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21 Inexpensive Products That Actually Replace A Bunch Of Disposable Plastic

Low-impact living on the cheap.

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1. A set of portable glass straws that'll let you say goodbye to single-use plastic straws forever and ever.

amazon.com

Whether you use 'em with your homemade smoothies or stick 'em in your favorite iced coffee, you could be saving ocean life with every sip.

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 4. 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 a set of four on Amazon for $7.99, and choose either all straight, all bent, or two of each.

2. Or if glass still worries you too much, a set of aluminum straws that you can stash them away in your car or purse to use literally everywhere you go.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Promising review: "I absolutely LOVE these straws. I bought them 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 fiancé, however, had always been a straw chewer and so at first he was a little upset that my hippie save the environment stuff was ruining his lifelong chewing habit. BUT THEN 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, and hasn't been upset about the new straws since.

I also love the frosty metal bit, it reminds me of the old fashioned diners you could go to and get your shake served in a glass cup, with a metal straw, and a second metal cup filled with the rest of your shake. It's a little blast from the past with every sip with these straws." —Kate Black

Get a set of extra-long ones (that fit a 32oz tumbler) for $6.89, or a regular-size set (that fit 20oz tumblers) for $6.89.

3. A set of cotton produce bags so you can quit collecting the flimsy plastic produce bags in your garage week after week, telling yourself you'll recycle them "soon".

amazon.com

These are made of cotton mesh netting and have a drawstring at the top; you get six in a pack (two small, two medium, and two large). Of course they're washable, and hang dry.

Promising review: "I bought these mesh bags as part of the steps I am taking to being waste free. I just got these and already used them to go grocery shopping. They hold weight perfectly, they are light and I didn't overpay for the weight of the bag, and I was able to save plastic bags by putting produce in my own bags. In short, I love these!!! They seem to be good quality, and I think they will go a long way. Definitely recommend no matter what your plans and goals are." —Anastassiya Saraikina

Get them on Amazon for $15.75.

4. And if you don't have a collection of bags you love already, a set of five super durable and washable grocery totes that fold (or, tbh, stuff) into a handy little square.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Promising review: "FANTASTIC BAGS!!! They are large and so sturdy. The parachute material is so strong and holds more than the standard plastic bag. They are washable, which is a definite plus. I love the fact that the pouch is attached to the bag which makes it easy to store in my purse." —dermayka

Get a set of five on Amazon for $13.99 (six color options). Or if solid colors aren't really your jam, check out a set with flamingo, cactus, polka dot, and other prints for $14.55.

5. A set of four collapsible storage bowls you can keep in your car to bring inside anytime you eat out and think you'll have leftovers.

Obviously you won't be able to fit, like, an entire pizza in these. But most other leftovers you could!Promising review: "I love traveling with these collapsable containers. I take them when I am going out to eat and put my leftovers in them. When we're at dinner and my young son falls asleep I'm able to save his pasta for the next day. They are discrete when flattened and fit in my purse." —CareeyGet the set of four on Amazon for $17.77.
amazon.com

Obviously you won't be able to fit, like, an entire pizza in these. But most other leftovers you could!

Promising review: "I love traveling with these collapsable containers. I take them when I am going out to eat and put my leftovers in them. When we're at dinner and my young son falls asleep I'm able to save his pasta for the next day. They are discrete when flattened and fit in my purse." —Careey

Get the set of four on Amazon for $17.77.

6. A reusable K-cup so you don't have to buy the wasteful single-serving plastic pods — which means you'll save $$ in the long run, too.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Promising review: "If the fact that K-Cups are neither recyclable nor biodegradable puts a dent in your enjoyment of your cup of Joe, get this. It works great, is super easy to clean and, unlike cheaper knock-offs, seems built to last. I use this filter with my freshly ground coffee for my afternoon pick-me-up at work.

Highly recommended for personal machines. For shared office Keurigs, there's perhaps the ONLY downside of the filter: you must remove the "conventional" K-Cup "adapter" from the machine before using this filter as it is too big to fit with the adapter in place (just remember to re-insert the adapter on shared machines when you're done...unless you don't particularly care for your colleagues.) Enjoy!" —Avinash Sarin

Get one on Amazon for $7.39. (Regular drip coffee drinker? They won't cut down on plastic, just paper, but you can get reusable filters too — they're $8.95 each on Amazon).

