Our everyday lifestyle choices can have a big impact on the planet. And it’s up to us whether this impact is a good one or a bad one! So if you’re thinking of living a more eco-conscious lifestyle, that’s beautiful - we’re proud of you. And to help you do just that, we’ve put together this handy guide to 50 tips to live more sustainably. Read on to find out easy, quick, and affordable ways to reduce your carbon footprint, while enjoying a healthy lifestyle!
How Do We Live Sustainably?
We’re talking about taking small steps, tweaking our daily routine, and ditching a few things that are harmful to the environment. Many of us already do our best to live sustainably. The question is how to lead an even more eco-conscious life that’s good for us and the planet.
Well, the good news is we’ve put together 50 simple tips to make your everyday lives more sustainable than ever before. Start small, perhaps with five new habits every month, and watch the magic unfold!
50 Ways to Make Your Life More Sustainable
1. Drop the Plastics
Anything plastic invariably ends up in landfills, oceans, and waterways, contaminating our surroundings and endangering aquatic life. And there’s no better time to identify the major sources of plastics in your life than now.
They may be single-use plastics like cosmetic bottles, shopping bags, or microplastics such as those in your textile fabrics and detergents. Once you’ve figured out the root of the issue, switch to reusable, recyclable, eco-friendly alternatives wherever possible. You will always be able to find a plastic-free alternative to these products.
2. Recycle More
Recycle as much as possible. It’s not hard. All you need to do is check if whatever you’re discarding can be recycled instead. You’ll be surprised how much of the things you typically throw into the trash bin can be easily recycled.
One of the best things to recycle are the plastic grocery bags if you happened to bring them home. You can use these as trash bags which will be one less plastic bag given back to the environment.
3. Upcycle Before Recycle
Upcycling at home is another way to transform an item you’re done with into something of higher quality. It is something you should consider before sending an item to recycling. You can get really creative- like turn an old tattered t-shirt into a bag, tin cans into fun little flower pots, or planters for your garden.
4. Compost the Waste
Composting is a great way to dispose of your food scraps and other organic waste responsibly. Not only does it prevent an enormous amount of trash from ending up in landfills, but it also speeds up the process of the waste going back to nature and enriching the soil with nutrients.
5. Grow a Kitchen Garden
What can be better than eating fresh herbs and produce from your garden! Contrary to what you might think, a kitchen garden doesn’t require a lot of space. You can grow a bunch of ingredients right out of your balcony without relying on chemicals and pesticides. This is where compost comes into good use as a natural fertilizer.
6. Don’t Go Shopping Without Reusable Bags
Plastic bags have not even spared the deepest point on our planet, the Mariana Trench- An alarming fact that caused many to re-evaluate their lifestyle choices. Luckily, canvas grocery bags and reusable vegetable bags have come to our rescue. They are good-looking, versatile, and incredibly environment-friendly.
7. Reduce Meat Intake
Studies have revealed if everyone in the U.S. were to drop their meat consumption by one-fourth, specifically that of red meat, it’ll reduce yearly greenhouse gas emissions by one percent. And if everyone in the world ditches the meat in favor of a plant-based diet, there’ll be a whopping 49% drop in global greenhouse emissions!
Hardcore meat lovers might feel a bit blindsided because this is a big one! But we’re not asking you to give up meat altogether. Maybe one day, but not now. Just consume lesser than what you typically do, and take it from there. Plus, with the rise of succulent and delicious vegan meat options in the market, this transition might not be as difficult as you might think.
8. Switch to Clean Beauty
Today’s markets are flooded with beauty products that promise to give you glowing, dewy skin, but one look at the fine print, and you know it’ll do you more harm than good. Clean beauty products, on the other hand, are made up of nature-derived ingredients without any toxic elements. And most of these come packaged in earth-friendly containers.
9. Install Solar Panels
Tap into the power of the sun by setting up a solar panel in your yard or the rooftop. Far more sustainable than fossil fuel energy, the use of solar energy can lower your energy bills significantly and translate into huge savings.
