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61 Ways To Be More Sustainable

61 Ways To Be More Sustainable

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The current state of our planet and its environment is growing worse every day. The unfortunate truth is that we humans are to blame.

Depletion of resources, blatant disregard for nature and its systems, and a never-ending need for convenience have all contributed to the downward spiral the Earth is currently in.

There’s still time to change, though. We can each do our part by being more aware of our habits and levels of consumption. Finding ways to be more sustainable in our everyday life is a great place to start!

NOTE: I originally posted this article in 2020 before I dove deep into what mindful living truly is and how wildly deceptive the concept of “sustainability” is (as it’s known by the masses).

Apart from adding more information to each number below, I’ve decided to keep this list as is. I do think these simple changes that anyone can make are a good way to dip our toes into living more modestly.

However, keep in mind that there is much more we can do. These changes on their own are not going to stop climate change or save the planet. That requires a much more drastic and systemic overhaul in how society operates.

I plan to write more on this topic soon but just wanted to give an honest disclaimer before you continue reading this post.

What Is Sustainability?

Sustainability has two definitions:

1) the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed.

2) Environmental Science. the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.

These go hand in hand. Basically, the entire premise of sustainability is to act Earth-consciously in ways that can be upheld throughout time without ruining the planet. Learn more about what sustainability is right here.

I researched simple ways to be more sustainable and wanted to share them with you. These are easy changes that everyone can make with a little self-awareness and willpower.

If you want more drastic lifestyle change suggestions, I applaud you! Unfortunately, you’ll probably need to find a more in-depth resource than this one. Anyway, here are 61 ways to be more sustainable!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of my links, I may receive a commission or credit at no additional cost to you.

1. Compost perishable food scraps

Did you know that over 20 percent of all trash in US landfills is wasted food and organic matter? And don’t even get me started on the fact that between 30-40 percent of the food supply in our country turns into waste.

Cut back on how much organic waste you throw in the trash by starting to compost. If you have a yard, try building a compost bin or pile. After a year or two, you will have awesome and nutrient-dense homemade compost to feed your garden!

If outdoor space is limited, try an indoor compost bin or countertop food recycler. These machines will shrink your compostable scraps and eventually turn them into rich soil without the smell or mess of a traditional compost pile.

A final alternative is to find a wooded area near where you live to scatter your fruit and veggie scraps. Even if you aren’t creating compost for personal use, at least this cuts back on food waste in landfills.

2. Learn how to properly store groceries

Properly storing our food (especially produce!) provides several benefits to both us and the environment.

1. It helps our food last longer. I can’t remember how many times I’ve gone to the fridge to use a bag of green beans or lettuce just to find that it had spoiled far sooner than I had expected it to. Storing our food properly gives us more chances to use it for the reason we bought it.

2. It reduces food waste. With more chances to use the food we’ve bought, we’ll be less likely to waste it.

3. It saves us money. By being able to use all of the food we have, we will require fewer trips and can last longer in between trips to the grocery store to replace spoiled food.

Here are a few articles with tips on how to make your food last longer:
This Is Exactly How to Store Your Groceries
25 Tips to Store Your Groceries the Right Way
You’re Storing These Groceries All Wrong

Fresh green vegetables - storing them properly can eliminate food waste and  is a great way to be more sustainable.

3. Store onions in pantyhose to make them last longer

Intrigued? Check out why and how in this article.

4. Save your egg shells for birds

Many different bird species eat crushed eggshells. They provide calcium to nesting females and are used as grit in the food-digesting process in the gizzards of seed- and insect-eating birds. Follow these instructions to make them safe before placing them outside in your yard.

5. Leave your oven open after using

You’ve already paid to heat your oven. So, why not share that “free” heat with the rest of the house? Leave your oven door open after you’ve turned it off to warm up your kitchen and surrounding areas. I especially love standing in front of it on a chilly winter day after making dinner.

6. Get a reusable coffee filter

If you’re a coffee drinker, make your morning cup of joe more green by purchasing a reusable coffee filter instead of throwing one out every morning. The CoffeeSock is made out of certified organic cotton, can last for over a year, and is compostable.

7. Use reusable Keurig pods

I used to be a Keurig die-hard. Then I realized: 1. how wasteful they are and 2. how bad they taste compared to freshly ground beans.

