1. Swedish Wash Cloths
I'm a convert! These cleaning cloths are number 1 on my list for a reason.
They look great, they dry out completely between uses and absorb liquids like crazy. They are very gentle on delicate surfaces but tough enough to wring out repeatedly and still hold their shape. You can use these Swedish wash cloths literally hundreds of times. Just launder them when required and they last for months.
They come in a ton of cute designs and colours, so they'll go with any decor. They are compact and easy to store when dry, and again, are incredibly absorbent. This brand is Ecologie by Danica. Very affordable!
2. Reusable Glass Bottles
Glass bottles are a great way to store bathroom necessities like body washes, shampoos and conditioners. Using coloured or opaque glass bottles will protect the contents from UV light, which will make them last longer and maintain the effectiveness of any active ingredients. This is particularly true if the contents contain any essential oils.
Shops like my local Delish General Store offer gorgeous eco-friendly products in bulk. Bring your own 'jar' or purchase ones from the shop and then re-use them every time you come back.
There's an excellent selection of lids and pumps for your every need. This store is nothing short of fabulous and offers a huge variety of environmentally conscious storage and cleaning products.
Another aspect I appreciate about their business model is that they are local-minded - and many of their suppliers are other local small businesses.
Win-win if you ask me! That's why I LOVE supporting them.
3. Silicone Storage Bags
I've mentioned silicone food storage bags in my Meal Prep blog post. Of course they are included on this top 5 list of sustainable products you can't live without.
These bags have been a mainstay in our kitchen now for a couple years. We love the Stashers brand, but have also found some great quality versions at Ikea. The Ikea product has a flat base, so acts more like a container than a bag. It's incredibly handy that these bags stand upright for easy filling and easy access to what's inside.
These storage bags refrigerate, freeze and reheat very well. We use ours in the microwave if we need to defrost something quickly and they've held up great. Hand wash or throw them in the dishwasher to clean them between uses. This photo is of two of our bags that we've used dozens of times. Like I said, they really do hold up well.
Another product that sort of falls into this category, is silicone container covers. They come in a variety of sizes for different sized bowls or jars. The ones we use are also from Ikea and work really well.
Using these products makes using single use plastic wrap or plastic zip lock bags a thing of the past. Aside from the obvious benefits for the environment, good riddance to the expense and the space they take up in the kitchen drawers.
4. Period Underwear
I wasn't sure about these at first, but I'll try anything once. Couldn't be more thrilled that I did!
I am so very done with the archaic products designed for people who have periods. I mean, how long ago was the sanitary napkin invented, never mind by whom? (For the record, it was1888 by the Southall Brothers of England.)
I have a few pairs of period underwear and let me tell you, they are liberating. I choose to sleep in mine, but you could wear them all day. My preferred brand are Revolundies. They are incredibly well-made, soft, comfortable and amazingly absorbent.
There is an added benefit to buying from Revolundies, it's that they are PFAS-free. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances – known as PFAS, are dangerous 'forever' chemicals that take extensive lengths of time to break down. These chemicals are linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals. When it comes to the products I choose, wherever I can make an informed decision, I will.
With 12,000 five star reviews, this team knows how to make an excellent product. These underwear run about C$50 a pair, so they're not inexpensive. But you can buy them in packs which reduces the cost per pair and remember, you're not buying expensive, disposable, environmentally damaging products every single month.
Let's get down to the T(ee) people...
The style I own is Freya, which are beautiful, black with sheer side panels which make them, dare I say, a little sexy. So they aren't boring despite being unbelievably functional. I wear them overnight as I prefer not to risk using a tampon for too many hours, and frankly, they tend to leak. I haven't had an issue with the underwear at all. They have honestly been bullet-proof! Not a leak in sight. They stay dry and comfortable on the outside and the inside hasn't caused any irritation for me at all.
They are super easy to launder - just throw them in a cold water wash but avoid using fabric softener as that can interfere with the absorbency of the fabric. I've had mine for about 4 years now and they are still going strong after dozens and dozens and dozens of washes.
5. Silicone or Stainless Steel Straws
Like me, I'm sure you've seen the horrifying YouTube video of the tortoise having a plastic straw pulled from his nostril with a pair of pliers by a passing boater. There are some things you can't unsee, and for me, this is one of them.
Ever since, I've been committed to going strawless or using paper straws. I'll suffer through the paper straws because of my personal choices, but clearly they aren't the most pleasant experience. Particularly if the straw is sitting in your drink for long periods of time. Seriously, ew. Nothing like sipping through a soggy straw.
That's why I like the alternatives out there. Although, I haven't gotten to the point that I carry my own personal straw around with me.
At home we have paper and silicone straws. The silicone work really well but they do have the tendency to collapse if you suck too hard. The silicone versions come with a small pipe cleaner style brush to make sure you get them really clean on the inside, which I can appreciate.
Having said that, my preferred choice is stainless steel. They clean up very well and will not collapse if you're trying to slurp up a thick smoothie or shake. I do have an irrational fear of being impaled by a stainless steel straw - think, not paying attention and up the nose it goes, but that's just silly.
Bottom line, the rigid straw alternative wins hands down!