Trying to live a greener lifestyle can be daunting. I know I sometimes feel like giving up when I think of all the environmental things I should be doing that I’m not. But the truth is, why take an all-or-nothing approach? If we all just do a few small things to lessen our personal carbon footprint, it can add up to some real change. And it’s shockingly easy. And cheap!
To get started, I just logged on to Amazon and pulled together this list of 37 low-cost products that can set me off on the path to sustainability. For example, I plan to swap out my bottled shampoo for these luxurious all-natural shampoo bars that last three times as long, cost less and are nourishing for the hair. I’m also going to swap out my disposable baggies for these reusable silicone storage pockets and replace store-provided disposable produce bags with these reusable green bags. And I’m never buying regular Post-its again now that I know they make recycled (and recyclable) ones.
I hope this list helps you find a few simple, affordable ways to green-up your life too.
These crayon stars are fun to use and made of 100% recycled materials
Designed to fit perfectly in a child’s hand (though personally, I’m dying to try them too!), these 20 star-shaped crayons give you 100 points of color. You can even color with two points at the same time, making parallel lines.
These cool little art supplies are handcrafted from crayons collected by the National Crayon Recycle Program. The box they come in is made of 100% recycled materials too. And to top it off, the purchase of this product supports employment of people with developmental disabilities. It’s an all-around feel-good buy.
Feel good about your morning cup of coffee with these compostable coffee pods
One of the biggest complaints people have about those handy single-cup coffee makers is that all those used pods are bad for the environment. Well these coffee pods filled with delicious SF Bay French Roast are made from plant-based materials and are compostable.
A family-owned, American-made company, SF Bay uses 100% arabica coffee and certified Kosher coffee beans. Their roasted coffee is ground and packaged fresh, and they offer a satisfaction guarantee!
This wrapping paper is a gift in itself. It’s filled with seeds that grow flowers!
This wrapping paper takes the cake in sustainability. It’s made from 100% recycled paper and is embedded with hundreds of wildflower seeds. So when you give a gift to a friend, they can plant the wrapping paper in their garden and watch as it grows beautiful flowers within days. It’s truly a gift that keeps on giving!
Each box has four large sheets (2×3 feet) of gift wrap, six gift cards and a bundle of natural raffia. For a product with so many ecological benefits, it’s shocking how lovely the paper itself is. My eye was drawn to it just for its looks!
These stylish multicolored bracelets are made of recycled flip-flops
There are lots of great things about this product, not the least of which is the retro look with a cool modern twist. (It’s like Madonna’s jelly bracelets from the ’80s went to art college and started their own fashion line.) You get 10 of them in the pack, and you can wear them all the time, even in the shower or while working out.
Not only do these bracelets make good use of recycled flip-flops, but they’re handmade in Mali, West Africa, by women working to support themselves and their families. They’re fair trade sourced, so you can feel good about your purchase.
Give your cell phone an ecological makeover with this iPhone case
There’s no reason electronics shouldn’t get in on the environmental cause. This super affordable iPhone case is totally cute and completely biodegradable and compostable. It’s made from wheat straw — but that doesn’t mean it’s flimsy. It’s been engineered and tested for durability, and the camera and front edges are protected by extra buffer material. It’s soft to the touch and has a slightly matted texture that protects it from fingerprints and scratches. And you can get it in six different colors!
These reusable produce bags are made from recycled plastic bottles
By now, most of us have gotten into the habit of bringing our own reusable shopping bags to the grocery store. But what about when it comes to bagging our fresh produce? I know I still put my apples, carrots, lettuce (and so many other salad fixings) in the store-provided plastic produce bags. It’s time for me to step-up my environmental game!
I’m going to buy this set of four reusable produce bags made from recycled plastic bottles. They’re transparent and so light they won’t affect the weight of produce when it comes to check-out time. They’re large (each can hold 12 apples), have a toggle closure and are machine washable. And they come with a bonus large “everything bag” that’s great for storing grains, bread and more.
Replace disposable cotton swabs with these reusable silicone swabs
Whether you’re using cotton swabs to clean your ears or apply makeup, this set has you covered. You get two kinds of reusable silicone swabs. One swab has textured tips for ear cleaning. Another swab has one smooth rounded tip and one smooth pointed tip for makeup application. Both are made of medical-grade silicone with bendable tips that won’t detach. After use, it’s a cinch to wash them out by hand and store them in their cute color-matched container. There are lots of different sets (and different colors) to choose from. This is such an easy way to reduce the amount of household waste you’re producing.