To solve both of those problems, I got some reusable coffee pods that I put my own freshly ground coffee into and still use in my Keurig. Here are some to try – make sure whatever kind you buy is compatible with the Keurig model that you have.

8. Bring your own coffee mug

I love to keep a clean to-go/travel coffee mug in my car to use when I don’t have time to make coffee at home. Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and most other coffee shops and gas stations will let you fill up your own mug with their coffee. You may even get a discount for saving them a cup and lid.

9. Re-purpose empty glass jars

There are about a million and one ways to reuse empty glass jars – as a soap dispenser, to hold homemade candles, to store and mix salad dressings, fermenting food, storing pens and pencils, etc.

My favorite way to reuse glass jars was discovered while a handyman family friend was giving me a tour of his house. I looked up in his basement and saw the most genius was to store nuts, bolts, screws, nails, and other hardware (see picture below).

He screwed the lids of old jars to the beams on the ceiling and could easily take down the jars to retrieve whatever part he was looking for. How cool is that?!

Glass jars hanging from the ceiling storing nuts, bolts, screws, and other parts.

10. Save plastic containers to grow seedlings

We should avoid buying items packaged in single-use plastic as much as possible. However, if it is necessary, try to reuse the packaging. A great way to do this is by growing seedlings in them.

Yogurt, pudding, and sour cream containers, milk jugs, plastic cups, plastic pop bottles, spinach boxes, and egg cartons are all excellent vessels to start vegetable seedlings indoors.

For more info on how to use these containers for your seedlings, check out these instructions.

11. Make your own broth with scraps

One item I absolutely hate to buy from the store is broth/stock. It’s not cheap, comes in non-recyclable packaging, and gets used up incredibly quickly. The easy solution to these problems is to make your own broth!

Meat and veggie scraps make tasty broths, and bonus – they have less sodium than the packaged stuff. Check out the recipes below for some easy and yummy recipes.

Easy 1-Pot Vegetable Broth Recipe
Chicken Broth Recipe
Beef Stock Recipe

12. Eat seasonal whole foods

Eating seasonal produce is beneficial to the environment in many ways. Eating whole foods means you’re fueling your body with more natural food. Additionally, it cuts back on packaging waste and carbon footprints of food factories. Eating whole food goes hand in hand with eating seasonal. Find out what produce is in season near you here.

13. Buy local produce

Buying local is better for you and the environment. Make it easier on yourself by finding a local CSA to buy into. Buying local also means you’re buying seasonal.

14. Make your own ice

This is probably a suggestion you’ve overlooked. However, when you think about the impact of commercial ice-making facilities, it certainly makes sense that homemade ice is more sustainable.

Since most of us already own and run a fridge with a freezer, this eliminates any extra energy being spent on making the ice. Additionally, commercial ice is delivered by refrigerated trucks fueled by gas, kept in freezers at the store, and then taken back to your home in a car that is fueled by gas.

15. Buy bamboo or silicone when possible

I’m specifically referring to kitchen utensils here, but of course, this applies to anything that is made with plastic.

Let me be clear here – I am not suggesting you run out right now and replace all of your plastic kitchen utensils with bamboo or silicone versions. Instead, I recommend using your plastic utensils until they wear out and then replace them with bamboo or silicone.

The sooner you replace the plastic spoon with the wooden one, the sooner the wooden one gets worn out and needs to be replaced, thus increasing consumption over the long run. In short, it’s best practice to use things (even if considered “unsustainable”) until they absolutely need to be replaced.

16. Replace burnt out light bulbs with LED bulbs

LED light bulbs last longer and use less energy than regular incandescent light bulbs (hello lower electricity bill!).

Another popular energy and money-saving option are compact fluorescent bulbs (or CFLs). Read this article to decide which option is best for you.

17. Sign up for PaperKarma to eliminate junk mail

PaperKarma is an awesome app that will take you off of pesky junk mail lists from credit card companies, insurance companies, and more.

You enter your address, take a picture of the mail you don’t want to receive anymore, and PaperKarma does the rest. It’s only $1.99 a month – sign up here.

