6 reusable Items to save money and create less waste

If you are trying to save money and feel like you have nothing left to cut from your budget, I encourage you to consider these 6 reusable items.

Look around your home at the items you purchase and then throw away.

These items might include:

  • Paper towels
  • Paper plates
  • Dryer sheets
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Ziplock bags
  • Diapers
  • Straws

If you want to start saving more money and in turn make more environmentally friendly choices, consider switching some of these disposable items into reusable items!

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.


I recognize that disposable items seem like they are more convenient. However, as a mom of two who switched to MANY reusable items, I will tell you that reusable is WAY more convenient.

Why is reusable more convenient?

That’s easy…

When you have a reusable item, you ALWAYS know that you have them. Running out doesn’t exist.

You will NOT find yourself running to the store to grab snack bags before school or sending your spouse urgently to the store for diapers.

Not only that but think of it this way.

Every trip to the store you avoid to pick up items like paper towel saves you from literally throwing away money (quite literally), saves you money on gas, and reduces items in the landfill.

And we can ALL do our part to send less items to the landfill.

So if you are thinking to yourself “yeah, I could make some swaps to save money and the environment” then this is the post for you. Let’s jump into our families favorite reusable items to save money and create less waste.

Reusable Items That Save Money and Create Less Waste

1. Reusable swap for plastic bags

If you are someone who works outside the home, travels, has kids in school, etc, then you probably have a love for plastic baggies.

Plastic bags are SO convenient for so many things. Everything from lunches to airplane travels or organizing at home.

But the amount of trash that is created from plastic bags is insane. Not to mention the cost of buying these bags and then throwing them out.

In our house we switched to reusable bags may years ago and will NEVER go back.

Which ones do we use? We’ve tried many different ones but our favorites are called Stasher.

Stasher bags are made of platinum food-grade silicone and you can store dry goods, frozen foods, and even COOK in them.

We use them for carrying essentials while traveling, storing food, and even storing kid’s toys.

And for those curious, after 3 years, the bags we have STILL work incredibly.

The bonus about these bags is that they have the most BEAUTIFUL colors and a variety of sizes!


2. Reusable swap for plastic straws

I love straws. I only drink cold drinks with straws especially at restaurants. But disposable straws are NOT my friend.

When I first saw the super sad turtle with a straw stuck in his nose photo I nearly died. SO we switched to reusable straws.

There are so many different straws out there you can use and we’ve tried most of them.

They have silicone straws, reusable plastic straws, glass straws, bamboo straws, and stainless steel straws. (If there are other types, please let me know!)

Want to try Simply Straws for 10% off? (Like the one above!) These are our GO-TO for glass straws and have been using them since 2014. Use the code RPBM10 at checkout!

Now to be totally honest, I’m not the best at remembering my straws when I’m out but I am trying!

I’m contemplating getting one of these straws to make forgetting impossible.

3. Reusable swaps for paper towels and napkins

We stopped buying paper towels in 2012 and never looked back. What we didn’t realize was that we HAD what we needed, aka kitchen towels, and didn’t need to buy throw-away ones.

Flour sack towels make a great paper towel replacement. Target has them but so does Amazon…obvs.

Napkins though? Well, we use washcloths. Or cloth napkins that we got from our wedding. Or the dishcloths.

To be totally honest, anything works! But if you are the type of person that wants to BUY something to make the swap, I LOVE these but have never purchased them for myself.

Here is another option on Amazon.

4. Reusable swap for dryer sheets

Have you ever heard of wool dryer balls? These make a great swap for dryer sheets.

And to be honest, these are what we use. (We got ours from MightyFix for $3 and you can get the same deal here)

However, we purchased these before going vegan (wool dryer balls are NOT considered vegan) but we do not want to be wasteful so we continue to use them.

If you want a vegan dryer ball option, these bamboo ones are a great choice.

There are also plastic ones like these cutie little hedgehogs that make a great swap.

And for anyone on the fence, I promise you, dryer balls are a WAY better choice than dryer sheets for many reasons.

5. Reusable swap for tampons/pads

For those with a menstrual cycle, this is a great place to start when wanting to make more environmentally friendly choices and create less waste.

(I have a much more in-depth post about this coming soon!)

This is also a great way to start saving money every month.

Instead of spending $10-$20 a month on throwaway products, I bought 2 reusable items for $20-$30 and have not had to purchase anything new in 2 years! I call that a win.)

If you want to make the change to reusable period products, here’s the easiest way to start.

REPLACE TAMPONS: Instead of tampons, consider using a menstrual cup like the ones from Saalt or Sckoon Organics.

REPLACE PADS: If you are looking for a replacement for disposable pads you can try reusable ones like this or even period panties!

I personally use both a menstrual cup and reusable pads and I have had a great experience with both. However, what is best for you is an incredibly personal choice so try out a few and see which you like best!

6. Reusable swaps for diapers and baby wipes

I’m a mom of two boys and used cloth diapers for both of them. We tried so many different varieties and found many that worked at different times and for different kids.

The great thing about swapping from disposable diapers and wipes for reusable options is that it will save you some serious money and you will NOT need to run out to the store in emergency situations for diapers and wipes.

So what cloth diapers do we like?

When we first started cloth diapering our first son, I made a video so you can check that out here if you want. (Fair warning… it is an OLD video)

Here are few brands we use:

If you are wanting to try cloth diapers, leave a comment and I would love to help you figure out how to start! It can absolutely be overwhelming but once you enter the cloth diapering world it will all start to make sense.

So there you have my 6 reusable items that save us money and help us to create less waste.

Have you swapped any of these items? Are there things you have started using to save money and create less waste that is not listed? Let me know in the comments!

More from Realistic Plant-Based Mama:

Plant-Based and Zero Waste Tips + free printable

6 Foods to Help You Transition to a Plant-Based Diet

5 Foods To Help Your Kids Go Plant-Based

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