35 Stress-Free Ways to be More Eco-Friendly
You don’t have to be a zero waster or vegan or be living in a tiny home to be able to make an impact on the environment. You can simply be who you are, wherever you are, however you are, and do as little as you can.
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” ~@zerowastechef
Here are some extremely simple steps we can take as often as we think of them to make even the smallest difference. Remember, every little thing you do counts. Even if you pick one thing from this list and do it periodically, you have made a difference.
- Try to plan ahead and buy groceries accordingly. Buy less that what you think you need – some of it always ends up getting wasted. Use your freezer for items you don’t think you’ll get to before they go bad.
- Turn off the lights when you leave the room. And, use natural lighting for as long as possible.
- Separate your compost. If your city / municipality does not separate garbage at the source, do use compost bins. Along with becoming wildly trendy, they add a touch of practicality in the home.
- Reduce water waste. Very simply, turn off that tap when you are not using it. Be it while doing the dishes, brushing your teeth and/or before your shower.
- Opt for paperless banking. Less clutter around the house anyway.
- Try to drive less. Grab a ride with a friend or use public transportation whenever possible.
- Pack lighter when you travel.
- In general, try to buy less. Be more mindful when purchasing anything and go for better quality. Spend once knowing it won’t break down any time soon, and will stay with you for years to come.
- Try as much as possible to shop at your local farmer’s market. The food is locally sourced, and it is fresher as it didn’t travel for hundreds or thousands of miles to get to you. Eat what the seasons allow for better quality food.
- Meatless Mondays or wheatless Wednesdays. It’s a thing, try it out. But you can pick any day of the week that suits you best to do these. Dare I say, you could even try out other various combinations, such as veggie lunches for three days (or one day… or all days…), or spend the whole weekend without meat…once a month…or all weekends, ever, etc. Do what works for you. Again, every little bit you do, counts!
- Steer clear of single-use plastics. It’s not just the environment that is suffering from the overuse of plastic, but us as well. We end up consuming small bits of plastic, which directly leads to health issues in our bodies. Fortunately, we now have great alternatives for commonly used item, such as single use water bottles, plastic straws, and cling wrap on our foods. The best alternative to plastics are glass, stainless steel, wood, etc. For example…
- Try to use soap, shampoo, and conditioner bars to avoid plastic containers ending up in the bin.
- Invest in Reusable Cotton Rounds for easy makeup removal and keep away from synthetics on your face.
- Take shorter showers.
- Bring your owns bags when you go shopping.
- Support green businesses. Many companies are now choosing various methods to reduce their carbon footprint and go the extra mile to be more ethical. For example, choose to shop with companies offering plastic-free shipping. We now live in a time where more and more companies are choosing to be more mindful of the packaging material they send out. After all, you are the one who has to essentially take responsibility for discarding the material properly. Why add to the landfill when you can simple send it away to be recycled?
- Opt to purchase products that use organic materials. They are better: fewer chemicals, fewer toxins.
- Use bamboo toothbrushes and dental floss. We love these toothbrushes as they are 100% biodegradable - yes, bristles included.
Normally, bamboo toothbrushes still have nylon bristles, but the bristles on this brush are made from bamboo silk, making them completely zero waste. On that note, this charcoal dental floss is also 100% compostable as it completely breaks down in 60-90 days after use.
- Wash your laundry in cold water. It’s an age old myth that hot water is better, but that is far from reality. As a matter of fact, cold water is better suited to take out certain types of stains, while hot water sets them in and locks them to the fabric for good. The truth is, detergents these days are extremely powerful and many are better suited for cold water anyway. The thing about hot water being better was back when laundry had to be done by hand and hot water was needed to activate the detergents back then. Cold water is less damaging to clothing fibers, so why are we still using hot water?
- Try to air dry your laundry.
- If you must use a dryer, try out wool dryer balls instead of wasteful dryer sheets. We absolutely love the Flock of Friends and Rainbow Blast collections by Friendsheep.
- Run the dishwasher and washing machine only when there is a full load. Late evening, nighttime or the weekend are the best times to do these tasks.
- Try to use natural cleaners around the home.
- If you have old clothes that cannot be donated, reuse them around the house as rags before getting rid of them.
- Go for loose-leaf tea. May we suggest the Deluxe Variety Collection by Tea Drops. These don’t even require a tea strainer – just drop into warm water, stir, and enjoy.
- Instead of ziplock bags, try using Reusable Snack Bags.
28. Speaking of cleaning, Swedish dishcloths are a truly amazing and underrated invention. They can be washed 200+ times, carry better quantity of liquid than your average sheet of paper towel, can be washed in the washer, and not to mention, so drastically cute. Check out these ones, for example.
- Use a menstrual cup or reusable pads for your monthly cycles.
- Make your home more energy efficient. Opt for LED light bulbs (but wait for the current ones to run out before replacing them), better insulation on your windows, unplug devices when not in use.
- When replacing your appliances, choose the energy efficient models. That is, “Energy Star” products. You can access more information here:
- Drop the indoor temperature by one degree in the winter and raise it by one degree in the summer.
- If you have one or more yards and/or plants around the house, try to collect rainwater to water them. This can be done by simply placing a container in a place to catch the water that comes down the downspout from the gutters, cover the container, and store away from the sun. If you do not have a gutter system available around your home, just watch for where the water falls in the highest quantity and place a container there. Rainwater is healthier for plants in general because it does not include fluoride that municipal water does. For clearer water, let it rain a little do the debris can settle before you place a container.
- On that note, if you don’t have plant, get some. In addition to beautifying the living spaces, plants are great at removing pollutants from the air, such as carbon dioxide. They boost oxygen levels, which is great for the energy levels, especially if this is in an environment where you work.
- Try to grow your own food. Even if that means just a tiny herb garden on your windowsill consisting of 1-3 small planters where you have planted your favourite herbs. Can’t get enough of thyme, mint, and rosemary? Grow your own. You’ll be surprised how good it feels to break off one what you need from your own herb garden for your cooking needs for the day. Nothing beats fresh herbs and it can’t get fresher than this.
The last one is a bonus, and it isn’t really an eco-friendly tip for your home but more of one for the inside of you.
- Try to clear your mind at least once a day. Whether that means going for a short walk or just hanging out in your backyard. Put away your electronic devices, take a few moments, and just enjoy the day.
“The future belongs to those who understand that doing more with less is compassionate, prosperous, and enduring, and thus more intelligent, even competitive.” ~Paul Hawken