18. Opt-in to electronic notices (bank statements, bills, etc)

This is truly a must in this day and age. If you haven’t already, sign up for email bills. It will save paper, it will save you time, and it will save you worry over wondering when you’ll receive a notification.

19. Use double-sided printing

Regular printers have a double-sided printing feature! I didn’t know about it until just recently.

If you don’t know how to use it on your printer, google your printer brand/model and double-sided printing to find out how.

20. Save gift bags and boxes to reuse

This is self-explanatory. Why buy new packaging when bags and gift boxes you’ve already received are just like new!

21. Use newspaper or brown paper bags to wrap gifts

This goes along with #20. Remember that wrapping paper gets thrown away after it’s torn off. Why waste money and materials on brand new “special” paper when you can reuse paper you already have – like newspaper or brown paper bags.

If you’re worried about the appearance of your gifts, tie a brown string around them and explain that you’re trying to prevent waste. Most likely, no one will care or even notice.

If it’s around the Christmas holidays, find some evergreen branches or winter berries to decorate like the photo below. It’s so festive and natural!

Reusing brown paper bags as gift wrap is much more sustainable than buying new wrapping paper.

22. Weatherproof your windows and doors

Nothing lets warm or cold air out of the house like leaky windows and improperly sealed doors.

I’ve rented many (MANY) apartments and houses, and know that they are usually not outfitted with the best energy-saving connections to the outside.

One landlord even told me that windows leaking during a rainstorm are normal… what?! Definitely not normal. I can’t even imagine how much warm air was lost out of those windows during the windy winters of Maine.

So, although you can’t change the windows or doors of a rental, you can take other measures to decrease the loss of heat and air conditioning.

Weatherstripping and air sealing are two relatively inexpensive ways to keep your house using energy efficiently. A great way to seal your windows is with insulation shrink wrap.

In addition to saving energy and making your home more “green,” taking these measures will also save you money on fuel costs!

23. Use thick curtains

Thick (or any) curtains are another great defense against letting cold air get in via windows during the winter. Especially (!!) if you have single-paned windows in your home or apartment.

In several places I’ve lived, a thick layer of frost was present after pulling back my curtains in the winter, but I could not feel any cold air leaking in when they were closed.

This is an easy way to help your house heat efficiently in addition to keeping your privacy.

24. Fix broken appliances

Instead of automatically buying new appliances (or anything, honestly), try to fix it first.

My first suggestion on how to fix something is to check out YouTube! There are thousands of videos on YouTube that show step-by-step fixes for household appliances.

If that doesn’t work, I would suggest contacting an electrician or plumber, depending on what you need to be fixed. Think about it – a $200 call to someone is much less than replacing a $1000 appliance.

Something really cool that is gaining popularity across Europe and the US is Repair Cafes. They are free community spaces where tools and the knowledge of neighbors is available to anyone that wants to fix something. Volunteer specialists help visitors repair anything they can, including clothing, appliances, technology, bicycles, toys, and more. What a cool idea!

Not only does fixing something save you money, but it lessens the number of electronics and engines that are purchased and get thrown out.

25. Get a smart thermostat

Smart thermostats are the way to go. Instead of manually adjusting your thermostat as needed, a smart thermostat allows you to set the temperature of your house on a schedule according to when you’re usually home or away during the day.

For example, if you go to work every day, you probably don’t need the heat or air on while you’re out of the house.

You would set your schedule for weekdays to a low temperature from 9-5 and have it turn up around the time when you usually get home. Additionally, you’ll probably want to turn the temperature down during the hours that you sleep.

This will both save you money and limit fuel waste – a win-win!

Alternative energy wind turbines

26. Ask to switch your electricity to green energy

Many electricity companies offer an option to switch your energy to a source that is green powered. This might involve solar, wind, or hydro-power.

The availability, options, and prices for this service varies by region and company. Some electricity companies allow and encourage you to switch your supply to green energy for free by request.

Unfortunately, not all companies offer this for free. My utility company in Maine charges $7.50 extra per month.

However, there are some other private programs and initiatives out there that will pay you to switch your energy supply to something more sustainable. Community solar farms offer consumers credits on their electricity bill for pledging to use the power supplied by their solar panels.

Google “community solar farm near me” to see what options are available in your area.

