Are you ready to take a step towards a more sustainable lifestyle?
Whether you’re a seasoned green warrior or just dipping your toes in the eco-friendly pool, if you’re looking for some simple tips to live a more sustainable lifestyle, you’re in the right place!
In this post, I’ll be sharing my list of sustainable living tips to help you reduce your carbon footprint. I’ve pulled these tips from my own journey to a greener life so I can attest that small changes can make a big difference. This article highlights just how easy it can be to implement sustainable practices in your daily routine.
Together we can guarantee a sustainable future; one step at a time. Let’s go!
What Are The Best Sustainable Living Tips?
Whether you implement one of these sustainability tips or ten, the important thing is just to start!
Look out for the Pro Tips in bold for super insider tricks to these tips!
1. Turn off and unplug appliances when not in use.
Think of the appliances you only use a handful of times throughout the week – your toaster, Vitamix or blender, etc. Any small way to save on energy consumption will add up to help in reducing your reliance on fossil fuel.
Pro Tip: Turning off your wifi at night and unplugging electronics after they have finished charging are creative ways to cut down on energy use.
Photo by nexgenframing on Instagram
2. Turn the lights off when you leave a room.
This can take some practice but the minutes and hours that lights are left on really add up!
Pro Tip: While you’re getting into the habit, place a sticky note with a reminder above the light switch, on the bathroom mirror, or on the edge of the door – somewhere it won’t be missed.
3. Use a smart thermostat.
This handy technology saves energy and keeps the systems of cooling and heating in your home running efficiently. They will also save you money on your energy bill!
4. Go solar!
It’s an investment that could pay itself back in just a few years. Make the switch to green energy!
5. Layer up and wear wool in the winter.
Sustainably and ethically harvested wool may become your best friend in the winter months, keeping you oh so cozy and helping you cut down on the energy required to heat your home and lowering your electric bill.
6. Wear breathable materials like linen and organic cotton in the summer.
Linen is a great material for your summer wardrobe. Wear it loose and choose light colors to keep you cool.
7. Switch from incandescent to smart lights or other energy-efficient LED bulbs.
LED bulbs are 75% more efficient than incandescent bulbs and will last you between 15 and 25 years, compared to 1 year from an incandescent bulb. This is a twofer! Saving energy and reducing waste!
8. Use energy-efficient appliances (energy star-certified refrigerators, dishwashers, front-loading washing machines, dryers, etc.).
These are definitely bigger ticketed upgrades, but when you’re in the market for a new one, consider an investment in energy efficiency.
You’ll be reducing the amount of co2 emissions that pollute the Earth’s atmosphere. Go green warrior, go!
9. Use a clothesline.
Using a clothesline for drying clothes rather than using an electric dryer will save a lot of energy!
Pro tip: Your clothes will dry within an hour in the peak of summer in certain areas of the world, but in other months it may take longer. Free-standing drying racks are a good solution for when sun drying isn’t an option.
10. Use sustainable alternatives for laundry detergent.
You can make your own or buy it, but this stuff is going down the drain and eventually ends up back in the earth – so make sure it’s not toxic!
Pro Tip: Opt for a detergent that isn’t packaged in plastic that will just end up in the landfill!
11. Fix leaky faucets.
Anywhere you notice a leak – fix it! A little drip, drip, drip of tap water adds up to significant water waste! Train your brain to make these a priority.
Pro Tip: Fix it, make a plan for what needs to happen (parts that need to be purchased), or call someone to fix it AS SOON as you notice it. These are the types of things that you can become used to quickly and then months and years go by still drip, drip, drip!
Photo by Sasikan Ulevik on Unsplash
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12. Install low-flow faucets, shower heads, and toilets.
Be mindful of the “water-users” in your home. When it’s time for an upgrade, or if you feel especially motivated to get GREEN, consider a low-flow alternative and save some water!
13. Install a bidet.
While this bathroom feature does use extra water, it is by far a more sustainable option to toilet paper as it is much more efficient in the clean-up process and bonus point – no packaging or physical waste!
14. Use recycled toilet paper without plastic packaging.
If you’re gonna use it – use the green stuff and reduce the number of plastic packages that end up in the landfill. As for the bidet users – sometimes guests will prefer the white stuff so it might be a good idea to have some on hand. Or you could just go die hard; I totally support this!
15. Reuse dishwater.
Collect the water from washing dishes and hands to water plants. Help reduce your water waste at home.
Pro Tip: You can use the water from rinsing your vegetables as well.