10. Buy Pre-loved Clothes and Furniture
Looking to refresh your wardrobe or furniture? How about buying pre-loved instead of new? Lucky for us, there are plenty of e-commerce marketplaces that let people buy and sell used items that are in excellent condition. Old-school yard sales are also fantastic places to purchase a quality, second-hand item.
11. Buy from a Farmers Market
Did you know some of the groceries you buy at a supermarket travel thousands of miles before reaching your table! In contrast, 85% of the fresh, preservative-free, and organically-grown produce in a farmers’ market comes from within a 50-mile radius. When visiting your local farmers' market don't forget to carry reusable farmers market bag with you.
Related Article: 25 Locally Grown and Organic Things to Buy at Farmer's Market.
12. Go Organic
Whether food or fibers, organic products are grown naturally without artificial pesticides. Such fruits and veggies are not only safer but packed with more nutrients than conventionally grown crops.
Also, when it comes to buying clothes, we recommend exploring organic alternatives such as cotton, bamboo, wool, linen, hemp, etc. Organic cotton is chemical-free, hypoallergic, and grown with less water and energy than its conventional counterpart.
13. Eat Home-cooked Meals
Don the chef’s hat and cook at home as often as possible, preferably from scratch. It’s greener and not to mention cost-effective by reducing the need for takeout or eating out every day.
14. Use Energy-Efficient Technology
From light bulbs to dishwashers to stoves, there’s no dearth of high-performance, energy-saving appliances in the market. Invest in products that boast a good Energy Star rating. Such appliances use less energy, in turn producing lower greenhouse emissions. All this while saving you solid bucks in energy bills month on month.
15. Do Only Full Load Washing
Whether you own a top-loader or a front washer, it’s an excellent idea to let the clothes stack until they hit the full capacity mark. This way, you’ll reduce the number of cycles your washer runs to save energy, water, and detergent.
16. Cook with a Pressure Cooker
The joys of cooking with a pressure cooker are best experienced in person, but we’ll still try to give you an idea. This cookware is designed to cook by retaining steam and ends up saving cooking fuel energy up to a staggering 70%!. Not just that, the food also turns out to be more flavor-rich and nutrition-dense than other cookware.
17. Save Water
An obvious one but nevertheless, here’s a gentle reminder to use water as judiciously as possible. A lot of micro habits can help you achieve this goal, such as turning the tap off while brushing or shaving, taking short showers, and regularly checking your toilet for leaky faucets.
18. Ditch Single-Use Beauty Rounds
Swap your Qtips, disposable wipes, and single-use cotton balls with reusable beauty facial rounds or delicate muslin cloth for face made with all-natural fiber, like 100% organic cotton. A great move for your skin, wallet, and the planet!
Here is our more detailed guide on single use cotton balls vs reusable cotton rounds.
19. Try Repairing Before Buying New
Before running off to buy something new to replace an old faithful, check if you can repair or repurpose it to make it last longer. Also, try mending your clothes first and if you absolutely don’t need them anymore, donate.
20. Plan Ahead and Buy in Bulk
Not only cost-effective, but buying stationery, office supplies, dry rations, and self-care essentials in bulk will also save you the hassle of running to the grocers every time you’re out of something. Think of how much fuel, time, and money you’ll save by planning your shopping trips well.
21. Use Eco-Friendly Lunch Bags and Containers
Have we talked you into eating home-cooked meals? Super! How about ditching plastic containers for eco-friendly cotton canvas lunch tote bags to pack your or your kid’s lunch!
If you’re looking for containers, check out the ones made from stainless steel or non-toxic silicone. They are easy to maintain and can be reused for a long time. Plus, you won’t have to worry about hazardous BPA, phthalates, and other such contaminants leeching into your food.
22. Save Electricity
Another obvious goal for sustainable living. You can save electricity by switching to energy-saving gadgets from electricity-guzzling appliances and turning the lights and fans off when you leave the room, to name a few.
23. Use Public Transport
We all love zipping around in our cars or getting an Uber to reach our destinations quickly and hassle-free. Sadly, what’s convenient for us isn’t good for the environment. More vehicles on the road add to air pollution and congestion and, most importantly, require tons and tons of energy to run. Take the bus or carpool once in a while to reduce the impact of your trip on the planet.