27. Use bar soap instead of liquid soap

It’s generally agreed upon that bar soap is better for the environment thatn liquid soap, mostly due to the plastic packaging it comes in. The cardboard packaging that bar soap comes in is more easily recycled and disintegrates faster than liquid soap containers.

Additionally, liquid soap contains ingredients such as SLS (sodium dodecyl sulfate), fragrances, and dyes that might cause low to moderate aquatic toxicity in the environment. Not to mention having possible negative impacts on our skin.

Liquid soap also contains 30 percent more water and has a more polluting manufacturing process than bar soap. So there are many reasons to make the switch! 

28. Use shampoo bars instead of liquid shampoo

This follows the same reasoning as #27 above.

I only recently heard of shampoo bars, and think they’re a pretty neat idea. Check out this guide on the pros and cons of shampoo bars and how to choose one that works for you.

29. Go makeup free for 1 week a month (or 2 days per week)

I don’t personally wear or own any makeup. But I know a lot of women do, so this is for you.

Makeup comes in a lot of packaging. You need tools to apply it, which come in packaging and need cleaning and replacing. Then you need wipes or cloth to get it off every night.

That’s a lot of plastic waste (Not to mention expensive!). Challenge yourself to cut back on both how often you wear makeup and how much makeup you wear.

30. Use reusable cloths for makeup removal

When I did wear makeup back in college, I bought disposable wipes to clean it off every evening. Although I could stretch one out to last a week at a time, they still ended up in the garbage when I was done with them.

Why didn’t I just use a reusable washcloth? I have no idea. But that’s what I suggest for anyone that wears makeup!

Minimize the waste produced by your makeup routine and save some money in the process. From what I remember, those wipes were unexpectedly expensive.

31. Try reusable pads/menstrual cups

This suggestion is difficult for most women to get on board with. Who wants to have to wash their menstrual pads or cups every time they get their period?

However, it’s pretty obvious that tampons are not environmentally friendly. They are also reportedly pretty unhealthy for our bodies as well.

Here is an awesome guide on reusable period products to learn more about what options might be best for you!

32. Use bamboo toothbrushes

There’s some debate out there on if bamboo toothbrushes are actually more sustainable than plastic. They still have plastic bristles, come in packaging, and get thrown out when switching tooth brushes.

Unfortunately, the toiletries needed to perform basic dental hygiene practices are pretty unsustainable. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss are all disposable and come in disposable packaging.

As far as I know, there are no healthy to use eco-friendly or reusable alternatives to these supplies. (If you know of some, please let me know in the comments!)

This article will give you more info on bamboo toothbrushes and I suggest you do your own research before deciding.

33. Reuse warming shower water

Collect the water from your shower in a bucket while it’s warming up to reuse for other things.

I’ve been in some showers that take a minute or longer to warm up to a shower-able temperature. All of that perfectly good, but just cold water usually goes to waste down the drain.

If you collect this water in a bucket, you could use it to water your plants, as non-potable (or potable if your showerhead is clean enough) ice, to fill a bird bath, or any other reason you might need to use non-potable water.

34. Re-use bath towels

I switch out my bath towel every week, which I thought (and still do think) was normal. I also don’t shower every day unless I work out or get dirty working outside.

One day at work, the topic of how often we shower and change out bath towels came up (don’t ask me why!). The majority of my coworkers said they shower every day and use a new towel each time. I was shocked.

I truly think it’s a waste to wash your towels after one use. Not only are you using more water, electricity, and detergent to wash them, but you’re wearing down the fibers in your towels faster.

35. Take shorter showers

Save water and energy used to heat that water. There’s not much else to say for this one.

Eco-friendly shower and bathroom products

36. Shop with reusable grocery bags

These have (thankfully) exploded in popularity within the past few years. You can get some at almost any grocery store for just a dollar or two.

In Maine, a plastic bag ban began in the summer of 2021. You definitely don’t forget your reusable bags when there aren’t any other bags available to carry your purchases in!

I hope to see more laws like this get passed in other states around the US soon.

37. Get reusable produce bags

Reusable produce bags are also growing in popularity, but not quite as fast as the regular grocery bags.

Ditch those thin, pesky, plastic produce bags you get at the store. Buy and reuse mesh or canvas produce bags for your fruits and vegetables.

