Skip To Content

    20 Cheap Products To Replace A Whole Bunch Of Disposable Plastic

    Small things to help the planet.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI β€” prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. A set of glass straws β€” if you currently use plastic ones, just think of how many you'll be able to replace when you upgrade to these beauties.

    These come with a brush for easy cleaning.

    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!" β€”Carla

    Get the set of four on Amazon for $7.99.

    2. Or a set of stainless steel straws great for stashing in your purse or backpack so you can always refuse a plastic one at the restaurant or movie theater.,

    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." β€”Kate Black

    Get the pack of four on Amazon for $4.99.

    3. A pack of three reusable plastic K-cups that, besides just saving plastic, will also save you lots of money because you don't have to keep buying the refills.,

    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 β€” 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." β€”Jenn Mottram

    Get the pack of four on Amazon for $9.95.

    4. A small snack-size reusable bag, so you can get all the functionality of a regular plastic bag with none of the waste.

    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." β€”Megan A.

    Get one from Amazon for $9.99 (larger styles also available, for more than $10).

    5. And some silicone lids that stretch to fit over all shapes and sizes of dishes, replacing a bunch of plastic wrap and foil with something reusable, flexible, and just plain useful.

    Naturally, they're top-rack dishwasher safe.

    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 β€” I agree!" β€”NancyinTexas

    Get the set of six on Amazon for $10.99 (eek, I know, $1 over!!)

    6. A basic reusable water bottle if you don't have one already, because just think of how many single-use plastic bottles it could replace in its lifetime!

    It's leakproof flip-top cap is both easy to drink from and easy to clean β€” 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." β€”callaslilies

    Get it from Amazon for $6.99 (four colors).

    7. A pack of four silicone lids to cap off your daily medium-sized coffee from your favorite barista.,

    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: "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." β€”Dawn

    Get the pack of four on Amazon for $7.99.

    8. A pack of six scrubbing sponges that are 100% compostable and biodegradable, unlike that regular brightly-colored sponge you've been using for years.

    Each one will last a just week or two, but that's about how long you're supposed to keep a sponge, anyway.

    Promising review: "These are really great sponges. It really bugs me when people complain that environmentally friendly products aren't as effective as their "conventional" counterparts. Does this sponge last as long as a Scotch Brite regular sponge? No. But it does almost as good a job, and is very cheap for how long it lasts." β€”Buyer

    Get the pack of six on Amazon for $9.75.

    9. Some bamboo toothbrushes so you can shine up your smile without contributing yet another big piece of plastic to your local landfill.

    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!" β€”Rosie

    Get them on Amazon for $10.97 (or about $2.74 per brush).

    10. Or these toothbrushes β€” they're made of 100% recycled plastic *and* you can mail them in after you're finished using them to be recycled again.,

    You can also just simply drop them off at certain Whole Foods locations, depending on where you live! 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." β€”Chickadee

    Get a pack of six on Amazon for $19.07 (about $3.18 per brush).

    11. A vial of silk dental floss because, yes, that classic brand you've been buying from the store for years is just one long strand of plastic.,

    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." β€”meismeems

    Get it on Amazon for $9.99. (This company doesn't seem to make refills, but you can get two refills of a different brand for $12.99.)

    12. A pack of colorful pens that are manufactured with 89% post-consumer plastic β€” the success of the recycling industry all depends on economics, and choosing products like this helps in some small way to create the demand for more, well, recycling.,

    And once you have 'em, you can always just buy ink refills, or recycle the pens without the ink.

    Promising review: "Love, Love, love these pens. The colors are amazing and these write SO smoothly. (Never smear either!!) I recently started using fine point pens for workβ€”I'm in a school and color code things as well as fill in small boxes so I like the fine point. I recommend these pens for any use though. They feel good in your hand and I also like that they are click and not caps. I also feel like I'm making good use of recycling by buying these. Definitely try these because they don't disappoint. β€”Roxane Henning

    Get the pack of five pens on Amazon for $7.99. (More of a black ink person? Get a pack of 12 for $12.37, also on Amazon).

    13. Six wool dryer balls so you can still soften your clothes *and* enjoy that clean laundry day smell, without tossing a polyester dryer sheet in the trash.,

    Because they're 100% wool, you can theoretically compost them at the end of their life (though they should last for years β€” or at least 1000 loads!) You can lightly scent them with a few drops of your favorite essential oils or even a fresh linen fragrance oil ($5.95).

    Promising review: "I've had these for several months now. I was previously using the plastic spiked balls, which were incredibly noisy and beat up the inside of my dryer. The wool balls are very quiet and have done a great job drying my clothes faster and reducing static. I have only had a couple of instances where there was a static problem. I used lavender essential oil on mine and enjoyed that scent. Don't get me wrong, I love the fragrance of the dryer sheets, but with the essential oil I don't miss it." β€”Cindy J.

    Get the pack of six on Amazon for $8.95.

    14. A pack of two travel flatware sets (complete with their own protective pouches!) because there's no need to trash some disposable plasticware each and every time you eat lunch at work or a dinner at the airport.

    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." β€”Torie

    Get them on Amazon for $9.99.

    15. A collapsible silicone microwave popcorn maker perfect for movie night β€” just pour in some kernels, add a little (optional) oil, and two minutes later, you'll be stuffing delicious handfuls into your mouth.

    Think of all the little plastic wrappers around all the popcorn bags that you've tossed over the years: this can start replacing them each and every one of your future wrappers. And it's top-rack dishwasher safe, to boot.

    Promising review: "This is the best new kitchen item I've bought in a while! I use about a quarter cup of kernels and enough oil or butter to coat the outside of the kernels β€” then pop for three minutes. Gets me a fresh hot bowl of popcorn every time with no mess!" β€”Veronica Ward

    Get it on Amazon for $8.99.

    16. A few certified compostable sponge cloths that absorb 20 times their weight in water, making your days of endlessly replacing that empty roll of paper towels (where do they go so quickly?!) a thing of the past.,

    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." β€”MichelCreek

    Get a pack of five on Amazon for $5.16.

    17. Minty gum made with a base of tree sap (aka chicle) β€” many regular brands mix plastic into their base β€” so you can chew 'til your heart's content, knowing it will be completely biodegrade when you're done with it.

    Sigh, I know, why must plastic make its way into gum!!

    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!" β€”The Purple Onion

    Get six packs on Amazon for $14.90 (or about $2.49 per pack; 10 flavors available, plus two varieties of sampler packs).

    18. A pack of three makeup remover cloths that take every bit of product off with just water and a few swipes, letting you ditch those disposable wipes while still embracing your lazy side.

    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." β€”Heather and Ryne Griffith

    Get the pack of three on Amazon for $2.97.

    19. Of course, some reusable produce bags because they can completely eliminate those flimsy plastic store bags from your life basically forever.

    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." β€”Meghan Jenks

    Get the pack of five on Amazon for $8.97.

    Granted, these are also made of plastic, just a more durable kind. There aren't any available under $10, but you can get a set of six 100% cotton bags for $15.66.

    20. And three extra-large cotton grocery bags, so if you don't have enough reusable shopping bags already, you can go with something incredibly functional.

    That's ultimately tough and theoretically biodegradable, unlike many other (plastic-based) tote bags out there.

    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." β€”KLB

    Get them on Amazon for $13.99 (about $6.99 per bag).

    The Earth, seeing how focused you are on reducing all the single-use plastic in your life:

    Universal Pictures

    Shopping for something specific? Check out BuzzFeed Reviews to find the best things for every budget!


    The reviews in this post have been edited for length and clarity.