21 posts categorized "Buying Guides"

March 22, 2011

Get away, don't throw away

ACM_133_SetFlat[2] You may remember a few weeks ago when we blogged 20+ uses for our reuseit brand recycled PET Stuff Sack. Now we're back with a new use for our recycled PET mesh produce bag set - travel helpers.

On a recent two-day trip, one of our staffers used the 11" x 10" mesh drawstring bags in lieu of large zip-top plastic bags to pack toiletries, kids toys and other items that might otherwise roll around inside luggage. The small stuff sack made an ideal holder for hair accessories.

Because the bags are mesh, she just strung them up in the shower which allowed any wet items inside (shampoo bottles, razors, toothbrushes, etc) to drip dry. For even smaller items she wanted to keep dry or separate from the rest, she used reusable snack bags.

For more waste-free travel ideas, check out our Gift for the Traveler!

December 07, 2010

Top Gifts for Him

The idea that guys aren't into helping the environment is as old fashioned as using plastic bags. In fact, our company was founded by a guy, and all of our products tested by the men behind the scenes here at reuseit.

Here you'll find our Top Five Picks for Him. Check out the links below for even more ideas!

  1. Reuseit™ Workhorse & EarthTote – finding reusable bags is tough, these are sleek, low-profile shoppings bag guys will actually use
  2. Platypus SoftBottle 1.0L – when this bottle is empty, you can just roll it up and store it just about anywhere
  3. Egear Solar Flashlight – smart design allows you to recharge two ways – with sunlight, or a pull-chord
  4. Reuseit™ 100% Made in USA insulated 6 Pack Lunch Bag – insulated lunch bag with a unique top-load design
  5. Thermos King 16oz SS Food Jar with Spoon – great for soups, stews, chili,  fresh fruit and more

And now here's Natalie (who is not a guy, but is married to a pretty manly one) to tell you about more of our top picks:

Need more advice? Check out our Reusables for Real Men guide featuring picks from the men on staff as well as proven customer favorites. Also check out our Top Picks for Him here and the whole Gifts for Him Gift Center here!

December 01, 2010

Top Gifts for the Coffee & Tea Lover

It's no secret that we are a bunch of coffee and tea lovers around here. After all, we are the people who brought you the Waste-free Starbucks Survival Guide. For this reason, we feel well-qualified in presenting you with our gift picks for the coffee and tea lovers in your life.

Here you'll find our Top Five Gift Picks for the Coffee & Tea Lover. Check out the links below for even more ideas!

  1. Reusable coffee & tea filters by swissgold - cut back on paper filters and paper coffee cups with this array of reusable gold coffee and tea filters - including a single-serve coffee filter for the freshest cup possible with no waste
  2. Aquaovo Double Wall Glass Water Bottle with Tea Filter - double-wall construction keeps drinks hot or cold without getting sweaty or hot to the touch
  3. Klean Kanteen Insulated Wide 20oz bottle with Café Cap - vacuum insulation keeps drinks hot or cold for hours, making it the perfect choice for coffee, soups and more
  4. "I Am Not A Paper Cup" – clever replacement for disposable paper cups
  5. “We Are Happy To Serve You” New York City Coffee Mug - a symbolic conversation piece to get people talking about the wisdom of reusables

And now here's Natalie to tell you a little more about our picks:

Check out our Top Ten Picks for the Coffee & Tea Lover here and the whole Coffee & Tea Lovers Gift Center here!

October 29, 2010

Time Out Chicago <3s our I'm Not A Paper Towel + 20% off reuseit!

296.shopping.apples.comp Imagine our surprise when we picked up our favorite local magazine, Time Out Chicago and found our I'm Not A Paper Towel set featured in their Apple Picking Party shopping guide!

A blend of organic cotton and hemp, this set of four mapkins looks great on the dinner table (as you can see) but also makes the perfect replacement for paper napkins in your waste-free lunch.

Soft and durable, we use them for everything - as a hankie, in place of wet wipes, as a hand towel - you name it.

Now through Monday you can take 20% off all of our reuseit products - including these napkins - check out the details here!

September 21, 2010

Clean and Green: tools, tips & tricks for tidying up without selling out

ACM_450_Kitchen Did you know that paper and paperboard products (paper towels, tissues, etc) made up 20.7 % of the municipal waste discarded in 2008--more than any other type of refuse? (6,550,000 tons!)

Think about it, every time you clean your house how many paper towels do you go through? What about sponges, disposable mop heads and dust cloths? What about all those harsh chemicals you spray into the air or toss away on a dirty paper towel?

Common household cleaners (including toilet bowl cleaners, air deodorizers, floor cleaners, window cleaners, and some detergents) often contain very toxic chemicals. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, even when used properly, these toxins make their way into the environment through evaporation of volatile components.

One obvious solution is to switch to reusable cleaning products - items like microfiber cleaning cloths, reusable scrub stones and refillable spray bottles. You could also switch to all-natural cleaning products - but those are often expensive and still come in throw-away containers - so we suggest making your own cleaners at home.