Even when I forget to bring my produce bags to the store, I usually just keep my produce free in the cart (unless a bag is like really, really necessary). You wash your produce when you get home anyways, so the bag doesn’t add much or any extra protection before then.

Here are some of my favorite reusable produce bags.

38. Buy in bulk when appropriate

Buying bulk is only more eco-friendly when the product is packaged in bulk as well.

I cannot stand when I go to buy something like paper towels or bread in bulk and each individual product is packaged separately. What a waste of plastic! Not to mention, it’s incredibly annoying to open.

You will save money buying in bulk whether the items are packaged together or individually. It’s important to be aware of this when trying to make sustainable purchases.

39. Bring your own containers to buy in bulk

If your grocery store has a bulk department, check with management to see if you’re allowed to bring your own containers. Grains, seeds, and spices are usually the items sold in self-serving bulk bins.

Save plastic packaging or bags by bringing your own glass jars, tupperware containers, or small canvas/silicone bags.

Make sure to weigh your containers before filling them up so you can properly tare the scale! You don’t want to pay for the weight of the container you already own.

40. Buy beer in growlers instead of cans/bottles

Somehow only 10 states in the US have bottle deposits! This blows my mind.

I grew up in Michigan, which has a 10 cent deposit collected on the sale of most beverage containers, such as aluminum cans, and plastic and glass bottles. This is a huge incentive for consumers to return their cans and bottles to be recycled.

In states that do not have a program like this, these containers are either thrown in the municipal recycling bins or thrown out if there is no local recycling program.

However, whether there is a container deposit in your state or not, it is still more sustainable to reuse a large glass or metal growler than buying beverages packaged in one-use containers.

Check your state laws for if there are any restrictions on growlers. In Michigan, you can use any growler at any establishment that fills them. On the contrary, in Maine, in order to get a growler filled, it must be purchased from that establishment.

41. Shop at thrift stores

Buying secondhand is always more sustainable than buying new.

In my experience, rural thrift stores have less inventory and will be harder to find what you’re looking for. However, urban locations are usually treasure troves!

Try going to your local thrift store(s) to get a gauge on what is available and what you could find there when needed. Some of my favorites are furniture, books, and clothes.

42. Pay more for higher quality new clothes

Clothes are expensive.

For as long as I can remember, I always spent the least amount of money on clothes as I possibly could. This lead to an embarassing amount of fast fashion purchases that sometimes only lasted for 2-3 wears.

I came to my senses a couple of years ago and realized how harmful this approach was to both the environment and my wallet.

Unfortunately, well-made clothes typically cost more than cheap, low-quality outfits. However, when taken care of properly, they can last for many years or even decades. I’ve certainly never encountered this with any of my fast fashion purchases.

Although it might be initially hard to see, spending more upfront on something that is well-made will save money in the long run because you’re not having to replace it as often as its cheaper counterparts.

And of course the biggest upside to this purchasing mindset is that it cuts down on disrcarded deteriorated clothes and the waste created from their production.

43. Borrow books from the library or buy secondhand

Yes, libraries still exist.

And if you haven’t read up on all the different services besides borrowing physical books that are offered, you should look into it. You can get free ebooks, stream movies, borrow telescopes, get free passes to local attractions, and more.

Borrowing books instead of or before purchasing them is just about as sustainable as reading can get!

I have my own love affair with libraries (if you can’t tell), but I love to check out reference-type non-fiction books to see if they are worth purchasing for my own book collection. Sometimes books I think will be helpful to become more sustainable or to learn about homesteading end up containing information I already know.

If you do decide a book is worth purchasing, try to avoid buying new. Thriftbooks is an amazing secondhand online bookstore. In addition to being much cheaper than buying new, they have an awesome rewards program where you can easily earn free books.

Borrowing books from the library or buying used is a good way to be more sustainable.

44. Make homemade cleaning products

It’s surprisingly easy to make homemade cleaners. They are usually made out of pretty common ingredients, such as vinegar, baking soda, water, essential oils, or dish soap.

Homemade cleaners have fewer chemicals than mass-produced versions. Not only do these chemicals get in and around your house, but if flushed down the toilet or sink, they can get in the watershed as well.

Check out this article with 8 homemade cleaner recipes to get you started.