16. Start a garden.
Even if it’s potted plants inside – grow a vegetable and eat it and watch how it changes your life. Eating out of a garden will also help you reduce food waste because you’ll likely only pick what you need per meal. This is a pro move to eat more sustainably.
17. Grow your own sprouts.
Sprouting seeds is super easy and very inexpensive. All you need is organic sprouting seeds, a mason jar or two, and a mesh lid. These fancy and nutrient-packed “veggies” turn salads and sandwiches into gourmet meals. 😉
Pro Tip: Reuse the water that you rinse your seeds with to water the veggies you’re growing!
18. Grow your own micro greens.
If you want to take your food growing and your health to the next level, consider starting a micro greens production.
Pro Tip: Ask some friends and neighbors if they’d be interested in discounted microgreens. They sell for a pretty penny at the store and sharing your harvest could help you with the costs of growing them.
19. Grow your own herbs.
When it comes to growing herbs, they are simple and forgiving yet the benefit is stupendous! You’d be surprised how the addition of fresh herbs can take all of your meals to the next level!
20. Eat locally grown food.
Support your local farmers and support the environment by cutting down on the transportation of goods with locally grown and raised fruits, vegetables, dairy, eggs, and meat.
21. Eat seasonally.
Eating with the seasons is another way to improve the chances of the food being grown closer to home.
Photo by Shelley Pauls on Unsplash
22. Buy, eat, and grow organic.
Organic growing practices are better for the earth and for your health.
Pro Tip: Look out for the new REAL organic label with higher standards for organic growing
23. Shop local when possible.
Shopping in your local area cuts down on the costs of transportation. Shipping goods around the world is costly to the environment.
Pro Tip: If having something shipped to you is your best option, consider the source that’s closest to you geographically.
24. Be careful where you source your meat.
What you’ll see a lot in the green circles is advice that says “Eat less meat.” When you consider mainstream meat production and what’s being sold at most of your local grocery stores – this is good advice.
Most of that meat is raised factory farm style, creating an enormous amount of pollution, using an incredible amount of energy, and destroying the landscape and habitat.
Even better advice? If you can, source from people who raise their livestock in a way that’s better for the environment.
Pro Tip: Red meat accounts for the majority of the environmental harm caused by the meat industry, so start by sourcing your beef from a sustainability conscious local rancher that aims to reduce the carbon footprint of the meat industry.
The farmers’ market is a great place to start!
25. Be mindful of packaging.
Avoid unnecessary packaging when making purchases, especially plastic.
Pro Tip: Shop with companies that package minimally or with recycled material as part of their eco-friendly campaign.
26. Switch to non-toxic cookware and bakeware.
Not only is this cookware better for the planet, but it’s better for you!
Non-stick cookware is especially harmful, made with what is considered “forever chemicals” that never break down and leach dangerous toxins into your body and the earth once they are disposed of.
Pro Tip: Stainless steel and cast iron are excellent alternatives to the toxic stuff.
27. Look for plastic-free alternatives.
From plastic-free shampoo, laundry detergent, deodorant, and even coffee makers – companies are catching on that we want greener alternatives!
28. Minimize carry out.
Carry out creates so much waste with single-use food storage containers.
Pro Tip: If you do order carry out, opt for a restaurant with compostable and biodegradable to-go containers and request for them not to include extra napkins, plasticware, condiments, etc if you don’t need them.
29. Use Reusable food storage containers.
Opt for glass or stainless steel containers over plastic.
Pro Tip: Opt for oven-safe glass containers if you plan on doing meal prep. Easy reheating. 🙂
Extra Pro Tip: Bring these bad boys to potlucks to double as your plate and take home. 😉
30. Use reusable bags for shopping.
Shopping bags are sort of old news, but still, so many people use the brown paper from the store only once. Plastic bags are a definite no no!
Pro Tip: Keep the bag in your car so you won’t forget it when you go to the market or store.
31. Buy in bulk.
Beans, Rice, Olive Oil, Honey, Nut Butters, shampoo/conditioner, liquid soap, etc.
Photo by Nadia Pimenova on Unsplash
32. Plan meals to create less food waste.
Using a perfectly meal sized food storage container is an excellent way to do this and reduce food waste.
33. Compost food scraps.
Whether you have your own compost pile, use a traditional or electric countertop compost bin, or take advantage of a municipal pick-up – don’t let those food scraps go to waste!
34. Start a compost pile.
As long as you have some outdoor space to dedicate to a compost area, starting a pile or composter bin isn’t as intimidating as it seems and can seriously improve your sustainability game!