It might take a little getting used to - in fact, our photographer Sarah wrote a post on her journey to a "greener" clean earlier this year. (Check out Sarah's video below.) But once you make the switch, you'll marvel at how much money you save on disposables and how much lighter your cleaning-day trash bags become.

As Sarah mentioned in her post, we offer a few kits to get you started making your own all-natural cleaning products at home. In addition, we have a DIY Household Cleaners article in our DIY section, with links to some basic recipes for homemade cleaners. 

Finally, our brand-new DIY playlist on YouTube features videos handpicked by us, demonstrating how to make your own dish soap, bath tub cleaner and more. 

With just a few basic items, a handful of ingredients and a little elbow grease, you'll have an eco-friendly, sparkling clean home in no time. Check out this video of Sarah making DIY cleaners:

DIY Cleaning Solutions with reuseit™ spray bottles from reuseit.com on Vimeo.

Do you know of a great DIY cleaning recipe we should add to our DIY section? Leave us a comment! 

September 08, 2010

Natalie's Starbucks Survival Kit

20061101_starbucks_900x600 Don't get me wrong, I love the Fair Trade organic coffee we buy in bulk and grind fresh daily in the office kitchen. In fact, I am not ready to start my day at Reuseit without it. But once a week - usually Wednesday or Thursday when I start to run out of steam - I head to Starbucks for a pick-me-up.

Working at Reuseit I've learned a few easy ways to make my weekly treat more environmentally-responsible and today being a chilly morning in Chicago, I thought I'd share them.

First (and most obviously) bring your own mug! I like stainless steel because it keeps my coffee hot, but I see lots of people using the I Am Not A Paper Cup because it looks so much like a Starbucks cup. You can use the same mugs for iced drinks. The barista should knock a few cents off your drink every time you bring a mug, too.

Speaking of iced drinks - I have two tips for you. One: bring your own straw. It might not seem like a big waste when you look at the unassuming little straw in your cup, but if I'm going to Starbucks once a week, every week all year long that's at least 52 plastic straws a year I'm throwing away. (Not to mention all the paper they come wrapped in.) Again, I like stainless steel but glass is a fancy alternative. 

My second piece of advice for cold drinks is: if you have to take a disposable cup, reuse it. Not to drink from again, necessarily, but upcycle those plastic cups into something new. In fact, there is an entire website called Starbucks Garden 100% dedicated to ways you can reuse your coffee cups to grow your own food. 

I love sweets - and there are lots of them in the pastry case at Starbucks. I easily avoid taking a paper bag I don't really need by asking my barista to place my danish in a reusable sandwich bag. They do kind of think you're nuts at first, but it's a good way to get other people in line thinking about whether or not they really need to throw away so many paper bags every week as well. With my reusable napkin (that really doesn't get very dirty so I take it home once a week to wash with my other laundry), my mug, straw and sandwich bag I'm enjoying waste-free visits to Starbucks every week. 

At the cream and sugar counter I opt for sweeteners I can shake out of a larger container as opposed to one that comes in a disposable package, and I walk out full of caffeine and feeling pretty smart.

I'll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite blogs, Green Starbucks:

"'If only 50 customers a day in every store were to use reusable mugs, Starbucks would save 150,000 disposable paper cups daily. This equals 1.7 million pounds of paper, 3.7 million pounds of solid waste, and 150,000 trees a year.' In 2000 when this report was generated there were only 6500 stores worldwide. In 2007 there are 13,168 stores which means over 300,000 trees could be saved from landfills by BRINGING YOUR OWN CUP."

June 18, 2010

Are All Organic Products Overpriced?


There's no denying it - a lot of organic products are expensive compared to their conventional counterparts. Luckily you don't have to break the bank to make sustainable choices - we have high-quality organic items priced as low as $2.75. Here are five affordable ways to make the switch to organically-raised cotton:

  1. Organic Cotton produce & snack bags - as low as $2.75
  2. Organic cotton Plastic Bags Blow t-shirt (screened with water-based ink) - $8.95
  3. Organic Cotton String Bags - as low as $5.95
  4. Lightweight Organic Cotton Shopping Bag - as low as $3.95
  5. Lucky Crow Organic Reusable Gift Bags - as low as $6.45
Want to know more? Check out our article What Makes Organic Cotton Great - and Recycled Cotton the Best

May 11, 2010

Our Top Five Least Forgettable Bags

We can't be the only ones who notice this - most people still do not bring their own bags to the grocery store! Because it's our mission to help cut back on waste - from plastic bags to disposable water bottles to paper towels and more - we've thought long and hard about why people keep accepting disposable bags when there are so many great reusables to choose from. The answer? People forget. It's as simple as that. Time and time again our customers tell us, "I love my bags, now if I could only remember to bring them with me!"

We've come up with lots of solutions - from a sign on your front door reminding you to grab your bags to actually hanging the bags with your coat or near your keys. But the best way we can think of to remember to bring your own bags is to own bags you can't forget.

So here is our Top Five Least Forgettable Shopping Bags, in no particular order:

1. ACME Workhorse - the first ultra-compact shopping bag, and still the best. Shaped just like a plastic bag, but made from durable rip-stop nylon, it folds up into a tiny attached pouch so you can keep one in your pocket, purse or glove compartment and never get caught without a bag. Also available with long handles, in sets of four, in silicone-coated and in recycled materials.

