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We have to have a serious talk about our plastic problem. In the past 30 years alone, global production of plastic has increased over 620 percent. That means that over 300 million tons of plastic pieces come into circulation every year. But … here’s the kicker: only 15 percent of those are recycled. That’s right. 85 percent of the plastic that comes into circulation does not get recycled, What does that mean for the planet? Unfortunately, there’s really no way to make the truth sound good. Studies have shown that at least 8.8 million tons of plastic trash from land-base sources makes its way into the oceans each year.
While we Support recycling whenever possible, eliminating single-use products from our lives is an even better move we can make for the planet. That starts with the easy step of making a one-time investment in products like reusable totes and travel mugs. Considering the 100 billion plastic bags we use every day, 40 billion plastic water bottles, and one million disposable cups that eventually end up in our oceans, these products are a great place to start!
With this in mind, we pulled together a list of all the plastic-free essentials you need to cut this harmful material out of your life for good! Not only are these products reusable, but they will save you a lot of money – and most importantly waste – in the long-run. Who’s ready to #CrushPlastic and start living a non-disposable life?
Ball Mason Jars
These Ball Wide Mouth Mason Jars are more than just a waste-free vessel for your homemade smoothies. These reusable glass jars are ideal for transporting dry beans and grains from the bulk section of your grocery store to your pantry at home. Their sealable silver-brushed lids make them great for storing homemade jams, jellies, preserves, sauces, mustard, and vinegar and they will keep your food fresh for up to three weeks in the refrigerator and for up to a year in the freezer. According to Amazon reviewers, “they wash beautifully in the dishwasher and don’t take up much room, can be reused endlessly, serve for freezing and canning, of course, but day to day too.” You can get a set of 12 16-ounce mason jars for $9.26.
Mastrad Vegetable Keep Sack
Need a space-saving solution to storing your produce? Look no further than Mastrad Vegetable Keep Sacks! These durable cotton storage bags hang on your wall, are machine-washable, and can hold up to four pounds of produce, especially onions, potatoes, and garlic. According to Mastrad, the bag’s “double draw-string designed hanging sack protects vegetables from light and delays the sprouting process.” Does it work? Amazon reviewers report that this product “extends the life of the veggies. We have kept potatoes and sweet potatoes for weeks and onions for even longer.” If you’re looking to keep your vegetables fresh and organize your kitchen at the same time, you can one storage bag for $14.69.
Best Manufacturers Reusable Bread Storage Bag
This Best Manufacturers Reusable Bread Storage Bag is the key to extending the shelf life of your bread and bagels. Its double layer of a twill cotton and polyester exterior and plastic lining help to ensure air-tightness, plus it’s water-repellant! You can bring it with you to the bakery when you buy fresh bread and skip the plastic bag altogether. Best Manufacturers also recommends using it “for bulk-purchased flour, grains, and pasta.” Amazon reviewers say “velcro bands aren’t great, but my bread has saved well and not gone stale.” However, other reviewers mention that crumbs tend to get caught in the interior, so be sure to clean it thoroughly.” Other reviewers say “it keeps bread fresher than a plastic bag, but not by much. It might give you an extra day or two, max.” You can get one bread bag for $13.75.
Lifefactory Four-Cup BPA-Free Glass Food Storage and Bakeware
If you have a busy work week, it’s likely that you’re always on the hunt for a new way to save time. Well, this Lifefactory Four-Cup BPA-Free Glass Food Storage and Bakeware makes it all easy. It’s perfect for storing food at home and its sealable lid makes it ideal for taking lunches, salads, and snacks on the go. It’s made from tempered glass with a heat-resistant, BPA-free silicone exterior that’s oven-safe, microwave-save, and freezer-safe for your batch cooking days. According to Amazon reviewers, these “are great for daily use and for the fitted silicone sleeve makes stacking less worry some as there is no need to be concerned over glass on glass breaking.” However, other reviewers point out that “the seal on lid allows leaks,” so it’s not ideal for transporting liquids. You can get the 4-cup variety of this storage container for $17.11.