7. Silicone bags with an air-tight seal you can use for almost anything you use regular plastic baggies for — like storing leftovers, packing picnic supplies, or just protecting the sandwich you'll eat at your desk.

amazon.com

You can also use it for sous vide or to steam veggies in the microwave — it's incredibly versatile! And dishwasher safe. (I have a couple myself and have used 'em for a couple of years. I run them through the top rack 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 just 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 to lose. 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.

Get them on Amazon for $11.99 each (available in snack, sandwich, and 1/2 gallon sizes, and multiple colors and designs, depending on the size you need).

8. A pack of beeswax wraps that works essentially like plastic wrap — you simply put it over a dish and press down the sides to make it stick — but you can wash and use a single sheet over and over again.

amazon.com, amazon.com

It's basically cotton coated in beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin, which means you warm it up with your hands to make it malleable, and when it cools it holds its shape. To use it again, just wash it by hand in cold water. (Otherwise those oils and waxes would come melting off!)

Promising review: "I really like this product! I like decreasing the use of plastic and aluminum products when I can. This helps. You place it over the container or around the food, and you mold it with your fingers. You need to press more than just once… You sort of form it to fit with your fingers, and their heat helps mold it into place." —CB

Get a pack of three (one each a small, medium, and large) on Amazon for $18+ (three prints available).

9. A set of five coffee cup lids that will fit on basically any cup you run into, so you can always skip the plastic lid.

amazon.com, amazon.com

You can just pop them on your favorite cup or coffee mug and start your day, or order a fancy drink that the coffee shop insists on making in one of their cups, but save plastic.

Promising review: "I love how many of my cups these lids fit and the fact that liquid doesn't slosh out, which has saved many spills at my house and at my aging parents' house. The brown goes with many of my mugs and fits both standard Starbucks cups, my tall ceramic Starbucks ceramic mug, and even the cheap styrofoam cups used at my work. I may buy the next size up for some of my larger mugs. Very pleased with this product!" —Dylan

Get them on Amazon for $7.19+ (available with all the colors, or all black, all brown, or all white).

10. Or a highly-rated coffee tumbler that will be your morning companion for years on end, because it keeps your drinks hot for hours and seals up tight so it never leaks — even when it's upside-down.

amazon.com

Although it's dishwasher-safe *only* if you get the plain stainless steel version — the colorful options are hand wash only.

Promising review: "This is thee BEST creation ever and IDK why I didn't purchase one earlier in life lol!! This cup is 100% spill proof and ever so conducive to my daily lifestyle. This cup makes it so much easy to toss in my purse without worry of spilling my coffee. The lock feature gives that extra sense of safety that if the autoseal button is accidentally pressed nothing will spill. It also keeps my coffee hot for a long period of time. I usually leave my house a 8am and my coffee is hot through out my morning meetings which end sometime around 11am. " —Amazon Customer

Get one on Amazon for $19.69+ (available in three sizes and 18 colors, although color availability depends on the size).

11. A lightweight, vacuum-insulated, stainless steel water bottle so you can always say no almost anytime someone offers you a disposable plastic bottle.

And still always stay hydrated, of course! Promising review: "When I received it, it seemed to work great but I wanted to put it to the test. So on a day the temperature was 119 degrees (I live in AZ), I took cold water and filled the bottle. I put it in the car at about 9:00 am and left it there all day while parked in a non-air conditioned garage with all the windows closed. At 5:00 pm, we left to run an errand. I took a sip and even though the bottle was extremely hot to the touch, the water inside was as cold as it was in the morning. I actually did a Facebook demonstration and measured the results with a thermometer. If this doesn’t convince you to try this, I don’t know what will. I highly recommend it, and in AZ it’s a Godsend to be able to use this in the car. The bottle also cools off quickly when you turn on the air conditioning. Try it, you’ll love it." —Pat MartinGet one on Amazon for $15.99+ (four sizes and 40 colors, color availability depends on the size).
amazon.com

And still always stay hydrated, of course!