These vintage red glass earrings are made from recycled beer bottles
These beauties have a sterling silver setting with delicate leaves, petite flowers and vines that wrap around a red glass gem made from broken 1940s beer bottles reclaimed from the woods and farmlands in Pennsylvania. Talk about having a story to go with your jewels!
These earrings are handmade with love by artisans at Bottled Up Designs whose goal is to clear the natural environment of discarded items and transform one person’s trash into another person’s treasure. After gathering discarded glass, it’s hammered, crushed and fired to create these jewels. Each pair of earrings comes with “The Story of the Glass,” detailing the history and age of the glass used.
Plant these pencils in a pot and grow a garden!
Once you’ve worn your pencil to the nub, you usually toss it in the trash and grab another, right? Well with these Sprout pencils, you can take what’s left of your pencil, flip it over and stick it in some soil to grow your own little garden of herbs, flowers or vegetables.
Sprout graphite pencils are made of 100% eco-friendly material and are lead-free and biodegradable. Plus, they’re made using sustainable production techniques and PEFC or FSC certified wood, which means that every time a tree is harvested, another one is planted. You can feel good about that!
Replace plastic wrap with reusable (and cute) beeswax food wrap
Leftovers have never looked so chic! But stylish patterns are just a bonus when it comes to this beeswax food wrap. The real benefit is what it does for the environment. It’s washable, reusable, plastic-free and biodegradable. Handcrafted using 100% organic cotton, sustainably harvested beeswax, organic jojoba oil and natural tree resin, these food wrap sheets are thicker, stronger and more adhesive than many other brands. Each package comes with two small, one medium and one large sheet, and you can choose from several different patterns. And you get a 100% money-back guarantee!
This soft and durable dog leash is made from recycled plastic
It’s amazing what they can make from recycled plastic these days! These six-foot dog leashes come in five colors and two widths (for small or large dogs). They’re made from tightly woven recycled plastic lined with neoprene padding that’ll keep your hands from getting rubbed raw as the dog yanks on the leash. And the snap clip is made of strong metal for ultimate control.
Sustainability and style meet in this crossbody bag
This crossbody bag is a triple-whammy: fashionable, functional and ecological. It starts out with the fabric, which is made of recycled plastic bottles and has an RFID lining that blocks electronic theft of credit cards stored inside. Though compact and easy-to-carry, it has lots of storage space, including three exterior pockets and a roomy interior pocket. It’s also got a key fob, a PU key puller and an adjustable strap so it can be worn as a purse or crossbody. Plus, you can choose from several different colors and patterns! Personally, I’m into the wildwood, which is black, white and mustard yellow with cool pops of blue on the zipper pulls.
This beautiful eyeshadow palette is made with natural ingredients and is recyclable
With color names like Starchild, Magic Wand, Milky Way and Cosmic, this eyeshadow palette is truly out of this world! From smoky plum to shimmery coral to glistening aegean blue, you get 14 stunning shades in matte, reflective and shimmer tones. They’re 100% vegan and cruelty-free, and formulated without parabens, phthalates, talc or mineral oil. Each one is infused with hemp oil to make it soft and blendable with strong pigmentation.
You may have thought that all eco-conscious beauty brands were pricey, but Pacifica proves you wrong. The price of this all-natural eyeshadow palette is on par with drug store brands, giving you a prestige look for half the price. The palette comes with a vegan two-sided eyeshadow brush, and the minimalist packaging is great for the environment. Plus, Pacifica offers free recycling of the palette when you’re done with it. Just go to their website and request a pre-paid shipping label so you can send them your empty container, and they’ll recycle it for use in future products.
Instead of plastic, use a boar bristle brush made of bamboo
If you hear boar bristles and you fear an animal was harmed in the making of this brush, fear not. This is a cruelty-free product. The boars are sheared without hurting them. Those bristles, plus natural bamboo, make this an earth-friendly alternative to a plastic brush. Plus, there are loads of benefits for your hair! Because boar bristles are soft, they’re good at distributing your hair’s natural oils and giving your mane a healthy shine, even without styling products.
Because this brush combines nylon pins with boar bristles, it works well for straight or curly hair and won’t snag or damage your hair while brushing. It’ll add bouncy volume to straight hair and soften the waves of curly hair. And if you’re unsure, there’s a two-month money-back guarantee.