Farberware Food Huggers Reusable Silicone Food Savers
Do you ever only use half of an avocado? What about lemons? Typically, you’d save your cut produce for later by wrapping it up in plastic or tin foil, but these Farberware Food Huggers Reusable Silicone Food Savers are a waste-free solution to a common problem. They’re made from a food-safe, BPA-free, and dishwasher-safe silicone that fits tightly around produce to prevent exposure to air. They can also be used to seal cans and jars for later use. According to Amazon reviewers, “they quickly just became part of our normal, daily kitchen tools [and] they are super simple and convenient.” You can pick up this set of four different sizes for $9.93.
flip and tumble Reusable Produce Bags
Never bring another single-use plastic produce bag home with these flip and tumble Reusable Produce Bags. Each of these see-through, BPA-free mesh bags is built to last, even when you pack it full of heavier produce like apples or potatoes. They’re also machine-washable for easy cleaning. Not only are they an essential for waste-free grocery shopping, but they’re also great for carrying travel accessories. According to one Amazon reviewer, “We have had these bags for almost 3 years at this point … There are no holes or rips in any of the bags.” You can go waste-free with a set of five bags for $12.00.
ChicoBag Reusable Mini Produce Stand Collection Shopping Totes
This set of ChicoBag Reusable Mini Produce Stand Collection Shopping Totes covers practically all your grocery shopping needs. Each bag in this set of three is perfectly designed for keeping your groceries at their freshest. The rePETe bag, made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled bottles, restricts airflow and locks in moisture to keep your veggies fresh. The mesh bag, which allows ethyne gas to escape is perfect for all of your apples, oranges, onions, and potatoes. And the washable hemp-cotton bag was made for keeping moisture away from your bulk-buy nuts and grains. Amazon reviewers say “they are sturdy, functional, the colors are vibrant yet pleasing to the eye.” You can get this set of three, plus a tote to carry them in, for $17.85.
Sunny Tag Foldable Reusable Wallet-Style Shopping Bag
If you’re the type to forget your reusable bag at home, then this set of stylish Sunny Tag Foldable Reusable Wallet-Style Shopping Bags is for you. According to one Amazon reviewer, “they are very slim and easily fit inside of your purse or backpack in case you want to carry one or two on you ‘just in case’.” Or, you can use it as your everyday bag! Each waterproof tote comes with a zipper pouch on the outside for holding your phone, keys, and wallet, so you’ll never have to dig through a tote full of groceries in search of anything. Don’t be fooled by their light weight — each bag can carry up to 33 pounds. You can et this set of three for $17.99.
BAGGU Large Reusable Shopping Tote in Elephant Blue
Looking for a reusable tote that can double as an accessory? This BAGGU Large Reusable Shopping Tote in Elephant Blue is strong enough to hold up to 50 pounds worth of groceries and it somes in multiple stylish patterns. If you’d prefer to have it stashed in your bag for emergency shopping trips, then it easily folds into a 7×7-inch pouch. According to Amazon reviewers, “they are so well made, easily washable, colorful,easy as a shoulder bag and convenient to keep in my purse, in the car and i am always prepared to shop.” You can pick up this bag from Amazon for $12.00.
Eco-Bags Products Recycled Cotton Tote
Looking for a bag that’s no frills? This Eco-Bags Products Recycled Cotton Tote will give you exactly what you need. These 16×15.5-inch canvas totes are fair trade, made from recycled cotton, and the seams are double-stitched for added durability. According to Amazon reviewers, “unlike a lot of other bags, these are bigger and “boxier” by design so that they hold a lot.” Others report that after washing the bags, “they shrunk to about half the size,” so it’s best to spot-clean them as needed. You can pick up this reusable tote for $7.83.
Hydro Flask 24-Ounce Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Ditch plastic water bottles and disposable tea cups with this Hydro Flask 24-Ounce Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle. Each sweat-proof, BPA-free bottle is made from a durable 18/8 food-grade stainless steel that prevents flavor transfer, so hints of yesterday’s coconut water won’t show up in your morning coffee. According to an Amazon reviewer, “not only does it keep my cold drinks cold and my hot drinks hot for hours and hours, but it also has no effect on the liquid’s taste.” Also, with every purchase, Hydro Flask allowed you to contribute to a cause through one of their partner charities or non-profits.
Ello Syndicate 20-Ounce BPA-Free Glass Water Bottle With Flip Lid
This Ello Syndicate 20-Ounce BPA-Free Glass Water Bottle With Flip Lid is the perfect waste-free way to enjoy your favorite beverage in style. Its one-handed push button lid and carrying loop make it convenient to carry it wherever you go. It’s dishwasher-safe, preserves the temperature of your drinks, and is made from a clean-tasting glass that’s free from BPA, phthalates, PVC, lead, and cadmium. According to Amazon reviewers, “water tastes like it should, without a weird plastic taste.” However, some have pointed out that “the rubber inside the flip top began to get moldy within a month of use,” so it should be cleaned after every use. You can purchase this stylish glass bottle for $12.46.