Promising review: "When I received it, it seemed to work great but I wanted to put it to the test. So on a day the temperature was 119 degrees (I live in AZ), I took cold water and filled the bottle. I put it in the car at about 9:00 am and left it there all day while parked in a non-air conditioned garage with all the windows closed. At 5:00 pm, we left to run an errand. I took a sip and even though the bottle was extremely hot to the touch, the water inside was as cold as it was in the morning. I actually did a Facebook demonstration and measured the results with a thermometer. If this doesn’t convince you to try this, I don’t know what will. I highly recommend it, and in AZ it’s a Godsend to be able to use this in the car. The bottle also cools off quickly when you turn on the air conditioning. Try it, you’ll love it." —Pat Martin

Get one on Amazon for $15.99+ (four sizes and 40 colors, color availability depends on the size).

12. A set of six natural scrubber sponges that you can compost in your backyard (after rinsing well), unlike other cellulose sponges made with a mix of natural and non-biodegradable fibers.

amazon.com

They probably won't last you more than a week or two's use, but you're not really supposed to keep a sponge for much longer than that, 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." —Buyer

Get the pack on Amazon for $10.

13. A pack of toothbrushes with a nylon bristles you can pull out and toss before composting the bamboo handle.

There's no perfect answer for toothbrushes, but this is at least a place to start! And all the packaging's recyclable. Promising review: "These are perfect. Bristles feel fine, are full, and do not fall apart. I'm on my third toothbrush now. No problems. Even with the two old toothbrushes, I use one to clean my battery terminals on my vehicle and the other to as a stain remover for clothing. Those toothbrushes are still intact and good for those second purposes! Long product life and can take a beating. I found these after becoming aware of the negative impacts of plastic and love how these are natural and biodegradable, along with the packaging. What we do with our money is how we can 'vote' to better the environment since our system is failing us in this. Try them out! It's basically a year supply." —RosieGet the pack of four on Amazon for $10.97.
amazon.com

There's no perfect answer for toothbrushes, but this is at least a place to start! And all the packaging's recyclable.

Promising review: "These are perfect. Bristles feel fine, are full, and do not fall apart. I'm on my third toothbrush now. No problems. Even with the two old toothbrushes, I use one to clean my battery terminals on my vehicle and the other to as a stain remover for clothing. Those toothbrushes are still intact and good for those second purposes! Long product life and can take a beating.

I found these after becoming aware of the negative impacts of plastic and love how these are natural and biodegradable, along with the packaging. What we do with our money is how we can 'vote' to better the environment since our system is failing us in this. Try them out! It's basically a year supply." —Rosie

Get the pack of four on Amazon for $10.97.

14. Or a pack of toothbrushes made from 100% recycled plastic that you can mail in (or, if you live near certain Whole Foods locations, drop off) at the end of their life to be recycled again.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Again, recycling these is easy: you either go to a nearby drop-off location, or mail them in — here's all the 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. The Preserve Ultra Soft has me brushing longer just to keep brushing my gums a little longer, 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

Get the pack of six on Amazon for $14.34+ (available with ultra soft, soft, or medium bristles).

15. A pack of colorful pens made of 89% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, so even your office supplies can get in on the earth-friendliness.

amazon.com, amazon.com

PLUS you can easily buy refills for them instead of buying new pens every time one runs out. (Or just recycle the pens again 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 work—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. —Roxane Henning

Get the pack of five colors for $7.99 (also available in two, three, and four packs, but the 5-pack's the best value). And if colors aren't your thing, check out a dozen box of these pens with black, blue, or red ink for $18.60, both on Amazon.

16. A set of six wool dryer balls to replace single-use polyester dryer sheets once and for all, while still making sure your clothes are soft and — if you use essential oils — lightly scented.

amazon.com, amazon.com

They may or may not actually make your clothes dry faster, but they will help gently soften things and last for at least 1000 loads. You can add a few drops of essential oil to one or two per load for a light, pleasant scent. And theoretically, at the end of their life, you can compost them or recycle them with other fabrics, because they're wool.

Promising review: "I've had the wool balls 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. After learning how bad dryer sheets are for us, this is a welcome change. I had another very popular, expensive name brand set of wool balls and the static was awful. Not so here. The mark up on the dryer sheets has to be unbelievable. The prices for them are ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, I love the fragrance of the sheets, but with the essential oil I don't miss it." —Cindy J.

Get them on Amazon for $9.95 (and if you have mostly dark clothes, you can get six black ones for $12.96, also on Amazon).

17. A lightweight set of stainless silverware (complete with chopsticks!) that come in a zippable protective case, perfect for stashing in your work lunch or airplane carry-on to use instead of plastic ware.

