HAPPY EARTH DAY!
You don’t have to switch up your entire life to live a more sustainable one. In fact, there are countless tiny tweaks you can make at home that not only help the environment, but can be better for your health while saving you cash. That’s called a win-win-win.
From simple swaps (after you use up what you have first) to beneficial habits that are easy to start, you’ll find lots of sustainable tips that you can start implementing into your everyday routine. Here’s a simple list to make your life greener at home…
- Invest or make your own reusable food wrappers to avoid plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
- Trade your laundry detergent (and other cleaning products) for a green option.
- If you need to get paper towels, swap in the reusable version.
- But in general, try rags or dishcloths instead of paper towels unless you absolutely need the disposable version.
- Purchase plastic-alternative storage pouches so you don’t use disposable bags.
- Start using wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets.
- Use bar soap instead of liquid soap (less packaging).
- Or invest in a durable soap dispenser.
- Reuse tea bags to neutralize odors and as plant food.
- Then, ditch the bags for good and use loose leaf in a reusable strainer.
- If you use batteries, make them rechargeable.
- Out with vinyl shower curtains, in with hemp, birch, or other alternatives.
- Old news, but no plastic straws! Get yourself a metal, glass, or silicone one.
- Go for glass containers instead of plastic.
- Switch cotton tampons and pads for reusable period products.
- Trade your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one.
- Buy cloth coffee filters instead of paper ones.
- Use compostable dog waste bags over plastic.
- But if you have a yard, it’s best to shovel it and not use a bag at all.
- Wash your clothes with cold water instead of warm water.
- Say goodbye to plastic water bottles and invest in a nice reusable one.
- Invest in reusable chopsticks so you don’t need takeout ones.
- Stop buying disposable razors and purchase a stainless steel one.
- Try bamboo makeup pads instead of single-use ones.
- Switch your lightbulbs to be energy efficient.
- Consider cloth diapers over disposable.
- Buy a reusable cup, like a thermos or tumbler, instead of paper (and ask your barista to fill it up!)
- Walk or ride your bike versus driving whenever possible.
- Trade TV show watch time for a walk or run outside.
- Replace your shower head with a water-saving version.
- Send paperless cards (more eco-friendly and cheaper).
- Instead of buying a new game, try something virtual with friends.
- Trade in disposable cotton swabs for this sustainable alternative.
Reuse and Recycle
- Have a book swap party with friends, buy used books, or download eBooks.
- Patch your holey jeans instead of tossing them.
- Take your old shoes to a cobbler when it’s time.
- If applicable, swap clothes with your loved ones/roommates.
- Repurpose glass jars.
- Transform old sheets/towels into napkins, table cloths, bags, etc.
- Repurpose artwork created by family, friends, and/or yourself.
- Collect old home items and clothes to donate to Goodwill or another charity in your area.
- If you must wrap a gift, use recycled paper or a bag/tissue paper you saved.
- Or try this paper-free Japanese Furoshiki wrapping technique.
- Get candles that have containers that double as planters.
- Save your clementine peel and make a candle out of it.
- Use your leftover coffee grounds for cleaning, beauty products, and more.
- Create a vase, candelabra, or even a plant watering system from old wine bottles.
Less is More
- Ask for no utensils/menu when you order takeout (and use those reusable chopsticks!).
- Air-dry your hair instead of using a dryer.
- Go paperless with as many documents as possible.
- Opt out of credit card promotions.
- Air dry your clothes when you can.
- Turn the water off when your brushing teeth.
- Avoid taking freebies when they’re offered.
- Don’t buy paper products for your next dinner party.
- When ordering online, buy from retailers who commit to using less packaging.
- Give gifts naked (aka without bags or wrapping).
- If there’s a digital version, use it over printing something out.
- Unplug appliances when you’re done with them.
- Measure out how much water you need to boil, which reduces the amount of energy used.
- Remember to turn off lights when you leave a room.
- Make sure your devices are on low-power mode.
- Make it easy to cut off power from multiple devices by using a power strip (or have them voice controlled via a smart home device).
- Change your phone to grayscale to reduce screen time.
- Use blackout curtains made of thermal insulation properties that help lower AC/heat usage (and lower electricity bills as a result).
- Keep your freezer stocked. A full fridge means less space to keep cold which means less energy used.
- If you have a dishwasher, skip the sink.
- Before throwing laundry in the dryer, check for things that are already dry and take them out if so.
- Collect rainwater to use for your plants and save on water.
- Or keep a bucket in the shower to collect excess water.
- Speaking of which, take shorter showers.
- Use natural light instead of electricity during the day.
- Open a window to cool your room and circulate air instead of resorting to the AC.
- Wash your workout clothes (and anything with spandex) inside a bag that prevents micro-plastic waste.
- Check with your utility company about signing up for local renewable energy.
- Fix a leaky faucet to prevent water waste.
- Don’t do express shipping.
- Try Meatless Monday (and Tuesdays?).
- Or Wheatless Wednesday to contribute cutting back on intensive grain farming.
- Go plogging (jogging plus picking up litter).
- Educate yourself with documentaries.
- Or pick up a good book on sustainable living.
- Get an air purifying plant (like the Chinese evergreen above).
- Meal plan to avoid food waste.
- Challenge yourself to reduce the amount recycling you took out last week.
- Eat all the parts of your vegetables (carrot tops are great in pesto).
- Save food scraps to make cooking broths.
- Any leftover food = compost.
- Try growing your own food, too (oh hey, herb garden!).
- Learn to knit and/or crochet and make your own scarves, hats, and blankets.
- Always try to shop local.