If you’re thinking about how you can live more sustainably, but aren’t yet quite ready to move to the woods, live off-grid and use a composting toilet, you can start small. You can take baby steps towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Below I’ve listed 25 ways in which you and your family can make a positive impact on the environment starting today. You don’t even have to do all 25 steps; you can just start with just a couple and work your way up. Every little bit helps. By the way, these steps aren’t in any particular order; you can start with the first step or the 25th.
How to Live More Sustainably [25 Easy Steps]
1. Start recycling
Lots of people start at this step because it’s fairly simple. When you recycle, you create less waste and it converts what could’ve been wasted into something reusable. Most towns have a recycling center and some even have pick up services. Do a little internet research to see what’s available in your town. Some of the more common things you can recycle are paper products, bottles, cans, and electronics. Check with your local recycling center and see what they accept.
2. Conserve energy
You can conserve energy by simply turning off all lights and electronics when they’re not in use. You can even take it a step further and unplug electronics. Conserving energy is not only good for the environment, but will also lower your utility bills.
3. Drive less
If you live in a big city that has great public transportation, driving less is easy. If you live in the country or a small town or suburb, public transportation might not be as accessible, but you could look into carpooling, riding a bicycle or walking if weather permits. All these options are great for the environment and walking and riding a bicycle are great exercise.
4. Wash clothes less often
Consider washing your clothes less often in order to live more sustainably and to conserve energy and water. As long as an item of clothing isn’t dirty or smelly, you can wash them after you’ve worn them a couple or more times.
5. Dry clothes the old fashioned way
Drying clothes on a clothes line brings back images of movies of old New York when people would string clothes lines from apartment window to apartment window. With the advent of electric dryers, clothes line drying isn’t as common in the US anymore. Bringing back this old fashioned way of drying clothes takes a little longer than using an electric dryer, but it’s more eco-friendly. If you don’t have a backyard big enough for a clothes line, consider purchasing an indoor clothes drying rack. Many don’t take up much space at all, but make a positive impact on your energy consumption.
6. Make or buy insulated curtains
When it’s cold outside, a lot of the heat that’s lost is through the windows. So, to keep it warm inside and additionally minimize your heating bill, you can use insulated curtains. They’re also great at keeping it cool during the hot weather months. You can buy them or if you like DIY project, you can make some. To learn more about making your own insulated curtains, visit this link.
7. Start using alternative sources of energy
If you don’t have the budget to set up an alternative energy system for your home, start small. You can buy of those solar powered chargers for your mobile phone. It’ll give you an idea how you can use solar energy, but on a smaller, more affordable scale.
8. Take shorter showers
I know taking long hot showers can be relaxing, but you can save a lot of money and gallons of water by taking short showers. One trick is to turn off the water while you’re lathering yourself and then turning it back on when you’re ready to rinse off. Give it a shot.
9. Flush less often
Traditional flushing toilets use about 7700 gallons of water per year. That’s a lot of water. To save on some water don’t flush when you don’t have to, like after you’ve urinated. This simple change can cut your toilet water usage by over half.
10. Ditch the paper towels
Paper towels are convenient and easy, but they’re a massive waste of paper if you use them for both cleaning and dining. Instead, use reusable rags for house cleaning and use cloth napkins for dining. Once you’re done using these, they can be simply tossed in the washing machine with the rest of your laundry and reused for another day.
11. Grow your own food
Growing your own food might seem overwhelming if you’ve never gardened before, but you can start small with an indoor herb garden even if you live in a small house or apartment. Herbs are an easy first step to growing your own food. Once you get the hang of it, you could move up to growing your own fruits and vegetables. Be sure to use organic methods because organic gardening is simply healthier, better for the environment and produces better tasting food.
Related: How to Eat Sustainably on a Budget
12. Eat locally
Another way you can live more sustainably is by eating locally produced organic food. It’s healthier and it supports your local economy. Eating locally can mean you grow your own food, or you buy from a local farmer, farmers’ market, community garden and/or food co-op.
