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Spending as little as 10 minutes reading the latest climate statistics can help induce a sense of existential dread followed by a desire to find ways to help. The good news is that behavioral changes can reduce your personal environmental impact, be it thrifting clothes instead of buying new ones, letting native grasses grow on your lawn, taking public transportation more often, or choosing the right type of vegetable oil. Scientific breakthroughs like increasing the production of seaweed can help, too, as does limiting your use of single-use plastics, which sends a message to corporations to stop using as much.
The irony of putting together a list of products in the name of sustainability is not lost on us, but we had rigid criteria for what we selected. Our recommendations are either more Earth-friendly versions of very common items like toiletries and a cutting board, or gadgets that can help you reduce, reuse, or recycle more efficiently. For example, cutting down on food waste—including knowing when to distrust sell-by dates, preserving the leftovers of what you cook in reusable containers, and composting the scraps—is good for the environment and your wallet.
It’s easy to feel hopeless, but changing your habits, lobbying companies and governments to put the environment first, and investing in items that can reduce your personal waste and carbon footprint over time can all contribute to a healthier planet.
- Best earbuds: Urbanista Phoenix
- Best composter: Reencle Home Composter
- Best water filter: Hydros 40oz Water Filter Slim Pitcher
- Best under-sink filter system: Waterdrop 10UA
- Best insulated water bottle: Hydro Flask 20 oz All Around Tumbler
- Best cutting board: Material reBoard
- Best solar generator: Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro
- Best charcoal: The Good Charcoal Company 15.4-pound bag
- Best smart oven: Tovala Smart Oven
- Best tech toolkit: iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit
- Best smart thermostat: Google Nest Learning Thermostat
- Best detergent: Poesie Laundry Detergent Sheets
- Best liquid soap: Cleancult Dish Soap
- Best indoor gardening kit: Gardyn Home Kit 2.0
- Best menstrual cup: Saalt Soft Menstrual Cup
- Best printer: HP Smart Tank 5101
Best earbuds: Urbanista Phoenix
Earbuds are the most convenient style of personal audio due to their portability, and Urbanista’s Phoenix doubles down on that thanks to the solar panel on its case, which can continually recharge them. The panel’s inclusion makes this set of true wireless earbuds larger than most models, but that comes with the benefit of a larger battery. The Phoenix buds can offer up to eight hours of music playback, but its case holds enough charge to offer an additional 34 hours of power. Yes, you can still recharge these earbuds and their case with a USB-C cable, but leaving the case out while you listen to music on a sunny day can top it up. The Phoenix earbuds are competitive with similar models in their sub-$150 price range, including hybrid noise cancellation, IPX4 water resistance, and support for Bluetooth 5.2. If you find yourself with dead earbuds at the most inconvenient times, this is the pair you’ve been waiting for.
Best composter: Reencle Home Composter
Reencle’s Home Composter smooths out many annoying details that make composting undesirable or seemingly too difficult. The aesthetically pleasing device suppresses odors, can handle over two pounds of food waste per day, and may only need to be emptied after one to three months. Its carbon filters can last several years without needing to be replaced, and it only consumes roughly $2 worth of power each month. The key to this composter is the “ReencleMicrobe,” which continuously breaks down food and doesn’t need to be replaced. Thanks to motion sensors that can be activated by your hand and foot, you don’t even need to touch this composter to open its lid. The Reencle Home Composter requires a pretty sizable up-front investment, but considering how much food waste is generated in the United States from farm to table, it can help you do your part.
Best water filter: Hydros 40oz Water Filter Slim Pitcher
Filtered water pitchers aren’t new, but they can help you wean yourself off of buying bottled water. This 40-ounce water filter from Hydros is slim enough to fit next to cartons of juice or milk on the door of your fridge, and its filters can reduce 90 percent of chlorine and 99 percent of sediment from your water. Those filters are made from coconut shell carbon inside a BPA-free casing and must only be replaced after a couple of months. Hydros says its filters are up to five times faster than similar options, so you won’t have to wait as long to fill the container or your glasses.