Promising review: "I have had it with throwaway plastic ware when I travel, so I want something more substantial and reusable — this (minus its knife when I fly) provides me with just what I need, plus a great durable pouch. Quality product, substantial feel in the hand, easily cleaned with no etchings or stampings to catch dirt. I wondered about the chopsticks being part of the set, but I have found them to be very useful not just with sushi but also with other things (think spearing things in small-mouth jars)." —Amazon CustomerGet it on Amazon for $7.99+ (seven colors).
amazon.com

Promising review: "I have had it with throwaway plastic ware when I travel, so I want something more substantial and reusable — this (minus its knife when I fly) provides me with just what I need, plus a great durable pouch. Quality product, substantial feel in the hand, easily cleaned with no etchings or stampings to catch dirt. I wondered about the chopsticks being part of the set, but I have found them to be very useful not just with sushi but also with other things (think spearing things in small-mouth jars)." —Amazon Customer

Get it on Amazon for $7.99+ (seven colors).

18. A silicone menstrual cup that lets you say au revoir to almost all one-time-use period products.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Sure you may use a tampon, pad, or liner occasionally, but for the most part, it'll keep you covered. To clean it, you simply wash it nightly (using a non-oil-based-soap, aka most hand soaps, but not castile soap) — more on care on the Diva Cup website.

Promising review: "I can't believe I'm 31 years old and just found out about this! When it's used correctly it's leakproof, worry-proof, discreet, minimal mess... not to mention no-waste because it is reusable! This is the second cycle I've used it and I'm getting more comfortable with it and figuring out how often I need to empty it. At first I was afraid of it, now I insert it and remove it with no problem. It just takes some patience, getting used to, and time. Its amazing!" —Bips

Get it on Amazon for $17.59.

19. A collapsible microwave popcorn popper that makes perfect, delicious popcorn every time, without an extra bag that ends up in the landfill.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

You can either add a drizzle of oil and sprinkle of salt (or other seasonings!) or skip all of it entirely — either way, the popcorn pops! All you need is tablespoon of popcorn kernels. Michelle No, a Tasty writer, tested and loved it; here's her full review!

Promising review: "This popper folds down to 2.25" high and the lid stores in it so it doesn't hog space in my cabinet. It goes thru the dishwasher with no problem, holds plenty of popcorn and works really well for popping.

Listen for the popping; when it slows down, take it out. It usually takes just two-and-a-half minutes or less. This varies from microwave to microwave and the amount of corn you use. It can burn really fast, so pay attention! You can put any un-popped corn back in the microwave. We did that last night and then had NO un-popped kernels." —Katawampas

Get it on Amazon for $15.92.

20. A package of compostable sponge cloths can replace dozens and dozens of rolls of paper towels and the big sheets of plastic that wrap 'em.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Yes, these are wrapped in plastic, but it's compostable plastic! All you have to do when they get dirty = run them through the washing machine or dishwasher. (FYI, while some people find these to be a good replacement for dish sponges, I've used them and think they're better for cleaning around the house instead of using paper towels.)

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

Get a pack of five on Amazon for $5.16.

21. A sampler pack of gum made with a plastic-free gum base, because who knew that regular chewing gum might contain plastic, too.

Unfortunately, it's true; many regular chewing gums have plastic products as part of their base. Promising review: "This gum is simply fantastic! There is nothing harmful in it, no chemicals, no plastics! It has great flavor, and all the flavors are good. The fennel happens to be my favorite. Having changed to a clean eating diet for a year now, and being a major gum chewer, I never realized how many harmful things that are in sugar-free gum, now I will chew nothing else besides Simply Gum." —Cory EdwardsGet the 90-piece, six-flavor sampler pack on Amazon for $14.24.
amazon.com

Unfortunately, it's true; many regular chewing gums have plastic products as part of their base.

Promising review: "This gum is simply fantastic! There is nothing harmful in it, no chemicals, no plastics! It has great flavor, and all the flavors are good. The fennel happens to be my favorite. Having changed to a clean eating diet for a year now, and being a major gum chewer, I never realized how many harmful things that are in sugar-free gum, now I will chew nothing else besides Simply Gum." —Cory Edwards

Get the 90-piece, six-flavor sampler pack on Amazon for $14.24.

Because the less trash you make, the better!

Comedy Central / giphy.com

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

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