16 long-lasting alternatives to repeat purchases
There are certain items in our lives we buy again and again, without giving it much thought.
Perhaps you’re accustomed to replacing your earphones every year, or your sunglasses. Maybe you always find yourself buying socks, because they wear through in a matter of months. It doesn't take long for all these purchases to add up to a significant spend, even if they're cheaper in the short term.
Buying for life saves money, time and waste. Here are some of our fantastic long-lasting alternatives to common throwaway items - all independently researched and tested by us.
Everlasting clothes pegs
When it comes to the stuff that lasts forever, one thing we often look out for is a one-piece seamless design. It means no joints or mechanisms to go wrong.
Pincinox clothes pegs are a great example. They’re springless, made from one strip of top-quality forged stainless steel, and they’re never going to snap. Completely rustproof, resistant to frost and heat, and strong to boot. Keep them outside on the washing line. Forever.
With soft rubbery tips and a case made from recycled ocean-bound plastic, Last Swab is a neat replacement for disposable cotton buds. It’s also gentler on your ears, frees space in your bathroom cabinet and can be washed in just a couple of seconds.
Remember - plastic-free disposables still have an environmental impact. Switching to LastSwab reduces carbon footprint by 83%, water consumption by 92% and energy use by 80%. You’ll break even on CO2 emissions after just 35 uses. It’s waste-reducing, space-saving and oh-so-easy. You’ll never go back.
Razors for life
How many razors do you reckon you've used in your lifetime? The razor is an item we've come to see as disposable, when it really needn't be. The blade is the only thing that wears out, yet we have to throw away the whole unit every time.
Though they might look a little intimidating, these Shavent razors are far from old-fashioned. Shavent razors offer the same shape, triple blade and pivoting head as your favourite brand - but they’ll last for decades. Each one is made in Germany, where it is precision-engineered from die-cast zinc: a metal exceptionally resistant to corrosion. Ditch overpriced plastic and expensive shaving clubs, and your Shavent will also pay for itself in no time.
You've probably bought quite a few umbrellas in your time from a pharmacy or supermarket in the midst of a downpour. These cheap, flimsy items will get you home, but buckle for good when they encounter their first strong gust of wind.
We’ve found Blunt, who saw an opportunity to make umbrellas differently. With a high-tension canopy and super-strong structure, these have been tested in 70mph winds. Blunt umbrellas are even built to be repaired - free for 2 years, and for a reasonable cost after that. You need never throw another brolly in the bin again.
Reusable tissue packs
We use and discard millions of tissues every day. What if that changed? Last Object are bringing back the handkerchief in style. This reusable tissue pack is more eco-friendly than disposable tissues - and more hygienic than your traditional hanky setup.
It’s simple: pull an organic cotton tissue out of the bottom of the silicone pack, and stuff used ones in the top. A silicone divider keeps them separate. Simply chuck them in the wash to clean (a net bag will stop them disappearing), and the box can go in the dishwasher. The soft organic cotton is far gentler on your nose, too.
Heavy-duty pepper grinders
Those flimsy disposable pepper grinders you get from the supermarket aren't just wasteful, they're also terrible to use. Have you ever tried to force one to turn, only for the top to pop off and flood your bolognese? When you invest in a proper pepper grinder, the difference is remarkable.
These beautiful cast iron pepper grinders by Swedish iron masters Skeppshult are satisfyingly solid and weighty. They make short work of peppercorns, with a simple internal crushing mechanism that will never break on you. Next time your pepper runs out, try a buy-for-life swap you'll love to use every day.
Sunnies with a difference
Many of us avoid spending any money on sunglasses for fear of breaking them. But with these sunglasses by social enterprise Waterhaul, you needn't worry. These frames are made entirely from ghost fishing nets recovered from our oceans, which creates an incredibly strong material.
What's more, they're guaranteed for life - so if they break, you simply need to send them back for a repair or replacement (irreparable frames are shredded for recycling). They even come with a free cork case to keep them protected.
We've all bought a cheap toaster in our day. The failure points are familiar: the lever won’t stay down, one side won’t toast, the eject button stops working. You may be familiar with British heritage brand Dualit - but did you know that their award-winning Classic toasters are built to be repaired again and again?
