When people talk about sustainable, eco-friendly, organic, or zero-waste products, most of us almost immediately think in the back of our heads that this means a higher price tag. After all, we know what happens during a trip to Whole Foods (or, as some people call it, Whole Paycheck): purchasing the organic, sustainably harvested version of food produce seems to really jack up the total on the receipt.
This goes for household items, clothing, bathroom accessories, and all other kinds of products, too.
However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Careful, discerning consumers can have their cake and eat it, too, by purchasing sustainable products that benefit local farmers, small businesses, and artisans while also staying on budget.
The following is a list of five everyday household items that you can purchase sustainably and frugally.
Floss isn’t something people typically think of when discussing eco-friendly, zero-waste store bought items but there are a lot of floss products out there and many of them are just plain wasteful. Wasteful in two ways, actually: a waste of your money and wasteful in terms of the non-sustainable materials that will end up in a landfill somewhere.
Do you ever stop to think about all the floss you’ve ever used in your life, laying in an endless pile of refuse? Yeah, not a pretty image.
Eco friendly floss, on the other hand, doesn’t come in plastic packaging and is completely biodegradable. The silk floss offered by Seek Bamboo, for example, is made from all-natural, vegan candelilla wax that is actually stronger and healthier for your gums than most mainstream floss.
And the best part of all, this dental floss is not only sustainable, it is totally inexpensive.
Fair trade fashion
Clothing and fashion garments can really zap your wallet if you’re not careful. But in recent years, there has been a surge of sustainably made, fair trade fashion lines that are extremely reasonable in terms of price.
For example, the brand People Tree has partnered with fair trade clothing producers to offer ethical fashion apparel for 25 years. Their garments source organic cotton and eco-friendly materials. And they are totally affordable for frugal consumers who want to look good and support responsible companies.
Stainless steel water bottle
If you’re still buying plastic bottles of water everyday, you should immediately rethink this practice. Single-use plastics are a huge drag on the environment. Instead, get a stainless steel water bottle that you can reuse for years. This one decision alone could keep pounds upon pounds of plastics out of the oceans and natural habitats. Not only that but you can ensure you drink fresher water – AND, it’s much cheaper than spending five bucks a day buying plastic water bottles.
Organic face cleanser
People are pretty particular about their face products, which is why it’s totally nuts that so many people use non-organic cleansers everyday on their faces. Affordable products like Avalon Organics use antioxidant rich ingredients that are vegan and biodegradable and packaged using recyclable, sustainable post-consumer content. Remember, you have to think about not only the product itself but the material it is sold in.
Straws have become a kind of humorous icon in the culture wars recently, but there may be no item that so perfectly represents the unsustainable use of superfluous plastic products in our consumer world.
According to National Geographic, Americans use approximately 500 million plastic straws…every day. Another study related to beach pollution estimated that there is something like 8.5 billion plastic straws out there in the sand. This has led to some cities and companies to ban plastic straws entirely. Other companies have invested in reusable straws that use anything from stainless steel to bamboo.
If you use straws frequently, you can buy chic reusable straws that are incredibly cheap, stylishly collapsible, and eco-friendly. Some of them can even be folded inward and attached to keychains.