13. Use reusable bulk food bags
When shopping at your local food co-op, you’ll most likely be buying your dry food staples. like rice and beans, in bulk. Stock up on a few reusable bulk food bags instead of using paper or plastic bags.
14. Use reusable grocery bags for other groceries
Most chain grocery stores and supermarkets sell their own branded canvas shopping totes. If you like you could also buy ones of your own online or at a department store. Either way, you’re reducing the paper and plastic waste that come with getting new paper or plastic shopping bags every time you shop for groceries.
15. Eat less meat
If you’re a meat eater, eating less meat could simply mean including one plant-based meal per day or going one full day per week without eating meat. This can improve your health as well as reduce your carbon footprint. Additionally when you do buy meat, make sure it’s meat that comes from animals that were raised locally and humanely.
16. Use reusable lunch boxes for work, school, and restaurant take out.
When you go to work or send your children off to school, use a reusable lunch box/container. You can also bring these containers with you to restaurants to bring back your leftovers.
17. Use green cleaning products
Using chemical cleaning products for your home isn’t healthy for you, your family, pets and the environment. Plus, they’re more expensive than making your own natural products. Visit this link to learn more about making your own natural cleaning products: 10 All-Natural, DIY Cleaners to Scrub Every Inch of Your Home
You can also make your own natural beauty and bath/body products. There are lot of recipes out there so see what you can find.
18. Put a stop to paper junk mail
Believe it or not, you can stop junk mail. You can contact the business directly to have them remove your name from their mailing list or you can use services who will handle it for you. Two services that offer free and low cost services to help you manage your snail mail box are: DMA Choice and Catalog Choice.
Also, if you’re not paying your bills online, you can start today. Most companies offer the option to pay bills through there website or you can pay your bills through online banking.
19. Stop drinking bottled water
Many Americans turned to bottled water 20-30 years ago in an attempt to be healthier, but the result of drinking so much bottled water has created tons of waste. Only a small fraction of the billions of plastic water bottles are being recycled. An eco-friendly solution would be to buy a filtration system for your home’s water supply and to buy a reusable stainless steel water bottle to drink out of. Buy several of them for each family member and for guests.
20. Set your thermostat to a lower temperature
It can be tempting to set your thermostat to a high toasty temperature during those cold winter months, but see if you can reduce the temperature a bit, not so that you’ll freeze; just a bit. You can then layer on some clothes to balance out the new temperature. You’ll by using less energy this way, will have lower heating bills and will still be comfortable in your home.
21. Buy second hand
Instead of buying newly produced items like clothes and home goods, buy them second hand. You can breathe new life into used items and it can be a fun adventure shopping at garage sales, vintage stores, second hand stores and online with sites like Craigslist and Ebay.
When you choose to live more sustainably, you’re going want to get rid of some of your unused stuff. We accumulate and collect stuff over the years that we don’t need and after a while, it can become a burden and a pile of clutter in your home. Downsizing can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Just take it in small steps and over time.
23. Use CFL bulbs or LED bulbs
Replace your current light bulbs with CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) bulbs and LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs. Both of these types of bulbs are energy efficient and better for the environment. Visit this link to learn more about the benefits of using CFL and LED bulbs.
24. Join or start a sustainable living meetup group
It’s nice to have some support when changing your lifestyle and you can get that support from a group of like-minded individuals who also want to learn how to live more sustainably. You can learn tips, tricks and learn from those who’ve done those things you plan on doing. To join or start a sustainable living meetup group, just sign up with meetup.com and search for a group in your area. If one doesn’t exist, you can start one. The best part about this tip is it’s free!
25. Print double sided
Not all printers can print double sided, so check your manual to see if you can. Other printers allow you to turn the paper over and print on the other side. If your printer has these capabilities, using them will help you reduce paper waste.
Have anymore tips on how to live more sustainably? Let us know in the comments below. Good luck to everyone wanting to live a more sustainable life!
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