Becoming green or eco-friendly doesn’t have to be a daunting task. There are so many simple ways to make your life more sustainable, and the best part is that they are frugal as well! Most of these you can implement almost immediately. I would advise taking this list and switching one thing at a time, moving through it room by room and doing what you can. Not all of these can be achieved right away, and some you may never want to achieve. This, however, gives you a blueprint for taking on a more sustainable and environmentally responsible lifestyle.
- Switch to Wool Dryer Balls
- Make Your Own Laundry Detergent
- Make Your Own Stain Remover
- Hang Dry Your Clothes
- Switch to Re-usable Bags Instead of Ziplocks
- Switch to Re-Usable Water Bottles
- Make Your Own Granite Cleaner
- Make Your Own Glass Cleaner
- Make Your Own All-Purpose Cleaner
- Buy Foods in Bulk to cut down on single use packaging
- Recycle all containers that run through the kitchen
- Switch to Re-usable lunch boxes/bags
- Buy locally for Meat, eggs, milk and fruits/vegetable (when available)
- When buying in bulk: can, freeze or dehydrate any excess. This will not only save you money, but will help with general waste of groceries
- Switch from paper towels to wash-clothes
- Switch from paper napkins to cloth napkins
- Buy as much as you can on sale, and preserve any extras
- Cook anything you can from scratch, it’s healthier, saves money and prevents waste
- Use re-usable plates, forks, cups and napkins, try to stay away from single use paper plates and plastic forks
- Switch to stainless steel, silicone, wood and cast iron in the kitchen. Attempt to slowly get rid of all plastics and teflon products
- Start a compost bin with all your leftover veggies and fruits.
- Up-cycle old clothing as rags and washcloths for cleaning
- Make your own tub/tile cleaner
- Make your own drain de-clogger
- Take shorter showers
- Use towels more than once
- Turn the water off when you brush your teeth
- Switch the fluoride-free toothpaste
- Switch out all shampoos/conditioners and body washes with non-toxic or homemade products
- Switch out all makeup/face creams with non-toxic or homemade products
- Women: switch to menstrual cups, cloth pads and/or period panties
- Begin buying used clothing, linens and furniture
- Buy “natural” fabrics, such as: linen, cotton, silk and wool.
- Make your own wood cleaner
- Simplify your wardrobe: get rid of stuff you don’t wear and don’t replace anything unless you actually need it
- Wear jeans, jackets, etc. more than once to cut down on washing clothes
- When getting rid of your wardrobe, donate it to keep it out of the landfill
- Slowly replace your plastic hangers with wood and metal hangers
- Switch to Cloth Diapers
- Make your own diaper cream/salve
- Make your own baby wipes
- Buy non-plastic toys
- Simplify your toy room: get rid of plastic toys and only replace/buy toys a couple times a year. Buy used toys if possible, and ideally wood, metal or other non-plastic options (i.e. silicone, wool, cotton, etc.)
- Grow your own vegetable and fruit garden
- Plant plants that are indigenous to your area, that way you aren’t over watering and they are easier to grow
- If possible, get rid of your lawn. They take up so much usable space and use up so much water
- Use non-toxic weed killers and fertilizers in your yard to keep poisons out of our rainwater
- Build a compost pile to keep useable, organic material out of the landfill
- Only water in the early morning or late afternoon to prevent evaporation. This also protects your plants from sunburn
- Utilize an automatic shut-off nozzle on your hose to prevent water waste
When moving into a more sustainable life, the best way to be successful is to create habits and build a natural mindset. In Elementary school, we learned to recycle, reduce, reuse. I know many people who recycle, but actually, recycling is the least efficient way to save the planet, as much of the “recycled” material that ends up at the recycling plant isn’t even recyclable.
In order to really make a difference, the best thing to do is to reuse and repurpose products that have already been made. Or, adopt a minimalist mindset and reduce how much “stuff” is in your life to begin with. How many things do we buy that are packaged in tons of plastic and non-recyclable material? Most of those things we don’t even need.
- Only buy what you need
- Before getting rid of, or throwing anything away, consider if it can be reused or repurposed
- Only allow non-toxic and natural products into your home
- Buy high quality products (and used if possible) so that it lasts as long as possible, and maybe even can be passed on to someone else.
And last, if you have plastic in your home, use it as long as possible before throwing it away or recycling. There is no need to throw out everything immediately. The most effective way to live sustainably is to keep things out of the landfill. Buy used, reuse, repurpose, and recycle!