1. Stainless Steel Straws
Americans use 500 million plastic straws a day. That's 182.5 billion a year and as we all know, those straws get thrown away after one use. Not only are they wasteful, but they are pointless. You don't need a straw. I know though, some things (like margaritas) just taste better with a straw. That's where stainless steel straws come in.
Stainless steel straws keep your drink cool, will make you feel cool (or at least trendier), and, most importantly, help keep plastic straws out of the landfill. To clean, just throw them in the dishwasher (no hassle). They can also be thrown in your purse, for use on the go. Drink your frappuccinos or McDonald's Coke all out of stainless steel straw.
Buy your own set of stainless steel straws here for under $10.
2. Bee's WRap
I'm not a huge fan of tupperware. It takes up a lot of room in the fridge and the dishwasher, so I would always reach for a plastic sandwich bag instead. But the plastic sandwich bags take up a lot of space in the landfill, so I was on the lookout for an alternative.
You could compare Bee's Wrap to plastic wrap but its a little better than that. You can wrap up cheese, fruit, vegetables, and bread. Cover a bowl, or pack a snack. Its made of eco-friendly ingredients and can be easily washed. Just run it under cool water with mild soap and then air dry. When it reaches the end of its useful life, it can then be composted or used as a natural fire starter.
Check out a set of three on here.
3. S'well Water Bottle
You've probably seen them in stores, thought they were cute, checked the price, and put it back down. I know I was not with a $25 - $50 water bottle until I heard where the money was going to. S'well is the fastest growing female-owned company in the country (girl power!) and give a portion of their proceeds to organizations like UNICEF and other sustainability-focused organizations.
I always have a water bottle with me. For me, that's what it takes for me to remember to drink as much water as I should be. If I have next to me, I'll reach for it instead of going to the vending machine and getting something that is bad for me, my wallet, and the environment. Since its for my every day use, I want my water bottle to be functional but stylish. S'well water bottles are insulated to keep drinks hot or cold, built to stop condensation on the outside, have a sleek design, and come in solid colors and patterns.
4. Reusable Produce Bags
The place I find myself using the most plastic bags is at the grocery store. I'm not talking about the fact that they double bag every item that comes off the register (which definitely doesn't help, but we'll get to that next). I'm talking produce bags. I pull one bag for one avocado. Then, I go and grab another bag for one tomato. So on and so forth, till the next thing you know, my cart is full of more plastic than it is actual produce. You could skip the produce bags all the together, but then your apples and oranges get mixed in the cart. A better solution: reusable produce bags.
Most reusable produce bags are made of mesh polyester, making them breathable, see through, light, but still durable. This also means produce can be washed without ever directly in the bag. When it does come time to take the produce out, the drawstring and poplock on them makes them easy to open and close. Plus, they machine washable making them easy to clean for reuse.
Check out this set of 15 for $15 on Amazon.com.
5. Reusable Grocery bags
Your mom probably owns these. At least my mom does, and she swears by them, meaning my brothers and I have about 15 bags each. I'll admit though, I'm really bad about remembering to bring them to the store with me. So this is just a reminder, to drag them out from wherever they got put the last time you brought in groceries with them and put them in your car for next time.
If you don't own these: invest. Not just because they are eco-friendly, but because they make carrying groceries 100 times easier. You can pile a lot more into each bag which equals less trips carrying in (unlike plastic, where you have to double bag any bag that has more than 3 items). And a little added bonus, some stores, like Kroger, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods will give you a discount for each bag you bring in and use.