24. Tap Water Over Bottled Water
It isn’t the water inside that’s the problem but the plastic it comes packaged in. It’s good to drink multiple cups of water a day, and we recommend consuming equally safe tap water instead of bottled one. You could also get a high-quality reusable bottle and keep drinking from and refilling it throughout the day.
25. Air-dry Clothes Whenever Possible
Dryers are next to only refrigerators and washers in terms of electricity consumption. That is why hang-drying your clothing as often as possible is a fantastic way to lower your environmental impact. Buy a quality clothesline and watch your clothes dry under the sun, nature’s way.
26. Support Cruelty-Free Brands
By spending your money on cruelty-free brands, you automatically become a part of a growing community of thoughtful shoppers that are sending out a message to businesses that animal cruelty will not be tolerated. Not only that, most cruelty-free brands use sustainable materials and eco-friendly manufacturing practices.
27. Use Rechargeable Batteries
By frequently relying on rechargeable batteries, you’ll spare the environment from hundreds of discarded single-use ones. If used well, a rechargeable battery can last up to 4 years!
28. Ditch the Plastic Cutlery
Don’t wait for a government announcement. Simply cut out all plastic cutlery from your life. These plastic forks and spoons are cheaply made and chock full of harmful phthalates and BPA. And they take centuries to break down and biodegrade. Instead, use eco-friendly alternatives like bamboo cutlery.
29. Walk and Bike More Often
Taking the car out of the driveway for short distances adds to the growing pollution. Instead, walk or ride a bike. It’s energizing, and stress-busting and will improve your heart health.
30. Buy Ethically Made Items
Ethical and sustainable living go hand in hand. Products made by people who’ve been paid fair wages and have good working conditions score high durability-wise. Brands that take care of people that manufacture their products use top-quality sustainable materials. They also create minimal impact on the planet and routinely launch give-back programs.
31. Use a Menstrual Cup
Affordable and eco-friendly, menstrual cups are incredibly easy to use and perfectly hygienic. That is why more and more women nowadays are ditching disposable sanitary pads for this reusable period companion.
32. Preserve Trees by Going Paperless
If you’re still getting any of your bills or magazines by traditional post, switch over to a digital format as soon as possible. It’s 2022, and there are no more excuses for using paper, especially with so many electronic/digital alternatives available.
33. Nothing Beats Natural Lighting
If you live or work in a space that gets plenty of sunlight throughout the day, make good use of it. It’s free, renewable, and an excellent mood elevator! Many architects and firms are designing home and office spaces that make abundant use of this eco-friendly light source to reduce dependence on artificial lighting.
34. Brew Your Daily Cuppa at Home
Is visiting a local coffee shop a part of your daily routine? Takeaway coffee comes in disposable cups that go right into the bin after use. How about getting your morning coffee fix at home? All you need is a coffee maker or French press in working condition, which most of us already do, and get brewing!
35. Try a Bamboo Toothbrush
While just as hygienic and practical, a bamboo toothbrush is far greener than its plastic counterpart. What’s great is that bamboo as a material is inherently anti-microbial and biodegrades within months compared to hundreds of years, as in the case of plastics.
36. Loose tea leaves and Reusable Strainer for Your Tea
Most tea bags in the market have a thin layer of sealing plastic or polypropylene that is unrecyclable, nor does it decompose. Instead, buy loose tea leaves and a good-quality strainer or reusable muslin tea bags for a guilt-free and flavorful cup of tea.
37. Use Non-Toxic Cleaning Agents
These days there’s an environmentally friendly option for everything, including laundry detergents, floor cleaners, and bathroom disinfectants. Even though chemical-free, these natural cleaners effectively eliminate germs without harming the planet. You can also go a step ahead and get a multi-purpose cleaner or make a DIY one instead of buying different cleaners for specific cleaning.
38. Plant Trees
In addition to growing a kitchen garden, you can plant saplings to offset your ecological footprint on the planet. There are species like Spider plants and Snake plants that make our surroundings cleaner and greener while fighting pollution.
