instead for a reusable water bottle. This insulated stainless steel water bottle from Brita even comes with a built-in filter, keeping your tap water as fresh as it can be.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Water-Saving Shower Head; $40

Waste less water with a shower head like this one on Amazon.
Waste less water with a shower head like this one on Amazon. / High Sierra Showerheads/Amazon

Standard shower heads emit about 2.5 gallons of water per minute, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. To conserve both money and water, switch to a more efficient low-flow shower head like this one, which uses about 1.5 gallons of water per minute.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Solar Portable Charger; $38

FEELLE Solar portable charger against white background.
You can charge up to three devices at once with this. / FEELLE/Amazon

About 40 percent of all energy in the United States is used to generate electricity, the Environmental Protection Agency reports—meaning that electricity usage is a significant part of a person’s individual carbon footprint. To reduce your own electricity usage, even by a little, switch to this solar-powered portable charger, which can charge three devices at the same time.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Power Strip with Timer; $26

This power strip will turn off based on a timer to save electricity.
This power strip will turn off based on a timer to save electricity. / BN-LINK/Amazon

Even when electronic devices are turned off, they still suck up electricity—and a lot of it. But you can conserve electricity by switching to a power strip with an on-and-off-switch that easily cuts off the juice to your other devices. This power strip from BN-LINK comes with a row of four outlets on a programmable timer so you can automatically turn off vampire loads while you’re away from home. The other row consists of always-on outlets for the gadgets that need constant power.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Clothing Repair Kit; $13

Evergreen Art Supply clothing repair kit against white background.
Mending clothes you already have can be a good eco-friendly practice. / Bangbreak/Amazon

The fashion industry produces about 10 percent of global carbon emissions, and only about .1 percent of clothing donated to charities and take-back programs is ever recycled. By keeping your clothing in wearable condition, you can avoid contributing to a growing trend of textile waste. This miniature sewing kit, which contains scissors, needles, buttons, and 18 spools of thread, will help you take care of most minor repairs, so you're not always replacing your clothes.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Rocket Reusable Notebook; $28

The Rocketbook smart notebook against white background.
The Rocketbook smart notebook allows you to scan your notes, save them in cloud storage, and more without wasting paper. / Rocketbook/Amazon

If you're still attached to your traditional pen-and-paper note routine, the Rocketbook is the best compromise for you and the environment. It looks and feels like a regular notebook (it's even spiral-bound), but because of the unique paper used, a single drop of water can erase all the writing, allowing you to keep taking notes without going through book after book of paper in the process. And those notes you erased don't just disappear; the Rocketbook is paired with an app that allows you to scan your pages and send them to cloud storage. This particular model, the Rocketbook Fusion, also includes a calendar template, grids, and more.

Buy it: Amazon

11. Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls, Pack of 6; From $18

Smart Sheep wool dryer balls against white background.
These wool dryer balls are good for more than 1000 washes. / Smart Sheep/Amazon

We all want soft clothes that smell nice after each wash. But to achieve this, we have typically had to use things like fabric softeners and single-use dryer sheets. Now you can replace both products with a reusable alternative that's good for more than 1000 washes. These wool dryer balls are made from humanely sourced New Zealand wool and can reduce your drying time while saving you and the planet from more waste.

Buy it: Amazon

12. wegreeco Reusable Cotton Rounds, Set of 16; $7

wegreeco resuable cotton rounds against white background.
These rounds make removing makeup and exfoliating much easier. / wegreeco/Amazon

Whether you’re removing makeup after a long day or want to exfoliate your skin, a cotton pad is an easy way to do this. However, they tend to be single-use items; instead of creating extra waste, swap your regular cotton rounds for reusable ones. These rounds from wegreeco come as a set of 16 in three colors and are made of  bamboo. Because you can wash them with your clothes, you can keep using them for a long time. They even come with their own laundry bag so you can travel with them.

Buy it: Amazon

This article was originally published in 2020. It has been updated for 2022.