Best under-sink filter system: Waterdrop 10UA
If you want filtered water without losing any fridge space, consider Waterdrop’s 10UA, a filtration system connecting directly to the pipes beneath your sink. The only tool required to install the 10UA is a wrench, which is used to attach the filter to your water line. The 10UA does not require new pipes or power to be installed. Once it’s set up, you’ll get filtered water directly from your tap. Waterdrop says its filter can reduce the amount of chlorine, rust, lead, heavy metals, chemical impurities, and sand while also improving the taste and smell of your water. Each filter can clean up to 8,000 gallons of water, and Waterdrop suggests you replace them once per year. An Amazon deal has brought the 10UA’s price down to under $50, which makes it a particularly good Earth Day investment.
Best insulated water bottle: Hydro Flask All Around Tumbler
If you’re struggling to filter your water, you’ll want to keep it in a safe container large enough to reduce frequent trips to your kitchen. HydroFlask’s All Around Tumbler checks both of those boxes. The Water Bottle is made from BPA-free and toxin-free pro-grade stainless steel. This material can also insulate heat, so your hot beverages stay hot, and your cold ones stay cold. The All Around Tumbler’s 20-ounce capacity should reduce trips to the kitchen for refills. A 28-ounce version is available if you’d like a bigger option. HydroFlask offers the All Around Tumbler in multiple colorways, so you can find one that suits your style.
Best cutting board: Material reBoard
If you’re starting to rethink the sustainability of your kitchen, you should invest in Material’s reBoard. The cutting board is made of 75% recycled plastics and 25% renewable sugarcane; it’s BPA-free, dishwasher-safe, and comes in various colors. This type of cutting board is ideal for use with both vegetables and meat because juices from the latter won’t seep into the pores of the reBoard like they would if it was made out of wood. The reBoard is 14.75 inches long and 10.75 inches wide, which is big enough for most meal prep and carving. Our favorite touch is the reBoard’s circular cutout, which makes it easier to grab and hang.
Best solar generator: Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro
A solar generator is an essential gadget for multi-day camping, but it can also help you increase your renewable energy consumption at home. Jackery’s Explorer 2000 Pro is the top pick in our buyer’s guide because of its high capacity, user-friendly design, and ability to be fully recharged in under three hours when plugged into an outlet. The Explorer 2000 weighs over 43 pounds without the included solar panel, but none of the space is wasted. This solar generator is equipped with three AC outlets, one DC output, two USB-A ports, and two USB-C ports with a total maximum power output of 2200 Watts. If you have a backyard, you could use Jackery’s solar panel to charge the Explorer 2000, and use it to recharge all of your gadgets—and even power electronics like your TV—using renewable power.
Best charcoal: The Good Charcoal Company 15.4-pound bag
The Good Charcoal Company
Good Charcoal Company has taken on the seemingly impossible task of making grilling less taxing on the environment. It’s made of dense acacia wood that heats to a higher temperature, so you’ll need fewer briquettes to cook your food. Fewer briquettes ultimately lead to less waste. The Good Charcoal Company says it sources its wood from Nambia, a region where the acacia trees are so overgrown that it’s threatening the region’s natural ecological balance. By using this wood rather than needlessly cutting down trees in forests where they’re doing no harm, The Good Charcoal Company’s sustainability story is carried from source to your plate.
Best smart oven: Tovala Smart Oven
Brandt Ranj / Popular Science
Tovala’s Smart Oven is the only kitchen gadget we’ve tried that reliably helped us cut down on our food waste. The multifunction oven is designed to work with Tovala’s meal subscription, which sends pre-portioned ingredients that can be quickly assembled and cooked. This method is similar to meal kit boxes we’re familiar with but requires a lot less effort. Each meal’s recipe card has a QR code, which the Smart Oven can scan to set its time and temperature automatically. The average time it takes to cook a Tovala meal—from opening the ingredients to sitting at the table—is under half an hour. It’s easy to start the week with an ambitious trip to the grocery store only to end up with spoiled ingredients several days later, and Tovala’s Smart Oven can save you from contributing to that food waste. Sometimes I cook more than I finish; when that’s the case, I reach for some FoodSaver containers to keep leftovers fresh and keep disposable containers out of the trash.
Best tech toolkit: iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit
It’s hard to know what to do when an electronic breaks, but iFixit’s Pro Tech Toolkit can help you get inside and (potentially) fix the problem yourself rather than tossing it out or paying for a costly repair. The toolkit is a natural extension of the company’s website, which features dozens of guides that provide free step-by-step directions on repairing an iPhone, Android device, game console, and more. What separates this toolkit from the rest is its comprehensive set of screwdriver bits, spudgers, and tweezers. These are precise tools that will reduce the chances of accidentally stripping a screw or tearing a wire accidentally. We’re big fans of the right-to-repair movement currently gaining traction in the United States, and iFixit’s Pro Tech Toolkit makes it easier to participate in this revolution.