Superstring 16-Ounce Fruit Infuser Water Bottle
This Superstring 16-Ounce Fruit Infuser Water Bottle makes it easy to make your own flavored water and take it with you when you’re on the go. Each bottle is made from a durable high borosilicate glass, which doesn’t transfer flavors and can easily endure high temperatures. According to Amazon reviewers, “everything comes apart so when it’s time to clean it’s so much easier. This one has the infuser at the bottom unlike the other [bottles].” You can pick up this fruit infuser for $9.90.
Keto Coffee Bamboo Insulated Coffee Mug and Tea Tumbler
Want a travel mug that’s chic, stylish, and environmentally-friendly? This Keto Coffee Bamboo Insulated Coffee Mug and Tea Tumbler will do just the trick. The sweat-proof exterior is made from bamboo, which not only replenishes itself but can grow up to two feet per day. The interior is a BPA-free corrosion-resistant stainless steel with antibacterial properties that keeps hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours and cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours. This mug comes with a tea infuser basket, so you can take your loose teas to go and a coffee scoop that doubles as a bag clip. According to Amazon reviewers, it’s also incredible leak-proof: “With the bottle full of hot liquid and the cap screwed on tightly I was able to invert the bottle and there was no leaking at all, even when I shook it.” You can pick up this mug for $24.99.
Rustic Life Glass Double Wall Tea Tumbler
Some people have always been more of a tea-drinker. This Rustic Life Glass Double Wall Tea Tumbler is an easy way to take your tea on the go. It has a built-in stainless steel tea infuser that can be used for loose tea, bagged tea, or even to infuse your water with fruits and vegetables. This tea tumbler’s borosilicate double-walled insulation keeps your drinks at their desired temperature. Its heavy glass bottom keeps it from easily tipping over while its sealable bamboo lid prevents spills and leaks. You can pick up this tumbler, plus a combination tea scoop/bag clip, for $29.97.
Superelead Biodegradable 13.5-Ounce Unbreakable Mug
It can be tough to plan a waste-free event. Depending on how many you’re planning on serving, it may not be do-able to use washable mugs. These Superelead Biodegradable 13.5-Ounce Unbreakable Mugs solve the problem while reducing environmental impact. These biodegradable mugs are made from wheat straw, which can endure temperatures up to 350°F, so it’s perfect for both hot and cold drinks. In addition to that, they’re dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, and even freezer safe, so not only are they great at events, you can also use them again and again at home. Amazon reviewers report that “these are very lightweight but constructed in a stable manner to which they are very nicely balanced,” and also point out that because they’re unbreakable, these mugs are great for kids. You can pick up a set of four mugs for $21.85.
Bailyn Reusable Stainless Steel Drinking Bend Straws
Say goodbye to single-use plastic straws and hello to these Bailyn Reusable Stainless Steel Drinking Bend Straws. Each 10.5-inch straw is made from non-toxic stainless steel and easily cleaned by the included pipe cleaner. Not only are they great for smoothies and drinks, they’re also designed to fit in reusable tumblers. This comes in a set of four, so you can leave one at home, stash one in your desk at work for smoothie lunches, and keep one in your bag for emergency on-the-go drinks. Amazon reviewers report that “straws are the perfect replacement for restaurant plastic straws, paper straws and the thicker drinking straws you get with some kids cups.” You can pick up these stainless steel straws for $7.99.
DeLa'Casa Silicone Reusable Drinking Straws
These colorful DeLa’Casa Silicone Reusable Drinking Straws are made from slightly hardened 100 percent food grade silicone, so they don’t collapse forward when drinking out of them. These BPA-Free straws help protect against the corrosive nature of smoothies, carbonated drinks, and juices. The included stainless steel brush makes cleaning these 10.5-inch straws easy, however, Amazon reviewers point out that “the brush that comes with them is in no way fat enough to clean them.” But, they’re also dishwasher safe. You can pick up this set of six for $11.95.