45. Use plant based sponges

OKAY – we have to be careful with this one. The term “plant-based” is not regulated and doesn’t actually mean much.

When I say use plant-based sponges, I mean using a luffa or something that is literally made out of plants and is not synthetic.

Disposable sponges are wasteful and usually made of unnatural synthetic materials. I can honestly say that there are not many good alternatives that are found in regular grocery stores, unfortunately.

Do your research and let me know if you find a reputable brand!

46. Wash clothes in cold water

Our clothes do not require to be washed in hot water. Don’t waste energy heating more hot water than you actually need.

Additionally, hot and warm water can shrink and damage fibers. I like to keep my water temperature on “tap cold.”

47. Use electronics until they die

We don’t need the newest gadgets as soon as they come out. We don’t need the newest gadgets even years after they come out.

Society has engrained us to believe that we always need the most up-to-date technology, even when the devices we already have work just fine.

Just because a new phone, tablet, or tv is on sale or cheaper than expected does not mean you need it. Electronics use chips, which require the mining of rare minerals. Electronics have batteries that leach dangerous chemicals after being discarded.

Read more here about the environmental impacts of “e-waste” and think twice before upgrading that smartphone!

48. Get a solar charger for your electronic devices

This one is a little controversial, and typically I don’t recommend solar anything on the grounds of being more sustainable without doing some serious research.

Because of the complicated manufacturing process of solar panels, it may not be worth it for such a small charging station just for phones.

Once again, I beg you to do your research! Don’t take my word for it.

49. Get a “smart” power strip

Smart power strips help cut back on electricity waste. They cut power to outlets that have devices plugged in when they are not in use.

If you want to get really fancy with it, they make wifi and voice-controlled power strips now too. Personally, I think the simpler, the better for these kinds of things.

Learn more about smart power strips in this article.

50. Use rechargeable batteries

Rechargeable batteries can be better for the environment, but only if they are used to their full potential.

When you consider the greenhouse gases generated from manufacturing, rechargeables look better than disposables. We can reuse them, so we don’t need to make as many.

But when you look at other factors, the benefits of rechargeables are less clear. Charging batteries requires energy, and they’re made of toxic materials that can be harmful without proper disposal.

So, if you want to be the best user of batteries possible, buy rechargeable and use them in place of disposable ones as much as possible.

Get yourself a set of rechargeable batteries right here!

Computer screen, camera, headphones, phone, and coffee.

51. Carry a portable set of cutlery

When I used to work in an office, we kept huge boxes of plastic utensils that people used to eat their lunch every single day. I hated it! I always brought my own, but others didn’t feel the need.

If it became more popular to keep a portable set of fork, knife, and spoon in our cars or purses, maybe we could eliminate plastic cutlery. It’s also very convenient to have around!

There have been many times I’ve gotten take out to eat outside or in the car and forgotten to ask for silverware. Something like this set would be easy to keep in your car at a moment’s notice.

One-use plastic cutlery has a short-lived lifespan and is incredibly wasteful. If you do end up using them, keep them to wash and reuse in the future.

52. Carry a reusable water bottle

Stainless steel reusable is preferable to plastic reusable bottles, although anything is better than single-use plastic bottles! This is a very easy way to be more sustainable and stay hydrated.

53. Avoid straws

We all know how plastic straws end up in the ocean or injure animals.

Avoid using disposable straws by simply drinking straight out of the glass/cup or by keeping a reusable straw on hand. They make all kinds of reusable straws in stainless steel, aluminum, and (regrettably) plastic.

Here are some reusable straws to browse!

54. Avoid styrofoam

Styrofoam is one of the absolute worst materials created by man. It can take over 500 years to break down, and as it does, it pollutes the environment and wild animals.

We all know how when styrofoam is broken apart, it turns into small polystyrene beads. These beads get into the forests and oceans where animals eat them and become ill or injured.

Additionally, styrene (a polymer that styrofoam is made out of) is suspected to cause cancer and be toxic to humans.

So, for the entire world’s sake, just stop using styrofoam.

55. Donate old clothes and furniture

If you’re going through your clothes and getting rid of some, find somewhere to donate them if they are in good shape. Thrift stores like Goodwill or St. Vincent DePaul’s are great. I also like to look for organizations that help homeless people or abused women.