This all-natural, sustainable lip balm is an Amazon buyer fave
It’s hard to beat a product that’s rated a 4.8 out of 5 by nearly 17,000 buyers! This Burt’s Bees lip balm is remarkably well-loved and stunningly affordable (less than $10 for a four-pack). What’s so great about it? It’s made of nutrient-rich organic ingredients like beeswax, natural oils, herbs and fruit extracts, so it’s good for your body.
But it’s also good for the planet. Burt’s Bees visits and monitors the sites where they source their materials, and they invest in those communities, promoting access to clean water, supporting women’s and children’s empowerment, and more. They’re Leaping Bunny Certified for never doing animal testing, and all of their packaging is recyclable. Plus, these lip balms come in tubes made of 50% recycled plastic, and the labels are printed with vegetable-based inks. I could go on, but you’d probably start thinking I own stock in them. (I wish!)
These cool spiral hair ties are strong, don’t snag and are biodegradable
Did you ever stop to think about what your hair ties are made of and whether or not they’re biodegradable? I know I didn’t. And I have about a thousand of them lying around the house. Eek. Now that I’m aware, I’ll be more careful about which ones I buy and how I dispose of them.
These spiral hair ties are traceless (meaning they won’t leave a crease in your hair) and are comfortable enough to sleep in. Though they look like they’d cause instant tangles, users say they actually do the opposite — they help you avoid tangles and keep your hair up without causing that ponytail headache we all dread.
What’s extra great about this multi-colored seven-pack is that they’re made out of Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), which is biodegradable after three to five years. And it’s stronger, more elastic, and more resistant to oil and grease than the typical plastic used in hair ties. Pick from three different multi-color packs, all for under $10!
These reusable bamboo makeup remover pads are an easy way to reduce waste
Though disposable cotton makeup remover pads are at least made of a natural material that can biodegrade, it’s still better to choose multi-use products over single-use products whenever possible. This set of 18 reusable bamboo makeup remover pads is a great way to do that.
These 3.5-inch pads have double-layer softness and are “intelligent stitched” to prevent bunching. They come with a mesh laundry bag and a cosmetic pouch labeled with a slogan I just love: There Is No Planet B. They’re machine washable. (Just follow their simple instructions for best results.)
Save money and reduce waste with a battery charger
Disposable batteries can be a hassle because you can’t just throw them out in the trash when they’re dead. (Or at least, you’re not supposed to. Many people still do, which is terrible for the environment.) Rather than taking them to a recycling center or a hazardous waste disposal facility, why not invest in a battery charger and start off new with rechargeable batteries? Not only is this easier in the long run, but it’s a heck of a lot gentler on Mother Nature.
Surprisingly, battery chargers and the rechargeable batteries themselves (you can’t recharge disposable batteries) are completely affordable. This Amazon version charges AA and AAA batteries quickly via USB, so it’s as easy as charging your cell phone. It has a slim profile and protects against wrong polarity charging and overcharging.
This dentist-designed bamboo toothbrush is biodegradable
It’s not surprising that the simple, attractive design of this toothbrush should come from the country that brought us IKEA, the store whose sleek, stylish wares almost none of us can resist. Sweden is known as the most sustainable country in the world, and the folks at The Humble Co. are on a mission to bring sustainability to oral care by eliminating the more than 10 billion plastic oral care products disposed of every year.
These bamboo brushes are naturally anti-bacterial. The BPA-free bristles are made of nylon 6, the most biodegradable nylon in the world. The handles are made of 100% biodegradable bamboo. The box is recyclable and the inside wrapper is made of plants and is compostable. We’re talking zero waste oral care here! Plus, for every brush sold, one is donated to a child in need.
This slim ID sleeve is stylish and eco-friendly
This card holder is a great way to travel light. It’s made of all-natural materials (cork), which is good for the environment and for animal-kind. (Goodbye leather wallet!) It also has RFID blocking, which prevents your credit card info from being electronically stolen. There are three card slots, one ID window, two compartments for notes or bills and one middle pocket. It’s soft, flexible and durable. What more could you ask for?
Replace disposable dryer sheets with these reusable wool dryer balls
How cute are these tiny dinosaurs? These little balls are an organic fabric softener that you can use again and again. They’re made of 100% New Zealand wool that’s had no dye or chemical treatment of any kind. They reduce drying time, eliminate wrinkles and static, help keep fabrics from twisting and tangling, and even fight lint and pet hair. Each ball is reusable for 1,000+ loads!
