There are a lot of brands out there that claim to be eco-friendly, or somehow sustainable or socially conscious. But no matter if you’re trying to be mindful in your spending habits or just want a solid, high-quality product that will last, it sometimes can be tough to suss out the real deal from the hype. As an added complication, “green” or socially-conscious products sometimes cost more than their conventional counterparts.
Don’t waste your money buying things that are “green” in name only, or that wear out quickly and have to be replaced constantly. These are five eco-smart products that get the job done and benefit the planet at the same time.
Kleen Kanteen 5 Pack Straws: $9.99
We’ve finally grasped the hazards of single-use plastic straws on marine ecosystems. As a result, 2018 saw a lot of restaurants, hotel chains, and other big companies swear them off. But even if you never frequent these establishments or not, having your own reusable straw on hand is a good way to make sure you’re doing your part to keep all those plastic tubes out of our oceans.
Since reusable straws hit the market, there has been some debate about the merits of stainless steel versus silicone models. For people who want the best of both worlds, Kleen Kanteen has hybrid straws that give you the resilience and durability of stainless steel with silicone, which won’t be uncomfortable on your lips if you’re drinking a piping hot or ice-cold beverage.
Boscia Cleansing Oil: $32
Lots of personal-care brands say they embrace eco-friendly and sustainable practices, but only some deliver and still manage to make your skin look bright and healthy. Japanese brand Boscia walks the walk: It was the first skincare brand to completely eliminate preservatives from its products, it eschews animal testing, and it relies on botanicals like jojoba leaf and willowherb — not chemicals — for its efficacy.
And that efficacy is no joke. Especially when the cold weather seems to leave everything dry and flaky, we love how this oil-based cleanser gets off makeup and grime without leaving behind a tight, parched feeling or a greasy residue. If you don’t need a cleanser that doubles as a makeup remover, this warming black face wash (it’s charcoal-based) is another excellent pick.
YOGO Travel Yoga Mat: $44
Good for the earth and beneficial for your mental and physical health? You won’t have to twist yourself into knots to see why this ultra-lightweight, foldable yoga mat is a great idea.
We can personally vouch for the unparalleled portability of this foldable mat, which will only add two pounds to your carry-on, commuting, or gym bag. What’s more, unlike a lot of yoga mats that are manufactured out of chemical-laden synthetics, YOGO mats are made from sustainably-harvested natural rubber. They also fold up like a newspaper, so your hands or feet never touch the side that faces the ground. If you do get it grimy, though, you can just hose off this low-maintenance mat in the shower and let it hang dry. As an added perk, YOGO has a tree planted for every mat it sells.
Click & Glow Smart Garden 9: $199.95
Living with plants has a whole host of benefits, studies show, from cleaner air to reduced stress. And it goes without saying that most of us would be a lot healthier if we incorporated more plants into our regular diets.
These indoor “smart” gardens will have you growing your own food even if you don’t have much of a green thumb. You don’t need a greenhouse and a host of tools (and time) to cultivate herbs and veggies, thanks to what the company calls its “NASA inspired Smart Soil,” which is formulated to an exacting ratio to deliver the best nutrition to your little green babies, while a strip of overhead LED grow lights ensures that your plants get enough light to thrive.
Plastic flip-flops that break or wear out in a few months may be cheap, but they are probably terrible for your feet, and they’re not so hot for the earth, either. Chaco’s American-made, sturdy and customizable sandals, on the other hand, have attained a cult following for being incredibly durable and comfortable. You can choose everything from the color of the footbed to the color of the straps and even the color of the stitching, so they’ll fit your style as well as your tootsies.
With ergonomic features like a contoured footbed and adjustable straps, Chacos are beloved by people who want to avoid — or prevent — foot pain. They’re also highly praised by environmentalists, outdoor enthusiasts, and people who just plain hate the idea of our disposable-everything culture, because Chaco’s customizable line, like these two-strap sandals, survive the test of time and are made here in the U.S. (in Michigan). Another big perk: If your beloved Chacos need new webbing, a new outsole or other repairs, you can send them back to the factory and get them fixed up instead of having to throw them out. (Chaco says it fixes about 20,000 sandals every year.)