35. Install water filter/use A Berkey.
Drink more water AND save the planet from plastic bottles!
Pro Tip: Use a stainless steel or glass water bottle for water on the go. Mason jars work great and you probably already have one on hand!
36. Opt for non-toxic cleaning products.
Check the label, use the EWG’s Healthy Living App, suss out the company behind the product, or make a DIY recipe!
37. Choose sustainable materials.
Bamboo, cork, glass, and stainless steel are more environmentally friendly. Look for these materials in a variety of household items.
Pro Tip: Train your brain to see plastic! When it sticks out like a sore thumb, it’s more easily avoidable.
38. Recycle old electronics.
Not only are you saving these items from collecting at the landfill, but the materials contained in electronics can be reused in new products, reducing pollution that would otherwise be generated by using all new materials.
39. Use rechargeable batteries.
Most single-use batteries end up in the landfill at the end of their life, so using rechargeable will decrease this number and cut down on the energy required for producing them as well.
Pro Tip: Dead batteries should be properly disposed of/recycled according to your local facility. Most likely they will have instructions on their website.
40. Buy from companies that have circular economy practices.
Circular economies minimize waste and implement closed-loop production/use systems. Patagonia’s “Worn Wear” program is a great example of this.
41. Volunteer with local conservation projects.
This is extra credit but it’s a great way to meet people who also care about the earth! Green friends are the best friends. 🙂
42. Use a silicone menstrual cup.
Reusable menstrual cups significantly cut down on waste from disposable tampons and pads.
Photo by Oana Cristina on Unsplash
43. Use period underwear/reusable cloth pads.
The specially designed “period underwear” is one of my favorite disposable tampon/pad alternatives! I often use the cloth pads that snap around normal undies as well.
Pro Tip: Buy local if you can (Etsy is a wonderful source to see if there are any makers close to you)
Extra Pro Tip: Choose organic cotton or bamboo!
44. Use a liquid tooth cleanser.
A toothpaste alternative. It comes in a glass bottle with a dropper as opposed to a plastic and aluminum tube.
45. Use a bamboo or recycled toothbrush.
There are several companies now making recyclable/compostable toothbrushes. MamaP is my favorite!
46. Use a bike or electric scooter to get around when possible.
Saving the car for only really necessary trips and biking instead is a really big way that one person can lighten their carbon footprint.
47. Carpool/public transportation when possible.
There are some handy apps for finding low-cost rides (Blablacar) and for organizing rides (Carpool kids).
48. Consider an electric or hybrid vehicle.
If you’re going to be driving to work or anywhere else – electric or hybrid is the better choice. We love our Prius!
49. Repair clothing when possible.
A needle and thread are all you need! This is the truest form of sustainable fashion.
50. Repurpose old clothing.
Upcycle old clothes into cleaning rags, make a cloth bag, or redesign into something new.
51. Buy second-hand clothing.
Whether online or at your local thrift store, second-hand clothing is sustainable and cost-effective. Opt for a preloved piece rather than buying a new one.
Photo by Becca McHaffie on Unsplash
52. Host a clothing swap
If you’re needing a wardrobe refresh, this is a fun way to do it!
53. When buying new clothes, choose sustainable fabrics.
Organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, linen, or recycled materials. Synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, and acrylic shed microplastics into the water when washed, adding to plastic waste and having a negative environmental impact.
Pro Tip: Look for GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification.
54. Wash clothes in cold water.
Not only does this conserve energy but it extends the longevity of your clothes.
55. Upgrade your bedding to non-toxic.
You spend between 25% – 33% of your life in bed. Choosing a non-toxic mattress and bedding materials not only improves your health but the health of the planet by reducing toxic byproducts from production.
56. Bring back the hanky!
Your nose, your pocket, and the earth will thank you! So much better than single-use tissues that you just throw away!
57. Cloth diaper baby.
You’ll be saving the landfill from thousands of diapers – a major and simple way to cut down on your carbon footprint.
Pro Tip: Use cloth diapers as a backup to the Elimination Communication method (potty training from birth)
58. Try Elimination Communication.
Infant potty training is natural and effective! You’ll use far fewer diapers and have to wash them (cloth) less often too!
59. Baby wipes alternative.
Cloth baby wipes are far superior to their disposable counterparts – they’re clearly better for the environment, they’re cheaper in the long run, they’re super soft for your baby’s sensitive areas, and they’re multi-purpose!
Use these cloth wipes as a burp cloth, for small mess clean up, napkins, etc. I’ve even been known to use one as a hanky from time to time!
