10 Eco-Friendly Products for a More Sustainable Lifestyle

These eco-friendly products will help you live a more sustainable life.
These eco-friendly products will help you live a more sustainable life.
Rocketbook/Hills & Valleys/Earthwise/Amazon

With climate change standing 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. These reusable shopping bags; $14

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; $14

Ditch the disposable coffee cups for this reusable one from Amazon.Hills & 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; $20

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. 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; $36

A metal water bottle is far better for the environment than going through dozens of plastic bottles a week.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.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; $37

A portable, solar phone charger sold on Amazon.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 two 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. BN-LINK/Amazon

Even when electronic devices are turned off, they still suck up electricity—and a lot of it. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that about 25 percent of the power used by home electronics is consumed while devices are powered off but still plugged in (according to 2008 data). These so-called “vampire loads” are sometimes unavoidable—appliances like refrigerators are impractical to turn off, after all, and certain TVs and other devices exist in a perpetual standby mode.

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

Bangbreak/Amazon

The fashion industry produces about 10 percent of global carbon emissions, according to the United Nations Environment Assembly, 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; $35

The Rocketbook smart notebook allows you to scan your notes, save them in cloud storage, and erase the page so you can keep writing 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, OKR checklists, and more.

Buy it: Amazon

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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Adorable Products You Can Buy for International Sloth Day

Amazon
Amazon

It’s that time of the year again, folks—the time when we all collectively lose our chill over a slow-moving, two- or three-toed mammal with an adorable squeak and poop that defies physics. That’s right: International Sloth Day is on October 20. Here’s a list of must-have coloring books, onesies, and Christmas sweaters that you can pick up to showcase your love of one of the internet's favorite animals.

1. Cuddly Microwaveable Sloth; $20

Intelex/Amazon

Warm your heart and your body with a plush sloth that doubles as a soothing heating pad. The toy is filled with millet grains and dried French lavender, a combination intended to help you get to sleep easier.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Hanging Ceramic Sloth Planter; $18

FattyBee/Amazon

This flower planter pulls double duty, communicating both your love of sloths and your appreciation for plants. And it makes a tasteful piece of hanging home decor, too.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Sloth Coloring Book; $7

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform/Amazon

Sloths themselves are already works of art, but you’d be forgiven for wanting a few more sloth-related crafts in your life. Now you can make your own masterpiece with this detailed coloring book. All you'll need are some colored pencils and you'll be ready to go.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Farting Sloth Coloring Book; $7

M & L Coloring Books/Amazon

But maybe traditional coloring books aren’t your thing. You’re in luck: Amazon sells a coloring book for the crowd that both loves sloths and laughs a little too much at farts.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Sloth Socks; $14

Good Luck Socks/Amazon

These socks are ideal for people who might not want to wear their love of sloths out in the open but are very comfortable showing it off on their ankles.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Sloth Onesie; $40

Tipsy Elves/Amazon

No list of sloth-related products would be complete without a cozy onesie, and this one from Tipsy Elves is perfect for either pajamas or a last-minute Halloween costume. This onesie even comes with zippered pockets and cuddly sloth claws!

Buy it: Amazon

7. Sloth-Themed Ugly Christmas Sweater; $69

Tipsy Elves/Amazon

Why not celebrate the upcoming holiday season with this sloth-themed ugly Christmas sweater? You’re sure to be the hit of any holiday pub crawl or office Christmas party.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Sloth Mug; $10

LOZACH/Amazon

Embrace your inner sloth and declare your lazy feelings along with your morning cup of coffee.

Buy it: Amazon

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