This gorgeous safety razor eliminates the need for disposable razors
Say goodbye to plastic! This beautiful metal safety razor with long non-slip handle can be used again and again by simply replacing the stainless steel blades in the chamber. The days of disposable razors are past. All that plastic ends up in landfills or in the ocean, where it contaminates drinking water and wreaks havoc on wildlife. Not only is this better for the environment, but it saves you money too, since replacement blades are much less expensive than disposable cartridges for plastic razors.
Be good to your body and the environment with natural argan oil
Hair styling products and body lotions can contain all kinds of chemicals that are bad for your skin and bad for the earth. That’s why I like to use natural products whenever possible. Argan oil — aka liquid gold — is one of those natural products that works like magic on so many things. Extracted from kernels of argan nuts, argan oil is said to slow skin aging due to its high content of vitamin E and other antioxidant fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 9. This Moroccan argan oil is organic, hand-harvested, first cold-pressed, unrefined and unscented. It’s an all-in-one multipurpose moisturizer for hair, face, body and nails. And the company uses fair trade practices and has a mission of empowering Moroccan women. Plus, the price can’t be beat!
Never use disposable utensils again with this portable stainless steel tableware set
You can take this handy stainless steel flatware set with you anywhere — camping, traveling, or just to the office for those working lunches. The bundle comes with knife, fork, spoon, chopsticks, two straws (one bent, one straight) and a straw-cleaning brush. Everything is made of lightweight food-grade stainless steel (in your choice of several cool colors) and comes with a small canvas carrying case. A lot of reusable flatware sets are made of bamboo, which is a great option, but if you’re someone who prefers a real silverware feel, these are a great eco-friendly alternative. Buyers are crazy about this set, giving it an average 4.8 out of more than 800 ratings.
These makeup brushes are eco-friendly and affordable
This travel makeup brush kit comes with a complexion brush, an angled liner, a multipurpose brush and a micro-crease brush, all in a cute carrying pouch — plus three makeup inspiration cards to help you achieve the perfect look. It’s hard to believe you get all this for just over $8, but you also get the knowledge that you’re doing something good for the environment. EcoTools products and packaging are all cruelty-free and are made from recycled aluminum and plastic, with 20 percent cotton and 80 percent bamboo fibers. On top of that, EcoTools donates to Glamour’s The Girl Project to support women’s empowerment.
Reduce waste by switching to biodegradable dental floss in a refillable holder
This is an easy way to cut down on plastic waste. Next time you’re in the market for dental floss, skip the disposable plastic container and go for this refillable glass holder that comes with a 33-yard spool of 100% silk floss coated with candelilla wax. The floss itself is compostable, as is the Kraft paper box the holder comes in. (The box is printed with soybean ink and has compostable transparent stickers.) So this is a zero-waste product. Just buy a replacement spool of silk floss when this one runs out, and reuse your handy glass holder. This is better for the environment and better for your pocketbook!
This wipe-clean notebook is the answer to paper conservation
If a notebook and a dry erase board had a baby, it’d be Rocketbook. Like magic, the 32 pages of this notebook wipe clean with a damp cloth. Here’s how it works: Use the included Pilot Frixion pen (or a marker or highlighter) to take notes on the dotted grid pages. Then, use the free Rocketbook app for iOS or Android to send your notes to Google drive, dropbox, email or wherever you want. AI technology lets you to use Rocketbook’s smart titles, smart search, and email transcription for easy naming and searching of your notes. Or, if you prefer not to use the app, you can always just take photos of your notes for later reference. Once you’ve backed them up, you’re free to erase the pages using the handy cloth. This is the last notebook you’ll ever need, and the forest will thank you!
Brighten your yard naturally using these solar-powered lanterns
This four-pack of solar-powered lamps is a steal for just under $30. They add a touch of classic style to your porch or yard, and handily come on automatically when the sun sets. I’d love to line the wall along my driveway with these beauties. There’s no wiring required since the sun provides all the power. Just mount to the wall using the included kit. Each lamp has a 10-lumen LED Edison bulb, which is brighter than most other solar lights. They’re waterproof and once charged, the light lasts for eight hours or more.
Ditch the plastic shampoo bottle for this eco-friendly shampoo bar
This shampoo bar gives you a truly zero-waste haircare experience. It’s vegan, plant-based and biodegradable, and the box it comes in is compostable too. But it’s not just good for the environment — it’s good for your hair. It’s soap-free, made of luxurious natural ingredients like fair trade coconut oil and cocoa butter, and pH balanced and safe for color-treated hair. Each bar is super concentrated and equals about three bottles of liquid shampoo, meaning not only are you doing something good for your body and the planet, but you’re saving a heck of a lot of money, too. And as if that weren’t enough, you should know that Ethique (a New Zealand environmental superstar) gives 20% of its annual profits to environmental charities. I’d never heard of this company until I researched this article, but now I think I’m in love.