2. Freak-O-Bags - A lot of ultra-compact shopping bags come with a carabiner to attach it to your purse or backpack, but few of them are so cool looking that you would actually want to do that. These bags are that cool. Monsters, animals and funky sea creatures that open up to a full-sized shopping bag - memorable and reusable.

3. Baggu Set of 5 - Five full-sized grocery bags that stuff into a coordinating pouch. Hang the pouch on your doorknob and get a reminder to bring your great-looking bags every time you leave the house. Also available individually and in sets of three.

4. String bag shopping sets - The convenient stuff sack makes them easy to remember - just hang them with your keys or on your doorknob. But what's really unforgettable is the reaction you'll get from other people. Memories of other customers asking "where did you get those awesome bags?" will remind you to bring them with every time.

5. ACME Bags EarthTote - Unlike the other bags on our list, this one's not a little guy. EarthTotes replace paper bags, and they fold flat just like the real thing - only they're super tough and built to last for years. Some of our customers keep a stack of these next to the refrigerator where they store their coupons - others keep them ready in the trunk. Once you've used EarthTotes and see how many paper and plastic bags they replace you won't forget them because you simply won't want to. Also available in recycled PET and as a set

ACM_06_TAN_LS_Set Looking for more creative solutions? Try creating your own kit. Our Customer Service rep Belinda keeps a stack of EarthTotes neatly folded in side a Built market tote, which she hangs on her door. When it's time to shop, she grabs the whole kit and uses the market tote for cold and frozen foods.

For a complete shopping kit, try storing 3-4 EarthTotes or other tote bags in an ACME drawstring bag and a set of produce bags in the front zipper pocket. Hang the whole thing near your door and you'll have everything you need for groceries in one spot. 

What's your trick for remembering your bags? Do you have a kit you've made or a set of bags you can't live without? Leave us a comment and we'll choose a random winner to receive a $25 gift certificate to our store to stock up on other smart reusables! We'll choose a winner on 5/14/10. 

Thanks for all your comments - and congrats to Amy!

May 05, 2010

Must-Have Reusables for Every Mom - 2010

It's that time of year again - Mother's Day. The day when we celebrate and thank the women who raised us to be the socially responsible people we are today. Whether your mom is just tuning in to the "green" lifestyle or she's been composting since you were in cloth diapers, we have some great options for reusables for every mom.

Check out some top picks from the moms on staff and from our Ambassadors - and have a happy Mother's Day!

March 02, 2010

Top Tips for Waste-free Take Out

Despite our best efforts to pack healthy lunches every day, we do know a thing or two about take out. Our office is located smack in the middle of downtown Chicago, surrounded by hundreds of places to get lunch to go. Rick Bayless has three restaurants right across the street! How could we resist?

Just like in our Starbucks Survival Kit post, we've found ways to make our weekly Thai to-go a waste-free indulgence, so here are our tips for a eco-friendly lunch on the run.

1. Figure out which take out joints near you are willing to cater to your waste-free requests and frequent them! If the sandwich shop in your building refuses to pack your snack the way you want it, march over to the one down the street that will. Of course, there might be some basic food safety issues that prevent certain restaurants from accepting a customer's containers so pick up the phone and ask, "If I give you guys a container can you pack my food in it?" If they say yes, go there!

2. If your favorite cafe gives you a disposable, ask them if you can reuse it on your next visit. We've actually seen some yogurt stands offer incentives to bring your clean container back for reuse. It's worth asking! (See the video below for more great ways to reuse disposable take out containers.)

3. Say no to plastic utensils and paper napkins. When you place your order, let them know you don't need a fork or napkins. If your office kitchen is well-stocked you might not need ketchup, soy sauce or salt packets either. You can keep reusable napkins, utensils and even straws in your bag or at your desk so you never need disposables. 

4. BYO...bag. Your favorite lunch spot might not be BYOB, but it'll certainly allow you to bring your own bag. Keep an ACME Workhorse in your purse or pocket and carry your food away with the confidence that you've spared the planet one more plastic bag. Or, have your lunch packed in a tiffin box with a handle and skip the bag altogether. 

5. Bring your own cup or mug! Whether you get a soda or a hot drink with your meal, there's no reason not to bring your own beverage container to cut back on plastic bottles, paper and Styrofoam cups and all those plastic lids and straws. A lot of cafes will even knock a few cents off your total for not taking a disposable cup.

6. Make it a sustainable sammich. You want to cut back on waste, but you won't want to haul a bulky container all the way back to work when you grab a sandwich. Take a reusable sandwich bag with you! Once they get to know you, the sandwich makers won't think twice about it and it's a guaranteed way to get other people in line talking about ways to create less waste.

Also, check out this awesome video from Grist about reducing your "carbon forkprint." There are lots of great tips - and you can find all the smart products in the video on our site, along with tons of other reusables for every part of your life. 

So what are some of your favorite ways to "take out" without all the "throw out"?