35 Sustainable Alternatives For Things You Use Every Day

35 Sustainable Alternatives For Things You Use Every Day

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EDITORS’ PICKS Sometimes, everyday products our editors use don’t make it into our in-depth, long-form comparative pieces in which we vigorously test similar products head-to-head. That’s where our Editors’ Picks come in — where we highlight everyday products we personally stand by and use on a daily basis, and think you should too.

This article is a part of CNN Underscored’s Earth Week, a weeklong focus on our planet and ways to celebrate and preserve it. We’ll be featuring tips on how to live more sustainably, products to help you spend more time in nature and exclusive deals all week, so check in every morning to see what’s new, and be sure to subscribe to the CNN Underscored newsletter to see it all.

Knowing what is and isn’t an eco-friendly product can be hard at times. It’s easy to get lost in a brand’s marketing lingo and buy something that seems “green” but isn’t actually much better for the earth.

That’s why we asked our editors to round up their favorite products that are actually eco-friendly in one way or another. Whether the products are made from recycled materials, use ethically sourced ingredients, can be composted or will just help you reduce your waste, here are our editors’ favorite sustainable products.

Tushy Classic 3.0 $129 $99 at Tushy I’ve gone long about how much I love Tushy’s affordable bidets, but in short: They’re life-changing. It’s my most recommended product to every person around me whose toilets I frequent (or not), and it does legitimately help save you from buying so much toilet paper. We named this one the best bidet attachment of the year largely because of how easy it is to install, the simple design and the easily adjustable water pressure. I’ll also note that this one can fit on a wider array of toilets and bathroom setups than most other bidets, so it’s the perfect beginner’s choice.

— Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

Package Free Compost Bin Container $24 $20.40 with code CNNEARTH at Package Free Shop Composting at home has been the biggest change I’ve made to live more sustainably, and having a dedicated bin for food waste like this one from Package Free is a helpful way to stay on track. From compostable paper towels and tissues to food scraps, we toss all sorts of stuff in our bin and drop it off at a local community garden every week.

— Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

Vvardis White & Protect Enamel Anti-Aging Toothpaste $29 $24.65 at Saks Fifth Avenue I’ve been seeing more independent oral care brands popping up, and this Swiss company founded by dentist sisters Haleh and Golnar Abivardi makes enamel-repairing fluoride toothpaste with natural ingredients that comes in a tube made from sawdust. The company also makes the Rheinholz toothbrush, which is made from sustainably sourced Swiss beechwood and has bristles that are designed to effectively clean in between the teeth. It feels more luxe than a bamboo toothbrush, and you really can feel the bristles hug around each tooth.

— Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

Bee’s Wrap Reusable Beeswax Food Wraps $18 $14.99 at Amazon These Bee’s Wrap wraps took a bit of getting used to, but once I learned how to properly use them (warm them up and mold them a bit first with the heat from your hands), they quickly became one of my kitchen staples. I use far less single-use plastic (plastic wrap, plastic baggies, etc.) and foil, thanks to this product. It’s super easy to wash and reuse, and it keeps food fresh the same way a plastic wrap might.

— Hayley Saltzman, head of social

Hydroflask 20-Ounce Wide Mouth $32.95 at Hydroflask I don’t think I’ve bought a single plastic water bottle since buying this bright green Hydro Flask. It holds a ton of water, so it’ll last me all day, and it’s super easy to clean too. I take it with me everywhere I go!

— Tyler Holender, social media intern

Geiserailie Swedish Dishcloths, 6-Pack $13.99 at Amazon If you’re a regular Underscored reader, you know how much we love our Swedish dishcloths, and these ones, gifted to me by my mom, have made my kitchen both cuter and more eco-friendly. With an array of cat-related designs, my mom actually took three for herself, and I can’t blame her. They’re excellent at soaking up messes and can be thrown right into the washing machine after heavy use. I’m already planning on buying more.

— Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

Standard Baggu Reusable Bag $12 at Baggu Saying goodbye to single-use plastics at the grocery store is an easy way to become more environmentally sound. I love my Baggu bag for trips to the grocery store — or Target or CVS or Sephora — because it can fit pretty much everything I buy in one bag and be carried like a tote over my shoulder. Plus, it holds up to 50 pounds, so it’s reliably sturdy. Perhaps best of all, it folds into its own flat pouch for easy storage out of the way.

