Trying to reduce waste? Check out these 6 favorite reusable products that make green living a cinch.
Paper plates, plastic sporks, paper napkins… Whether one is merely looking for a way to avoid doing dishes or prepping for picnic season, it’s easy for warm weather months to mean a lot of additional garbage by way of disposable products.
When looking to reduce waste, costs, and exposure to BPA, there are so many reusable products that make green living a breeze.
Favorite reusable products
Some of my favorite reusable products come from thrift stores, where items from my parents’ and grandparents’ day get a second chance at life. Some of the products are new but well made, able to be washed again and again for years of use.
Glass water bottle
In the sweaty days of summer, it’s good to stay hydrated and guzzle lots of water. Rather than reaching for a plastic bottle, I like to carry a glass bottle by Lifefactory.
Because it’s made of glass, BPA is a non-issue and there are no worries about the lining coming off, as I had happen with a stainless steel Sigg. It has a handle on top that makes it easy for going on walks.
The only concern is that with glass, it can get a bit heavy and breakage can happen. It has a rubber casing that minimizes the chance. Although, I did drop a bottle on a concrete floor once. Sure enough, that floor received an impromptu cleaning.
I like to add sliced cucumber and lemon wedges to the bottle for extra spa-like flavor. Plus, it looks eye-catching peeking at me through the holes, inviting me to drink more.
With a cloth napkin in the lap, it indicates that it’s time to slow down, enjoy the moment, and savor the food in front of me. Just tearing off a sheet from a paper towel roll doesn’t have quite the same effect.
Of course, there are lots of screen-printed cloth napkins available on Etsy or at Home Goods with fun patterns and designs. Many times new packages of cloth napkins can even be found in thrift stores.
(If you live in Iowa, Trumpet Blossom vegan restaurant, sells wonderful hand-sewn napkins that I love. They wear well and aren’t prone to wrinkling. They’re made by the chef/owner’s grandma!)
Why save cloth napkins for a special occasion? Make today a special occasion.
Many people only think of reusable bags for groceries, but they’re great to have all the time. I never head to a clothing store, farmers market, or my local co-op without at least one in tow. (The one in the picture above comes from vegan small business, Herbivore Clothing.)
In addition, the variety that neatly folds into itself and can hide out in the purse is especially handy for those impulse purchases. It means less paper sack avalanche under the kitchen sink and less waste in landfills. Plus, cloth bags feel much better on the shoulders and in the hands.
Many stores like Target give money back when you use reusable bags. It’s just a little bit of savings for using something all of us have in the closet anyway.
When it comes to storage, glass jars are incredibly useful. It’s easier to keep everything neat and orderly in the cupboards instead of having a million bags of barley and rice through which to sort.
When I grind my own peanut or almond butter, glass jars make for user-friendly storage. In the summer, they’re also nice for storing your iced peach rooibos tea in the refrigerator.
I have a couple types of glass jars that I especially like to use – vintage jars with glass lids and new jars from Weck. I keep a lookout at thrift stores for glass lidded jars that don’t have a rusty handle and that aren’t too expensive.
Weck jars are my favorite new variety. They also have glass lids and a rubber removable stopper that goes around the top for better sealing. They have a variety of sizes and come in lots of pretty shapes.
Pyrex containers are made in the USA and built to last. They can be used in the freezer, microwave, refrigerator, or oven.
When we go on road trips, I pack plenty of meals and snacks in them and pop them in a cooler. I often bring along cereal for vegan hotel meals. The bowls can be used for quick and inexpensive breakfasts with a side of berries or a banana.
The newer models have lids that seal for better freezing. But there’s something so quaint about the vintage containers with the glass lids. The vintage ones can’t be jostled too much without spilling, but they sure are sweet.
I just have one problem with my Pyrex. How is it that I always have more containers than lids? If I were to find the Bermuda triangle, would Amelia Earhart be there hanging out with 3 of my Pyrex lids? Some theorists say yes.
I’m a long-time fan of glass straws made by Daedra Surowiec at Strawesome. I have a collection of her handmade straws in my cupboard in a variety of colors and styles. There are wide straws for smoothies, short straws for cocktails, embellished straws that are especially festive at holidays, and everything in between.
Whether I’m having a breakfast of a blueberry banana smoothie, refreshing sparkling strawberry lemonade with lunch, or unwinding with a gin & tonic at night, a glass straw makes every sip a bit more enjoyable.
I store my cleaning brush with the straws for a quick brushing before throwing them into the dishwasher. (I recommend brushing the straws right away if you have something sticky like a smoothie.)
I’ve had many of the straws in my collection for years and years. They are still holding up beautifully.