Furniture, books, toys, dishes, curtains, working electronics, and more are all perfectly fine to give away as well! Give your possessions a second life and reduce your trash contribution.

56. Opt for e-tickets and emailed receipts

Carbon paper receipts and shiny concert tickets are all non-recyclable. If there is an option to get these e-delivered by text or email, do that instead of getting paper.

I also like doing this because then I don’t have to worry about losing them!

57. Pick up after yourself

This absolutely should be common sense, but there are many people out there who think littering is not a big deal.

Although we’ve been learning this since preschool, I like to remind people every so often. Please pick up after yourself! Don’t leave trash anywhere that isn’t a trashcan. It’s really not that difficult.

58. Grow your own herbs

Whenever I buy herbs, the bundles are usually far bigger than the amount I actually need to use. Since they start rotting pretty quickly after purchase, the leftovers often go to waste.

Growing your own herbs helps eliminate that waste, can save you money, and they’ll be the freshest herbs you’ve ever had.

If you don’t have room to grow an herb garden outside, try setting up an herb container in your kitchen or living room. It’s pretty easy and all they require is a little sunlight.

This kit includes basil, cilantro, oregano, and rosemary, and is pre-packaged. You can also buy your own seeds and start them in re-used food or tupperware containers.

59. Start your own vegetable garden

This might be my favorite suggestion on this list!

I love it so much, that I’ve written an entire guide on how to start a vegetable garden for beginners.

When you grow your own vegetables, you can eliminate herbicide and pesticide usage, as well as the energy needed to transport and store these vegetables before they get to the end consumer.

Another great resource for learning how to start is borrowing some books from your local library.

60. Plant native plants

There is a lot of debate out there on the definitions of “native” vs “invasive” species.

Typically, native means a plant or organism that originates in the same area you live or are located in. When referring to plants, these are adapted to growing in that particular climate/eco-system and take fewer resources (like water, fertilizer, etc) to grow successfully.

They also usually attract more native pollinators and help other native wildlife live in their natural habitats.

I have this listed because most people create their gardens to look pretty, but usually, the popular “pretty” flowers and bushes are not native. Of course, this varies by where you live!

This article gives more information on why native plants are important. To find out more about what is native to your region, I recommend googling it, finding some books at the library, or talking to your local conservation district or extension.

61. Stop growing grass

Regular old green grass (Kentucky Bluegrass) is not native to North America. It does not provide any value to the environment or ecosystem and it takes a tremendous amount of resources to keep it growing aesthetically.

If you own a house or grew up in one, take a moment to think about how much time, gas, and machinery you or your parents have wasted taking care of the lawn. Maybe you or someone in your neighborhood even uses awful chemicals to keep weeds and bugs off the grass.

And for what? Just to look nice? Not worth it!

I could honestly go on and on about grass and how brainwashed we’ve become to think it is a necessary part of being a homeowner or adult. But, that deserves an entire article of its own (coming soon!).

The point here is that replacing grass with other plants would be much better for the environment. Ground cover plants such as clover or creeping thyme are excellent alternatives to conventional grass and provide food for pollinators.

Read more about sustainable alternatives to grass here!

Jasmine

Wednesday 30th of December 2020

Thanks for sharing this list! Many people think living sustainably is difficult, so these tips are going to be super helpful. I'm going to use the tip about collecting shower water as it's warming up!

Ineta

Thursday 26th of November 2020

Great article! But please, do more research on silicone stuff in the kitchen or for kids. It can actually release silixans, that can destrupt endocrine system, theyre carinogens and etc, even if marked safe, silicone is silica (sand) + some kind fossil fuel additives (im not a scientist, but you can easily find info on the net) whitch makes silicone just as evil as plastic. Ofcourse, if you cant go without it, thats okey, but please use and recommend silicone items with caution

Blessingsbe

Sunday 25th of October 2020

Good list. Pretty comprehensive. I’ve made most of these changes, but am thrilled about the eggshells suggestion. ThX.

Vanessa

Thursday 24th of September 2020

Thanks for sharing! Changing my clothing sources is my next change!

Suzanne

Thursday 24th of September 2020

This is such a great list! Changing style of eating to fresh, local, whole foods supports food supply system that is much more sustainable!