— Emily McNutt, senior travel editor

Who Gives A Crap Premium 100% Bamboo Toilet Paper From $44 at Who Gives A Crap I’ve been using Who Gives A Crap toilet paper for years and absolutely love it. It feels just like normal toilet paper, and the brand donates 50% of its profits to help build toilets around the world. I’ve been using the bamboo toilet paper recently, but for my next order I’m going to switch to the 100% Recycled Toilet Paper because it has a smaller environmental impact.

— Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

Dropps Laundry Stain & Odor Detergent From $19.50 at Dropps I’ll never go back to regular laundry detergent after using Dropps. You may think that natural plant-based products don’t clean as well as chemicals, but you’d be wrong. Dropps gets out any and every stain and eliminates odors. The brand also uses 100% carbon-neutral shipping and recyclable packaging, and the pods don’t contribute to microplastic pollution.

— Lindsey Smith, associate editor

Package Free Airtight Stainless Steel Container From $18 at Package Free Shop We’ve had this super-sturdy, airtight and leakproof container for years and absolutely love it. Whenever I have leftovers to store, this is the first container I reach for because it keeps food so fresh. I especially love that it’s actually leakproof; you could use it as a lunch container and take soup to the office without a worry.

— Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

Tony’s Chocolonely, 4-Pack $22.98 at Amazon I discovered this chocolate within the past year, and it is SO GOOD. The fun branding is obviously a huge draw (the colors! The name! The funky shape of the chocolate bar when you break it up into pieces!), but the flavor combos and the high-quality chocolate are what keep me recommending it to everyone I know. It’s too easy to finish off an entire bar in one or two sittings — it’s just that good. My favorite flavor is chocolate pretzel toffee, but I’ve loved every single flavor I’ve ever tried. I just learned that on top of all of its other merits, Tony’s is also eco-friendly, using 100% traceable beans and sustainable practices. Yes, please!

— Hayley Saltzman, head of social

Cloud Paper Bamboo Paper Towels $34.99 at Cloud Paper Co. I made the switch to Cloud Paper’s paper towels a couple of months ago and I haven’t looked back since. Each roll comes with 150 100% bamboo sheets and is delivered to your doorstep in two-, three- or four-month increments in a totally plastic-free, recyclable and compostable box. Not only are they good for the planet (and you!), but I swear they’re just as soft, strong and absorbent as “regular” paper towels.

— Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

Cloud Paper Bamboo Toilet Paper $34.99 at Cloud Paper Co. I hadn’t tried eco-friendly toilet paper until recently, but I’m happy to say it does not disappoint! Cloud Paper’s toilet paper is made of 100% bamboo, and each roll comes with 350 sheets. Delivered to your doorstep in a box made of totally recycled content, this paper is super soft, scent- and lint-free and, best of all, tree-free!

— Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

Everist Waterless Shampoo, Conditioner & Body Wash Concentrates $28 each at Everist Everist wants to do away with the single-use plastic that bath and body products usually come in, so instead the company makes concentrated shampoo, conditioner and body wash formulas that cut back on waste in more ways than one. The plant-based paste formulas are made without water, and each of the aluminum tubes comes with a key that helps you dispense every drop of product. When you’re done, the tubes can be recycled and the plastic caps can be sent back to Everist to participate in the brand’s Cap Back Program. I love that the products are wholly sustainable, from the biodegradable ingredients to the recycled packaging.

— Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

Explorer Cold Brew From $27 at Explorer I was never much of a coffee drinker and thought the whole process was quite wasteful. I recently discovered Explorer Cold Brew Co. and am now addicted. The coffee comes in recyclable glass bottles and, even more importantly, the company is transparent about the growing process and the coffee is fair trade and ethically sourced. To get even more sustainable, Explorer’s warehouse is just 2 miles from my apartment, lowering my carbon footprint.

— Lindsey Smith, associate editor

Koraru Chikyi Belted One-Piece Avorio $220 at Koraru This is hands down the most beautiful, high-quality piece of swimwear I own; it features a backless design, a matching belt and built-in padding, and overall it’s just super flattering and really sucks everything while still allowing some stretch! This piece is constructed of recycled materials, such as fishing nets, and comes in a box made of reused algae from areas where too much would otherwise harm the fragile ocean ecosystem. Also, I love that the brand donates a portion of its sales to The Coral Reef Alliance. I look forward to wearing it as a bodysuit until it’s officially beach season!

— Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

longzon Silicone Stretch Lids, 14-Pack $24.99 $13.59 at Amazon Say goodbye to single-use saran wrap or aluminum foil when you’re storing leftovers. This 14-pack of stretchy silicone lids in varying sizes will keep your food tasting fresh. They’re made of a thick silicone, so they won’t rip, and there are enough sizes in this 14-pack for pretty much any dish. After you’re ready to eat your leftovers, you can plop these lids right into the dishwasher and use again next time.

— Emily McNutt, senior travel editor

Hanky Panky Eco Rx Loungewear Set $117 at Hanky Panky Hanky Panky has always been one of my go-to brands for underwear, but its brand-new Eco Rx line is an instant favorite. My No. 1 priority at all times is comfort, and these lounge sets are some of the most comfortable things I own. While I’ve been wearing mine as pajamas, I pretty much refuse to take them off throughout the day. You can mix and match the tanks, shorts, long-sleeve shirts and pants, and I have definitely been doing that. The material is so soft and comfy, and wearing these matching sets makes me feel like an adult for once. The best thing about these sets is the fact that the material is made of 30% upcycled cotton and 70% wood pulp. I had no idea that wearing clothing made of wood pulp could be so cute and comfortable.

— Hayley Saltzman, head of social

Takeya Tritan Motivational Water Bottle With Straw Lid $29.99 at Takeya Not only can this GIANT water bottle, which holds 64 ounces, get me through an entire day without getting up to refill (or ever buy another bottle of spring water), but Takeya’s products have helped eliminate over 12 billion single-use plastic bottles. Plus, I get to “Hydrate & Celebrate” every night at 8 p.m. What a perk!

— Tobey Grumet, contributing editor

Redecker Stiff Bristle Dish Brush $13.99 at Amazon When I learned normal sponges shed microplastics into your water pipes every time you wash the dishes, I was horrified. That’s why I made the switch to this wooden dish brush that has a detachable head with bristles made from tampico fibers. After a few months when the bristles get worn down, you can simply remove the head, compost it and replace it with a new one! And if the handle ever gets too old (I’ve had mine for about three years and it hasn’t died yet), you can remove and recycle the metal attachments and compost the handle.

— Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

Redecker Horsehair and Beechwood 16.5-Inch Bottle Brush $16.99 at Amazon Of course when I switched my sponge for a dish brush, I wanted to get something to clean my reusable water bottles too. I’ve searched for years, but a lot of zero-waste bottle brushes are either too flimsy or you have to meticulously uncurl a metal wire to compost the fibers. I finally tried this brush, which sort of looks like a toilet brush, and it immediately became my favorite. The bristles compress so it can fit in very thin jars and it makes cleaning bottles a breeze.

— Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

Hey Humans Natural Deodorant Rosewater Ginger $6.99 at Target I recently switched to Hey Humans Natural Deodorant in Rosewater Ginger and it offers the same odor protection as any other deodorant on the market but is better for your body and the planet. It’s made from 99% plastic-free packaging and is also clean, vegan and cruelty-free.

— Lindsey Smith, associate editor

MZ Wallace Sunflower Ombre Micro Sutton $175 at MZ Wallace MZW has been one of my favorite accessory brands for years, not only because of its plethora of trendy styles but also because each bag is made from pre- and postconsumer waste, including single-use plastic water bottles. I particularly love this bright yellow ombré style because it reminds me of a sunny day and it also features an adjustable shoulder strap, zip-top closure, signature red leather edging and four interior pockets, so I’m able to store a whole bunch of things at once. I can’t wait to wear this bag all spring and summer — and feel good about it!

— Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

RMS Beauty Luminizing Powder $38 at Toward I’m a sucker for a good highlighter, and I’ve been loving this one from RMS Beauty. I use it pretty much all over my whole face, and I’ve been getting so many compliments about the glow! The brand is cruelty-free and organic, and it uses sustainable practices, which I know because it’s available at Toward beauty, which only sells responsibly made products. Love that this site does a lot of the work for you if you’re looking to be a conscious consumer, and I can’t say enough good things about RMS Beauty in general.

— Hayley Saltzman, head of social

Stand-Up Mega Stasher Bag $29.99 at Stasher Bag Using and throwing away normal plastic bags is so wasteful, which is why I made the switch to reusable Stasher Bags. We have a full review on them here, but I love their ability to store anything and everything, whether that’s leftovers, snacks or groceries. I love the Stand-Up Mega in particular because it fits a ton and I can pop fresh popcorn in it for a zero-waste movie night.

— Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

Lotus Trolley Bag $59.99 $39.99 at Lotus Sustainables The Lotus Trolley Bags are a complete game changer because they come with support rods to use in your cart, making shopping and checking out a breeze. There’s also an insulated bag so you can keep frozen and cold items chilly from the store to your home. Every single time I go grocery shopping, someone asks me about them and orders them while we’re in an aisle.

— Lindsey Smith, associate editor

Casetify No Stress iPhone 13 Pro Case $60 at Casetify Made from 100% compostable, plant-based materials and eco-friendly ink, this phone case from Casetify is my new favorite. I chose the MagSafe-compatible case (which offers the ultimate protection for when I inevitably drop my phone) and in the matte olive color for a monochromatic look. Not only is it good for the planet, but it makes for a fun mirror selfie too.

— Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

Nette Sunday Chess Candle $82 at Nette NYC I probably have around 20 candles in my apartment, but this is my absolute favorite one. I keep the Nette Sunday Chess candle on my coffee table, and I burn it whenever I want to feel extra cozy. I love the vanilla notes, combined with a slightly sultry, smoky scent that keeps it from feeling too feminine or floral. It’s one of the few candles my husband and I both love, and I’ve found that it lasts a very long time. Nette donates 1% of its annual revenue to environmental causes, it plants a tree for every single purchase made on its site and it offsets the carbon footprint associated with the production and shipping of all of each product.

— Hayley Saltzman, head of social

Prepd Cheat Sheets $29.99 $27.49 at Amazon This makes cooking so easy. I can put veggies and meat in for different amounts of time without taking a whole tray out! Plus, I use way less tinfoil and can throw these right in the dishwasher.

— Hannah Lauson, TikTok strategist

Dove Beauty Daily Moisture Body Wash Refill Concentrate & Reusable Aluminum Bottle $14.99 at Target I’ve always loved Dove body wash and was so excited to see the brand now offers reusable bottles and concentrate refills. The aluminum bottle is infinitely recyclable, and the concentrates are packaged in recyclable and 100% recycled bottles. Plus, it smells amazing and leaves my skin so soft.

— Lindsey Smith, associate editor

AYR The Pool Boy Shirt & The Staycation Short $145 & $95 at AYR In an effort to shop at fewer fast fashion brands, I discovered AYR, which offers minimalistic, sustainable, high-quality pieces that you can wear year-round. This striped set is an investment, but going green never looked so chic! Oh, and the brand is completely women-owned and -run, which I love!

— Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

P448 Jack Recycled White Shoes $285 at P448 I know I’ve featured P448 shoes in pretty much every single editors’ picks article, and that’s because they are truly my favorite. P448s are my go-to sneakers — I love the classic designs with a fun twist, and the fact that they’re so comfortable you don’t even have to break them in. I also find them to be great quality, with zero wear or tear even after constant daily wear. One of my favorite pairs of P448s is the recycled Jack shoe, which uses recycled leather, and I love that the brand overall prioritizes sustainability. It offsets CO2 emissions on all of its shipments, use 100% recycled materials in its packaging, reduces water consumption in the production of its shoes and takes discarded leather that’s been left over to create its recycled leather shoes.

— Hayley Saltzman, head of social

Stojo 20-Ounce Water Bottle $20 at Stojo and Amazon When I swore off single-use plastic in 2020, this water bottle from Stojo became my go-to! It’s made of LFGB-certified silicone, holds a whopping 20 ounces of water when full and comes with an airtight, screw-on cap that literally NEVER leaks. The coolest part, though, is that it’s collapsible, so it can shrink down in size and lay flat when you’re working with limited space. It also comes in 20 different colors, so you have plenty of options to choose from!

— Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

Kokolu Daily Eight Tote Bag $39 at Kokolu Made from eight recycled plastic water bottles, these tote bags from Kokolu are as sustainable as they are cute. I have the limited-edition lavender and earthy green colors, and they’re both super lightweight and feature an open top, so there’s limitless space to fit everything I need, including my giant emotional support water bottle!

— Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

Edify Live More Organic Tee $48 at Edify Because I work from home, I live in oversized tees, and lately, I’ve been loving this one from Edify, which is a women-owned online destination for ethical and sustainable clothing and accessories (every single brand must meet strict values criteria, including community impact). I love that this locally made T-shirt is inspired by having less and living more, and it’s so comfy — I can’t stop wearing it!

— Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

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