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In 20 years, these 14 things will be impossible to buy

Do you love your landline phone and value Tupperware cookware? Stock up on these items now before stores stop selling them recommends Reader's Digest.

Photo: Shutterstock

As consumer tastes change and new products emerge, many products are likely to disappear from store shelves over the next two decades. Soon, “we can brush our teeth with wooden toothbrushes, only heat lunches in glass containers, and never be out of reach of a metal or glass bottle of water,” said Kimberly Palmer, personal finance expert at NerdWallet. Experts recommend stocking up on these items before they disappear forever.

Plastic water bottles

Bottled water was a huge hit for its convenience when it first appeared in the 1970s. But, Palmer said, as consumers become aware of the negative environmental impact of plastic, "they will increasingly vote with their wallet and buy reusable items like the Hydro Flask." There is also a lucrative bonus for buying reusable bottles: “While the initial cost may be higher, they will save consumers money over time because they last longer,” says Palmer.

Keys from the house

Say goodbye to the loss of bulky keybindings.

“Smart locks are becoming more and more common. In early 2019, it was predicted that one in four homeowners would buy a smart lock this year, ”says Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at

Although the use of smart locks is now more common among homeowners than renters, Ramhold expects landlords to start offering them over the next two decades. Unfortunately, this means that the locksmith job may be one of those that will disappear in the next 25 years.


For today's health-conscious consumers, starting a day with a cup of sweet cereal is no longer as attractive as it used to be. Due to the variety of breakfast options that are now available at grocery stores, many prefer to take something more balanced, hearty, or convenient than a bowl of cereal. Sales of such popular brands as Kellogg in 2014 fell by almost 5%.

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Plastic straws

Disposable plastic bans are common in the United States. Starbucks, American Airlines, and even SeaWorld are among the companies that have eliminated plastic straws in recent years.

“Restaurants are already moving away from plastic straws because of the environmental impact,” stresses Ramhold. "In another 10 or 20 years, I expect plastic straws to be difficult, if not impossible, to find."

Even the royal family is committed to this sustainable trend - they have banned straws at Buckingham Palace.

Fabric softener

Photo: Shutterstock

Sales of fabric softeners have decreased by 10% over the past 15 years. Analysts say millennials and other green shoppers are wary of the potentially harmful chemicals in fabric softeners. Others don't buy fabric softener because they just don't understand what its purpose is. As sales of such products decline, the likelihood that we will see them on store shelves in 20 years time also decreases.

Paper Magazines / Newspapers

Reading a print newspaper or magazine may soon become a hobby from the past. Most people these days read the news on their phones or computers, and many shopping malls prioritize their online presence. They are now focusing on providing paid membership access to their websites instead of distributing physical copies of their publications.

Paper receipts

Most likely, you will receive receipts for many purchases now by e-mail, and not on paper.

"It's definitely better for the environment, not to mention it reduces clutter," says Ramhold. In addition to reducing unnecessary and harmful waste, she said, reducing the use of paper receipts also helps companies cut big expenses from their budgets.


As companies face backlash from consumers and local plastics bans, “it's possible that many of the products we use every day will be replaced with more efficient and more sustainable ones,” Palmer says. For example, food container manufacturers will focus on products made from glass or stainless steel, as opposed to Tupperware plastic containers. Not only is cutting plastic an environmentally friendly choice, research shows that hidden danger can lurk inside BPA-free plastic products, such as Tupperware.

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Plastic toothbrushes

Disposable plastics, such as toothbrushes, make up half of the nearly 300 million tons of plastic produced in the world every year, and are virtually impossible to recycle. But thanks to “a huge backlash and public outcry against the amount of plastic we use and throw away every day,” plastic toothbrushes can soon be replaced with more durable toothbrushes made of wood, Palmer says.

Digital cameras point-and-shoot

Now that smartphone cameras can capture Instagram-worthy shots of everything from selfies to landscapes, point-and-shoot digital cameras are rapidly becoming obsolete. You can still see professional photographers lugging their full-size cameras all over the place, but the average Joe or Jill is more likely to take pictures of the holidays and vacations with their phone.

USB devices

Digital file storage has been moving towards virtual systems for a long time before Apple released new laptops without USB ports. But taken together, these two trends marked the beginning of the end for thumb-sized storage devices. Now, if you want to store your digital data securely, most technical experts will suggest putting it in the cloud or in an electronic storage accessible over the Internet.

Disposable bags

Photo: Shutterstock

When it comes to financial solutions for today's shoppers, Palmer says, "the general trend is that consumers are much more aware of the environmental impact of their choices." Plastic bags are no exception. With the wide range of reusable shopping bag options available on the market, they have grown in popularity among consumers looking to reduce their plastic consumption.

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Landline phones

Landline phones, if not yet, may soon become ancient relics due to the growing popularity of mobile gadgets. While nearly 43% of American households still used landlines in 2018, the number has been steadily declining, according to a survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It's safe to say that pretty soon landline phones will be more common in antique stores and museums than on store shelves.

Smartphone Chargers

Rumor has it that Apple will soon do away with charging ports on all of its products, relying solely on wireless charging.

"If that happens," Ramhold suggests, "other companies will almost certainly do the same."

If such a prediction does come true, then, according to a consumer analyst, it could cause a big headache for those who use outdated technical devices.

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