Not only that, they’re still made in Dualit’s original West Sussex factory. Originally designed for the catering industry, Dualit toasters are well-known for lasting decades. That, and making perfect toast every time.
Cheap leather belts always have a limited lifespan, eventually getting worn away and breaking around the hole you usually use. Invest in proper full-grain leather, and you'll save on repeat-buying belts of inferior quality.
These beautiful belts made by leather experts Tanner Bates in South Devon are the real deal. Made from thick, tough vintage hides, they're naturally tanned using age-old processes. They even carry a 25 year repair guarantee, exclusive to us.
Darn Tough socks are made with merino wool and, incredibly, are guaranteed for life. If your sock develops a hole, you simply need to send them back to your nearest Darn Tough warehouse, and they'll send you another pair for free.
They’re not just the toughest socks out there - they’re also the comfiest and best. Merino wool has temperature regulating and moisture wicking properties, and is even antimicrobial. They're the last socks you’ll ever need - really.
Ditch the leaky takeaway box, and choose a lunch receptacle you can trust. Elephant Box founders Liz and Joy wanted to be part of the solution in the war against waste. By creating solid, well-designed products that last a lifetime, their aim is to help people buy better, and buy less.
There’s no plastic in sight with this sturdy lunchbox - just 100% quality stainless steel. It’s strong enough to last forever, and the innovative clipping system keeps the lid secure. The ultra-hygienic material also means stains and odours won’t stick around. Complete with a 15 year guarantee on all of their products.
Made from top-quality 18/8 stainless steel, this lunchbox is the last lunchbox you'll ever need. We also have a handy stainless steel water bottle, cups and a washing up bowl - more long-lasting alternatives to a single-use items.
It’s a horrible feeling when your headphones break - always at the plug end of the wire. These high-spec headphones by AIAIAI have a modular build, meaning if one element breaks, you can simply replace one part instead of discarding the whole unit. This also means you can easily upgrade your headphones’ speakers, or even change to Bluetooth.
If earbuds are more your thing, Glaswegian audio experts RHA make Bluetooth earphones of exceptional quality - and they're covered by a 3 year warranty.
Indestructible frying pans
Don't buy yet another flaky non-stick pan; make the switch to iron pans and upgrade to a Solidteknics iron skillet instead. Complete with an incredible multi-century warranty, these pans are made from one seamless piece of wrought iron.
They cook and season just like traditional heavy cast iron skillets, but at half the weight. Their signature satin surface is designed to hold seasoning, and their vented handles stay cool. This is cookware to hand down from generation to generation.
Repair-anything reusable moulding sticks
Snapped plastic? Missing part? Frayed cable? These seriously nifty FixIts make all kinds of repairs easy. Simply dunk the stick in boiled water to soften, pinch off what you need and get moulding. The non-toxic material hardens in minutes. And if you make a mistake? Just reheat with a hairdryer to soften again.
We also have FixIts reusable double-sided tape, which sticks down strong and peels off without a trace. Perfect for holding things in place - think extension cords, rugs, tablecloths and frames. Infinitely reusable and with no expiry date, FixIts are a reusable alternative to tape, glue and Blu Tack. They’re also made in the UK and compostable in your food waste bin.
Raw denim jeans
Do your jeans always bust in the same places? Try a pair made of stronger stuff and invest in Blackhorse Lane Ateliers raw denim. Made in London from only the best heavyweight denims, they employ tailoring innovation and heritage construction to make seriously sturdy jeans. Each pair will shape and fade with the contours of your body, meaning they only get better as they age.
What's more, Blackhorse Lane will even repair your jeans for free - for life. Simply send your pair in to their workshop in London.
If you have a household of klutzes who can't be trusted with fancy glasses, try something a little different. Our range of French Duralex tumblers are made from ultra-durable tempered glass, in instantly-recognisable classic styles.
They're shock resistant, thermal shock resistant and virtually unbreakable. On the off-chance that they do break, Duralex shatters safely, leaving no dangerous jagged edges. And with designs that range from elegant glass mugs to highball tumblers, they look the part too.
Sick of throwaway culture? Browse our Simple Swaps collection here, full of long-lasting alternatives to throwaway stuff.
- How to start buying less stuff
- Our founder’s manifesto, A Life Less Throwaway
- What have long-lasting products got to do with the circular economy?