Stop throwing away sandwich bags. Switch to reusable silicone storage sleeves.
These self-sealing food-grade silicone pouches are amazing! They’re free of BPA, PVC and latex, giving you a safe, sustainable way to store your leftovers or to pack your lunch. They have a pinch-lock seal that’s airtight. You just have to burp it like you do Tupperware. They come in a dozen colors and in all the sizes you’re used to seeing in disposable bags — snack, sandwich, pocket, stand-up and half-gallon. They’re dishwasher, microwave and freezer-safe, so you can use them for just about anything. And considering how much we spend on disposable bags each year, switching from disposable to reusable will save lots of money in the long run. (Even in the short run, they’re quite affordable!) Plus, Stasher (the creator of this product) donates 1% of sales to non-profits that protect our oceans.
This comfy, cute t-shirt is made from eco-fabric
Reduce your environmental footprint with this everyday tee made of 95% natural fibers. This relaxed-fit v-neck (my favorite style, for fashion and comfort) comes in a dozen pretty colors like pink, lavender, turquoise and classic black. It’s made of 70% viscose derived from bamboo, 25% organic cotton and 5% spandex and has wonderful moisture-wicking properties that’ll keep you dry and cool. Just machine wash and dry, with no ironing needed because the eco-fabric naturally resists wrinkles.
These luxury aromatherapy candles burn clean and are easy on the environment
I never gave a lot of thought to what goes into candles, but it turns out some can burn “dirtier” than others, causing unnecessary pollution. Switching to clean-burning candles is an easy way to live more sustainably — and this sweet candle is a great way to start.
Housed in a lovely gold-and-white tin, this aromatherapy candle combines physical beauty with olfactory pleasure. The vanilla scent promotes relaxation and improves sleep quality, while the coconut scent promotes good health. Both are made with highly-refined perfume-grade fragrance oils. The candles are made of pure soy wax and the wicks of lead-free cotton, for a biodegradable product that burns clean for 40-45 hours.
These wood-plastic composite bowls are a step toward a cleaner earth
These 10-ounce brightly-colored bowls would be great for dips, snacks and side dishes. They’re BPA-free, dishwasher and microwave safe, and are made of an eco-friendly wood-plastic composite. With a buyer rating of 4.3 and at a price of $14 for a four-pack, these really can’t be beat.
Post-it notes just got greener! They’re 100% recycled and recyclable.
This is yet another easy, affordable way to up your environmental game. Switch from traditional Post-it Notes to Post-it Greener Notes, which are made with 67% plant-based adhesive and 100% recycled material. They have the same great stick and cool colors of traditional Post-its. This Helsinki collection features pastels (pink, yellow, green, blue and lavender) that “honor the simple pleasures of Scandinavian living.”
This dough set is better for kids and planet than traditional play dough
It’s hard to know where to begin on all the selling points of this children’s play dough set. It’s an 11-piece starter kit with three tubs of dough, a scraper, a rolling cutter, a spaghetti extruder and more. Made in the USA, the plastic components come from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs, while the dough is made with organic flour. It’s also packaged in recycled and recyclable materials with no plastic films or twist ties, and printed with soy ink.
This earth-friendly dry shampoo keeps your ‘do looking fresh for days
Get two bottles of volumizing dry shampoo for an amazing price, and know that you’re limiting your negative impact on the environment. Infused with refreshing grapefruit, this spritz removes oil and keeps your hair looking lush between washes. It’s vegan, cruelty-free, silicone-free and phthalate-free — and the bottles are made of 100% recyclable materials and are recyclable.
This dry shampoo is made by Love Beauty and Planet, a company that aims to do as much good for the planet as they do for the beauty industry. They use only ethically-sourced essential oils and extracts in their products. And they’re committed to meeting self-imposed CO2 emissions goals along every step of the production process. If they miss a goal, they tax themselves, and use that tax money to support third-party programs that reduce landfill waste and overall carbon emissions.
These socks are made of fibers from recycled plastic bottles
Now your feet can help reduce your carbon footprint! (Ok, I stole that line from the product description because it was just so right.) These comfy Gold Toe socks are made with yarn that comes from recycled plastic bottles. You get two blue pairs — one solid cable knit and one Nordic pattern. Each pair has a deep y-heel for stay-put comfort, a reinforced (gold) toe, and a bit of spandex for the perfect fit.