StrawGrace Handmade Glass Straws
One of the problems with plastic straws is that they tend to transfer tastes from past drinks. But with these StrawGrace Handmade Glass Straws, that’s never a problem! Each hand-crafted, 9-inch straw is made from highly durable borosilicate glass, so they’re great for carrying around in your bag. They’re easy to clean thanks to the included pipe cleaner and they’re dishwasher-safe. Amazon reviewers report that they’re great for beverages of all kinds, “thick beverages, hot or cold, no matter.” You can pick up this set of five for $10.95.
Balloon Red Biodegradable Paper Drinking Straws
If you’re planning a party, leave the disposable plastic straws on the shelf and opt for these Balloon Red Biodegradable Paper Drinking Straws instead. Each straw is made from FDA-approved materials and dyed with food-safe ink, so your guests can safely sip from these biodegradable straws. They’re also available in multiple colors, so they can easily be matched to whatever theme you’re planning for. According to Amazon reviewers, each drink should come with a new straw, as “they will eventually get soft and need to be replaced.” You can pick up this set of 100 straws for $10.99.
Zone - 365 Organic Bamboo Drinking Straws
These Zone – 365 Organic Bamboo Drinking Straws are made from organic, sustainable bamboo sourced from the mountains of Bali and handcrafted by artists. They’re made from an organic material, but don’t worry — they’re long-lasting and won’t rot. This set of ten comes with a carrying bag that keeps your straw safe, even in your bag. According to Amazin reviewers, “the quality is outstanding and very durable. It’s also super easy to clean because they’re not very long.” You can pick up this set of ten for $14.97.
Happy Tiffin Two-Tier Lunch Box
This Happy Tiffin Two-Tier Lunch Box is a convenient way to carry your lunch. The tiers come in two sizes — the bottom tier holds six cups while the top can hold up to two cups. Made from dishwasher-safe, high tensile strength stainless steel, the heavy-duty side latches ensure that nothing will spill, plus at 1.4 pounds, it’s easy to travel with. Amazon reviewers report that “it’s great for keeping food separated, secure, and well-presented.” You can pick up this two-tier lunchbox for $34.95.
Jaq Jaq Bird Reusable Storage, Sandwich, and Snack Bag
Eliminate single-use plastic snack and sandwich bags from your life! These Jaq Jaq Bird Reusable Storage Bags have a cute gingham pattern made from a food safe, lead-free, PVC-free, BPA-free, and phthalate-free material. Each 7×7-inch bag is machine washable, waterproof, stain-resistant, odor-resistant, and unshrinkable. Amazon reviewers say that they “easily fit a sandwich of normal proportions, and handful of crackers, a bunch of grapes, etc…” You can pick up this set of two for $16.00.
Meal Prep Food Storage Container Six-Piece Set With Snap Locking Lid
Busy week? Save yourself time in the kitchen with this MealPrep Food Storage Container Six-Piece Set With Snap Locking Lid. Each 28-ounce container is made from a sturdy, non-toxic, stain-proof glass with a secure, BPA-free lid that snaps in place to prevent spills. They’re microwave-safe and oven-safe (except for frozen or oily foods) for easy reheating and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. Amazon reviewers say that these containers are “high quality and sturdy, and hold more than you would think.” You can pick up this set of six for $29.95.
ECOlunchbox Three-in-One Stainless Steel Food Container Set
Bento boxes are perfect for portioning school lunches, like this ECOlunchbox Three-in-One Stainless Steel Food Container Set. This 100 percent stainless steel lunchbox set works great for packing a sandwich on the bottom, plus two separate snacks on the top container. It holds up to four cups of food overall, yet it’s light and compact at 4 inches wide, 5 1/2 inches long, and 2 3/4 inches high. According to one Amazon reviewer, “I have two of these and used them all last year throughout the school year for my 1st grade daughter (and will do the same this coming year).” While some reviewers point out that “little thing’s kinda leaky and hard to open/close,” ECOlunchbox advises against using it for liquidy foods. You can pick up this lunchbox for $29.47.
To-Go Ware 2-Tier Stainless Lunch Box
Packing a light lunch? This versatile To-Go Ware 2-Tier Stainless Steel Lunch Box is perfect for carrying small portions. These durable stainless steel containers are great for carrying both hot and cold foods, plus the lid doubles at a plate. If you’re traveling light, you can detach the bottom container and take only the top portion to go. They’re also dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. According to Amazon reviewers, “The simplicity of the stainless steel is great. It doesn’t insulate, it doesn’t do anything but hold food, which means that there are no extra chemicals anywhere near my food.” You can pick up this tiffin container for $22.49.
Lead image source: casanisa/Shutterstock