There are more ways to help the environment than simply opting for reusable shopping bags.
Whether you want to live more sustainably or get more for your money, you don’t need to make drastic changes to achieve either. From reusable cleaning cloths to electrical appliances, there are a number of everyday items that can help you save money and reduce waste.
Elliot Weiler, Consumer Reports’ Digital Lifestyle Editor, joined TODAY’s 3rd Hour to share seven durable and reusable products that can help you stretch your budget.
Consumer Reports sustainable and reusable products
Reidea electronic lighter
If you’ve thrown more disposable lighters in the trash than you can count, this refillable lighter can help end the cycle. Weiler says he can light a stove or candle like a traditional lighter, all without using flammable fuel. After charging it via USB, the difference in electrode charge creates an arc of ionized gas hot enough to ignite candles, paper and other flammable materials, according to the brand. Plus, says Weiler, it’s wind resistant.
NutriChef Vacuum Sealer
Stop throwing away food! Weiler says one of the best ways to reduce food waste is to store your food instead. This vacuum sealer creates an airtight seal around steaks, vegetables, and anything else you want to store to keep it fresh and prevent freezer burn. CR testers found this model from NutriChef to do well in their testing and rated it Excellent for its dry food sealing capabilities and speed. While it might seem like an investment, Weiler says it’s easy to use and worth the money it’ll save you in the long run.
KitchenIQ Edge Grip Knife Sharpener
A dull blade doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to buy a whole new set of kitchen knives. If you want to extend the life of what you already own, Weiler says a good knife sharpener can help. This compact sharpener uses a two-stage system to help you achieve a sharper blade: the first is a coarse stage for “very dull” knives while the second is a fine slot for knives that need a quick touch-up. One thing to note – it’s small, so be very careful with your fingers while sharpening.
If you drink a lot of seltzer water or soda, this gadget can help you do that at home. CR testers calculated that a family of five who drinks five liters of store-bought seltzer water a week would likely save $195 and 520 plastic bottles over two years if they switched to this machine. CR testers also found the SodaStream Terra to be easy to use, didn’t need electricity, and you can customize how much your drinks fizz with just the push of a button.
Aidea Reusable Cleaning Cloths
It’s easy to waste paper towels, so reducing the number you use can help you save not only money, but also the environment, Weiler says. You can pick up a pack of these reusable cloths for less than $15 and get the same benefits as paper towels: they’re absorbent, machine washable (up to 25 times, depending on the brand), and the perfect size for clean up spills, dry hands or clean counters.
Gourmia 6 Quart Digital Air Fryer
Air fryers are the perfect solution for prepping food or reheating leftovers, so you don’t have to throw them away. You can also use them to cook meals from scratch. This model from Gourmia was one of the top performers in CR’s tests – it got an excellent rating for controls and a very good rating for its noise levels and ease of cleaning.
Stihl BGA 57 Electric Leaf Blower
Weiler says lawn tools with two-stroke engines, on an hourly basis, can emit between 20 and 300 times the emissions of a car. Battery-operated devices completely reduce these emissions and are often cheaper to run than gas models. Plus, says Weiler, they perform as well as, or better than, traditional gas-powered models. This leaf blower from Stihl is a CR Best Buy and was one of the best performing models in CR’s lab tests. It has enough power to clean up leaves and other debris and is also quiet, Weiler said. It got high marks for reliability and owner satisfaction and is a good option for fall yard cleanups.
For more stories like this, check out our Best Product Reviews hub with Consumer Reports.