Related Article: 20 Sustainable Home Décor Ideas You Should Try
39. Reduce the Use of Trash Bags
It might feel a bit icky at first but work towards reducing your dependence on plastic garbage bags, however eco-friendly they seem. You can throw the waste right into the bin, and when it’s time to take the trash out, dump it straight into the pickup truck. Thoroughly rinse, clean, and repeat.
40. Volunteer to Clean Your Surroundings
Get in touch with local clean-up and civic communities to get cracking on the trash in your neighborhood. Also, make it a habit to pick up any litter that comes your way. You can also help the community by propagating the benefits of cleanliness and recycling to those who live around you.
41. Don’t Give in to Fast Fashion
Studies have revealed that the fashion industry contributes to an estimated 10% of global carbon emissions. There are hundreds of brands cropping up every day that promise to deliver trendy outfits and “fresh looks” to your doorstep. And after all the damage they do to the environment through production to transportation, three out of every five items end up in the landfill sooner than you think.
42. Reduce Food Waste
According to the USDA, 30-40% of the food supply, or somewhere close to 80 million pounds of food in the U.S., gets wasted. With many countries facing a hunger problem, our food waste situation needs to be addressed urgently. You can do your part by planning all your meals well in advance, shopping wisely, and consuming food items in the order of perishability.
43. Explore Eco-Friendly Tourist Destinations
Eco-tourism is flourishing these days with many lodgings and destinations getting certified sustainable by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. To earn this coveted certification, one must fulfill several criteria, including actively working towards nature conservation, supporting local communities and businesses, and being energy efficient.
Be sure to check out GSTC’s website to see a list of certified sustainable hotels and destinations before planning your next vacation.
44. Take the Train or Fly Less
A lot goes into traveling sustainably. After you’ve picked an eco-friendly destination, you might also want to plan how to get there in a way that’s kinder on the planet. Air travel leaves behind significant greenhouse gas emissions compared to trains and buses. If unavoidable, take direct flights instead of connecting. Also, give train travel a chance. It might take longer to reach, but it will make for a great memory.
45. Let Your Next Car Be an Electric One
With zero gas emissions, Electronic Vehicles (EVs) are way more eco-friendly than conventional cars. If buying a new car is on the cards, we strongly recommend exploring electric and hybrid options.
By sorting, organizing, and decluttering your items, you’ll be less tempted to go shopping on a whim. Every year, people in the U.S. spend trillions of dollars buying things they don’t need. If you make decluttering a way of life, you’ll find your purchasing decisions become more mindful and your life more sustainable.
47. Don’t litter
We know this already! It’s coded in our DNA since childhood. But you’ll be amazed to know that many of us give in to occasional littering to save time. It costs $11 billion in taxpayer dollars to clean up litter in the U.S. each year. Be gentle with the environment, and don’t litter, no matter what.
48. Choose Sustainable Bedding
Who said you have to sacrifice comfort for an eco-conscious life. There are some brilliant organic cotton bed sheets in the market that are breathable, ultra-comfy, and easy on the environment.
49. Buy Furniture Made from Sustainably Harvested Wood
While we recommend buying pre-loved or refurbished vintage furniture, if you want to buy something new that goes with the aesthetics of your home, then make sure it’s crafted from sustainably sourced local wood species. Eco-friendly start-ups like Floyd Home produce adaptable, sustainable furniture that’ll grow with your requirements and won’t end up in landfills for decades to come.
50. Vote Wisely
Last but not least, your transition to a sustainable lifestyle would become more impactful if several individuals and families joined this movement. One of the ways you can do this is by exercising your voting power responsibly and electing candidates who acknowledge and feel as strongly about climate change and sustainable living.
Like any big lifestyle change, living sustainably is a slow and steady journey - and that’s ok! It’s unrealistic to wake up one fine day and change your lifestyle dramatically, however much you’d like to. But this is where small steps make a world of difference - and this is why our guide is a mix of both easy swaps as well as long-term lifestyle adjustments. Both are equally important in the big picture! Just make sure, whatever habit you embrace, do it consistently for it to make a positive impact on our precious planet.