60. Don’t buy baby toys.
Chances are, you’ll be gifted so many, you won’t know what to do with them all. Request hand-me-downs only.
Pro Tip: So many items you have around the house work perfectly for playtime with your little one! Cue imagery of a baby banging on pots with a wooden spoon!
61. Pre-loved baby clothes subscription.
Upchoose is my favorite baby clothes subscription. The clothes get returned once your baby grows out of them so that they can get reused and reused and reused!
Photo by UpChoose.com
62. Financial mindset shift.
Many of the eco-friendly choices will save you money upfront, but others are a longer-term investment. Think of these as investments in better quality that will last longer. Invest in the more responsible option instead of buying the cheaper, more harmful one.
63. Live minimally.
Consume mindfully. Don’t buy what you don’t need. If it doesn’t serve a purpose and it doesn’t bring you joy – let it go. Pro Tip: A popular phrase in our home that you’re welcome to borrow: “Let that sh*t go.”
64. Donate old pillows.
There are some items that you might think can’t (or shouldn’t) be recycled or donated. Pillows may be one of them. But actually, there is a place that will almost always welcome old pillows! Your local pet rescue or humane society. Our four-legged friends will thank you!
What Is Sustainable Living?
At its core, sustainable living is about seeing ourselves and all living things as an intrinsic part of the natural world – not separate from it or each other.
Taking responsibility for ourselves with this awareness means making conscious choices about where we spend our money, how we get around in the world, our day-to-day most repeated tasks, and minimizing the waste and energy required to execute them.
How Does Sustainable Living Benefit The World?
Living a sustainable lifestyle is more than just a personal choice; it has a ripple effect that impacts the planet at large.
When you make a conscious effort to live sustainably, you are taking positive steps toward reducing your environmental footprint and promoting a healthier planet for future generations.
By being mindful of your consumption habits, conserving natural resources, reducing waste, and making eco-friendly choices, you are making a tangible impact on the environment. You are reducing carbon emissions.
By opting for renewable energy sources, using public transportation or carpooling, and minimizing your energy and water usage, you are actively reducing greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to mitigating climate change.
Additionally, adopting sustainable practices such as reducing single-use plastics, recycling, and composting, helps to reduce waste pollution that harms our oceans, marine life, and all wildlife.
Living sustainably is a journey that develops with time. As someone who has been on this journey for 7+ years, I have learned that small, consistent steps can lead to big changes.
Through my experience running a sustainable farm-to-table food service project and using eco-friendly babying methods like elimination communication and cloth diapering, I have seen how the small steps I took in the beginning compounded into really big lifestyle shifts over time.
Simplicity is key when making long-lasting change. By focusing on attainable solutions, little by little, we can create a positive impact on the planet and feel good about it too.
Remember, living sustainably is not something that happens overnight, and that’s okay. Even the smallest change can create a wave that goes on and on.
So, what small step will you take today?
1. Can my actions as an individual even make a difference?
To have a realistic conceptualization of what your impact looks like, you have to zoom out and look at the broader picture. Your small steps make a difference in more ways than just their direct impact on the environment.
Whether you like it or not, you are setting an example. As you embrace sustainable living, you encourage others to follow suit, creating a positive ripple effect in your community and beyond.
This can lead to a collective effort towards a more sustainable life for all, creating an even larger impact on the planet as more people join the movement.
Your actions also affect the marketplace and social media spaces at large.
How and where you spend your money and where you DON’T (dollar votes) will influence the market. This is serious power!
These are numbers on a sales report that are paid close attention to and often motivate companies to pivot into greener products and practices.
This goes both for your choices to live more sustainably as well as your not-so-green choices. They all matter.
The fact that you found this article and are still reading it makes a difference as well!
Take it from someone who is running a blog and in the world of internet searching statistics – what you are interested in is interesting to the companies that can make big changes in the marketplace.
They may be the ones making the big changes… but the reason behind those changes is YOU.
Plus! As you’ll discover, sustainable living means a healthy lifestyle too. Happy healthy Earth, happy healthy you.
And a happier healthier you 100% makes a difference in the world!
2. Is living sustainably expensive?
The short answer is, no.
Living sustainably often means not spending money on new items when you could repurpose, repair, or thrift instead! (short term savings)
There have been a few substantial investments I’ve made in the name of sustainability that cost a pretty penny, but the way I look at it – these investments are made for quality items that will last so much longer than the cheaper alternative – so saving me a ton of money in the long run (long term savings).
Check out my article on sustainable kitchen swaps with budget friendly options included!
Savings all around.