Best smart thermostat: Google Nest Learning Thermostat
What if you could reduce the energy consumption in your home without ever thinking about it? That’s the promise of the Google Nest Learning Thermostat. The Wi-Fi-enabled smart thermostat can track when you’re home and away to intelligently manage your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) system. If it learns correctly, your home will always be warm and cool when you need it to be, while giving your HVAC system a break when necessary. This can save you money on your bills over time, and some utility companies will even offer you credit for upgrading your older thermostats. The Nest has other tangible benefits beyond leveraging AI—like allowing you to monitor and adjust your home’s temperature from anywhere in the world. You’re still going to be in complete control of your HVAC system, but seeding some power to the Nest Learning Thermostat once it has proven it’s capable of handling the responsibility can make your home more sustainable.
Best detergent: Poesie Laundry Detergent Sheets
Switching from pods and liquid detergents to detergent sheets is one of those no-brainer swaps that you can make without disturbing your regular routine. Poesie’s sheets contain no plastic, no phosphorus, and no fluorescer without impacting their cleaning performance. Plus, detergent sheets are easier to pack on trips if you rent a place with a washer and dryer. We’re recommending a 160-sheet package, which should last you about a year or more if you do laundry once per week. Poesie says you should use between one and four sheets depending on how much laundry you’re doing and how dirty your clothes are. If you’re looking for a quick, sustainable home swap, here it is.
Best liquid soap: Cleancult Dish Soap
On a similar note, Clean Cult’s Liquid Dish Soap is another eco-friendly product swap that’s easy to make. This three-pack of dish soap is designed to be used with the company’s glass dispensers, but will work just fine if you decide to use any empty container. Clean Cult’s Dish Soap is made from natural ingredients, free from phthalates, phosphates, petroleum-based ingredients, dyes, and comes in a recyclable paper container. You can choose between three scents: grapefruit basil, lemongrass, and wild lavender. Clean Cult says its dish soap uses 90% less plastic than traditional options, and this three-pack should last several months before you need to top up.
Best indoor gardening kit: Gardyn Home Kit 2.0
Growing a home garden can seem ambitious—especially if you live in a colder climate or an apartment—but Gardyn’s Home Kit 2.0 makes it possible. The hydroponic garden comes with two strips of LEDs that automatically turn on and off on a set schedule to ensure the vegetables and herbs—stored in pods—get enough light to grow. A water tank built into its base will feed liquid through tubes to each of the pods. The tank will need to be refilled once or twice a week depending on how many plants you’re growing and their size, and Gardyn includes plant food to ensure they get their nutrients. You’ll still be in charge of pruning and harvesting your crops, but the Gardyn Home 2.0 takes a lot of the daily maintenance work out of your hands.
Best menstrual cup: Saalt Soft Menstrual Cup
People looking for a more Earth-friendly alternative to tampons and pads can switch to Saalt’s Soft Menstrual Cup instead. The company says it surveyed over 1 million people to tweak the cup’s design to fit as comfortably as possible without compromising its ability to stay securely in place. It offers three sizes of cups to ensure you’ll find one that fits your body. Saalt says it’s made this cup from 100% medical-grade silicone and that it’s free from BPA, latex, and toxins.
Best printer: HP Smart Tank 5101
We’re ending on printers because most of them are as annoying to use as they are wasteful. The HP Smart Tank 5101 is better than most because it uses ink tanks instead of traditional cartridges. HP says these tanks allow you to print up to 6,000 monochrome and 6,000 color pages before they need to be topped up. The company says this is roughly two years’ worth of ink. This more eco-friendly approach to ink is complemented by the typical features in a printer, like support for wireless printing and the ability to access certain functions like scanning and copying using buttons and a small LCD screen. HP says the printer can print up to 12 monochrome pages and five color pages per minute, which is pretty standard for an inkjet printer. If you’d like to make your home office a little friendlier to the Earth, HP’s Smart Tank 5101 is a step in the right direction—just remember to use recycled paper.