A Guide to Sustainable Home Goods (That Actually Work)

If you are a millennial, your life is lived through a series of jars. Containers. The shoe box that you will never really touch, but hang onto because “it’s a good box.” The big box that eventually becomes your box-of-boxes (which you keep right next to your bag-of-bags). That interesting bottle of liquor that you think “will look good with some flowers in it.” (It won’t.) Instead of creating more clutter, recycle those boxes and bottles and invest in some long-term sustainable alternatives for single-use plastics and other home products. While refilling bottles of Palmolive with water and giving them a good shake (there’s still some soap in there!) is a good start, there are better, more effective, and more environmentally friendly ways of getting the most out of your soaps, cleaners, and personal care items, and of becoming more savvy on zero-waste household products in general.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to buy an entirely new plastic bottle of Windex each time you run out. You can actually just refill that bottle (or purchase a glass spray bottle) with a glass cleaner solution from a variety of awesome, sustainable brands. And trust us when we tell you that these items have come a long way—sustainable home products are not just for our crunchy-groovy brethren anymore. Toothpaste comes in tablets now. There are vacuums with no bags. A new era of sustainability is upon us, and it’s got sleek branding, affordable prices, and widespread availability.  

All you have to do is make the switch. 

You’re new here, but did not come here to play

You’re the kind of person who doesn’t half-commit, but knows when to ask for a little guidance. If you don’t yet have a spare dream mason jar and tote (where… have you been? No shame) then the Package Free shop is your ideal place of pilgrimage; a veritable haven for reusable home products and more. They curate zero waste kits for various needs, from kitchen cleaning to eating your meals on the go.

$50 at Package Free

$65 at Package Free

Lick those floors clean

And if that’s not your kink, this spray solution from Grove will do the job. Pick from three different natural scents to come in your glass spritzer that promises to remove all your “common stains.” (We’re unclear about the uncommon ones). If you’ve never heard of Grove, the environmentally-conscious household and personal care store started much like our favorite sitcom: “As an idea between three friends talking in a spare bedroom in San Francisco: What if it was easy to find healthier home essentials?” 

$21.90$16.95 at Grove

“Do you have almond milk?”

No? No bother. You’ll just go home and sniff the sweet, almond aroma of your biodegradable, non-toxic floor cleaner solution. It’s safe for floor dwellers (pets, babies, buzzed friends) and an excellent partner for our longtime lover, the mop. Seriously. Mops are way less wasteful than floor wipes, and wooden ones make us feel like old-timey pirates. 

$5.99$4.99 at Grove

The right suds 

Blueland had its big break on Shark Tank, which automatically makes it a front-runner for our favorite reusable home product brand. The company helps reduce single-use plastic by sending customers pretty little bottles with specialized tablets for refilling all their cleaning goods. There’s also something inexplicably gratifying about having matching dish soap and detergent (even better when they come in their own tins).    

$34 at Blueland

“Just give me all the cleaning stuff”

Done. Blueland has a ~clean suite~ collection that gives you all of their cleaning products, including seven reusable containers and plastic-free refills for cleaning everything in the bathroom, the living room, the dungeon—whatever. You even get laundry soap and detergent. 

$83 at Blueland

Your dentist always remembers your birthday

So be nice to them, and your teeth, AND the Earth by ditching the plastic drugstore options and picking up a pack of these BPA-free, compostable bamboo toothbrushes. They’re affordable, entirely plant-based, and they come with compostable packaging.

$9$5.40 at Package Free

Have you tried a vaginal chalice yet?

Otherwise known as menstrual cups, by non-tree dwelling fae folk. Really, though, a menstrual cup can save you so much money, potentially decrease cramping, and does a lot of good for mamma earth. Plus, one percent of every purchase goes to Grove’s 1%4Women fund supporting women’s health organizations in the U.S.

$38.95 at Grove

An ~aesthetic~ jar that will inspire you to do laundry

We were kind of harping about jar hoarding, which is starting to feel a little cheugy… but this 32-ounce beauty will be our crown jewel. It holds up to 60 loads of lavender-scented, all-natural, 100 percent biodegradable (and septic-safe) detergent. 

$24$14.40 at Package Free

$24$14.40 at Package Free

The future liberals want 

Toothpaste tablets?! What’s next, free college and world peace? (Fingers crossed.) Basically, you pop one in your mouth, chew it up, and brush like you normally would. Then you can smile, knowing you cut down on some plastic. They’re also BPA-free and fluoride-free. 

$12.99 at Grove

You’ve been very dirty

… So you need enough soap to get the job done. Does a half gallon sound like enough soap? We think so. Plus, you can pour this into whichever sticky bottle is sitting near your sink at the moment. 

$45 at Package Free

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz

The product description says to “say goodbye to bars,” which we definitely won’t be doing now that the world is opening up again. We will, however, be losing that gnarly hunk of Irish Spring that we picked up from the corner store in favor of this forever bottle of refillable hand soap by Blueland. After you run out of soap, just fill the bottle with water and drop in a refill tablet for nine new ounces. Less plastic, more vibes. 

$16 at Blueland

A hearty, washable dishcloth

Look at those cute little shroomies. They’re begging you to stop using one-and-done sponges and paper towels to clean dishes and kitchen spills. This dishcloth can be washed and rinsed up to 200 times, and comes in a variety of patterns, from mushrooms and spring onions to chicken and turtles.  

$7 at Package Free

Ziploc is not the way, bro 

As tempting as it is to put half-onions and other kitchen scraps in plastic bags (where they’ll take up space in your fridge until they eventually make their way to the garbage can), there’s a better, more sustainable way to let yourself down. These reusable silicone bags are airtight, resealable, and plastic free. They’re also dishwasher, microwave, boiling water, freezer, and oven safe, up to 400 Fahrenheit. 

$38 at Package Free

Your pet hates baths, but looks sooo cute in the tub

Have you considered the fact that your pet might hate baths because you’re not using sustainable grooming products? No? Hmm. Well, this refillable waterless pet shampoo is great for keeping your pet fresh in between baths, so you can cut down on the amount of arm-scratches you have. 

$24.99 at Grove

Pick a peck of pickled peppers

Say goodbye to making a scene when you can’t cleanly rip off a plastic bag from the roll next to the lettuce. (Does anyone actually use those little twisty green ties?) These cotton produce bags cut down on plastic and are great for fruits and veggies, bulk dry ingredients, groceries, and other miscellaneous items. 

$18 at Package Free

$21.99 at Amazon

This is your 90s boy band

Three unique, but complementary players, working in harmony to get your home clean after your latest vaccinated dinner party. We’ll call this a mid-range-commitment Blueland kit, because you get three reusable, color-coded bottles as well as solutions for bathroom, all-purpose, and multi-surface cleaner. 

$39 at Blueland

All of your beeswax

Not only are beeswax wraps a reusable alternative for food storage, but they’re maleable enough to cover your half-eaten grapefruit, that bowl of pasta you were too lazy to put into a container, and anything else it can wrap around. Plus, they come in neat designs.

$25.97 at Amazon

$18 at Package Free

Now go watch the Judi Dench special on listening to trees.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.

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