I don’t know about you, but this past year of being stuck at home has made me want to work on easy ways to live sustainably. Nothing like staying home around the clock to really open your eyes to how you’re living and give you a desire to switch things up.
I’ve spent the last few years working towards a more sustainable lifestyle, but this year was when I truly realized how much I needed to step it up at home. I’ve learned a lot over the last few years about easy ways to live sustainably and after really working on them myself, I know for a fact they’ll end up working well within your lifestyle as well.
Maintaining an eco-friendly lifestyle takes a bit of effort, but not too much. The more you learn about the many issues that are plaguing our beautiful planet, the more focused and determined you’ll be to start making better choices every day. That doesn’t mean that your lifestyle needs to make a complete 180, though! Every little bit counts, so if you’re looking for easy ways to live more sustainably, then here are 12 super easy ways to make a difference.
List of 12 Easy Ways to Live Sustainably in 2020
1. Join the Reusable Water Bottle Club
Single-use water bottles get discarded in landfills, and the recycling rate for those is only about 8.4%, which doesn’t make a big enough difference in our environment. Instead, try switching to a reusable plastic, glass, or stainless-steel water bottle.
Best of all? There are lots of pros to switching to these alternatives. For example, stainless steel lasts longer than glass or plastic because they are corrosion resistant. Whereas everything tastes better in a glass bottle, including water.
2. Switch to Eco-Friendly Products to Clean the House
Most of the cleaning products we use to wash clothes, dishes, or clean the house contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Chemicals like foaming agents, preservatives, and detergents do the most harm. So, consider switching to products that use sustainably grown ingredients instead of synthetic ones, so that it won’t harm the planet’s eco-system when they get thrown away. More importantly, these green cleaning products pose less health risks, especially around people living with health conditions or weakened immune systems.
US eco-friendly cleaning product brands:
3. Invest in Biodegradable Trash Bags
Every year, about 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used and then discarded worldwide. Many of these are made of plastic, which only add to the nefarious plastic waste problem our planet is facing. They also take up space at dump sites for months, even years. So, consider investing in some biodegradable trash bags instead. They’re designed to get decomposed by bacteria or other organisms. It might not seem like a big deal, but every little eco-friendly action adds up in the end!
4. Repurpose Your Old T-Shirts
You don’t have to keep buying paper towels to clean your kitchen countertops, tables, or other surfaces. You can actually repurpose your old t-shirts by turning them into rags that can be used over and over again. When they get dirty, simply rinse them or throw them in the washer with the rest of your clothes. And best of all, they won’t become a cesspool of bacteria like other items such as sponges.
5. Try to Eat at Home More Often
Every time you go to a fast food restaurant, you wind up using plastic cups, plastic straws, napkins, cardboard boxes, and plastic forks, spoons and knives. But eating at home or even meal prepping your food during the week can have a huge impact on reducing your environmental footprint.
6. Use Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper
It takes about 17 trees and 90,921 liters of water to make a ton of paper rolls. And since most people use about 100 rolls a year, using toilet paper regularly is unsustainable in the long run. But you obviously still need to use toilet paper, so if you’re passionate about making all these changes, consider using eco-friendly toilet paper made out of bamboo. Why is it eco-friendly? Because bamboo grows 39 inches in 24 hours. So, this alternative is far more sustainable than regular toilet paper.
7. Go Thrift Shopping
Instead of hitting the mall when you need a fresh new outfit, shop at a second-hand store or a thrift shop. They have all sorts of “like-new” clothing, household items and jewelry. This helps the environment because the items on sale didn’t require the use of resources to make or to package the second time around.
8. Shop Locally for Your Groceries
Buy from your local farmers’ market to get food items that are fresh and were grown naturally without adding carbon emissions or waste to the environment. Not only are you eating healthier but you’re supporting the community as well.
9. Eat What’s In Season
Consider eating fruits and vegetables that are in season because when you do, you’re eating in a farm-to-table lifestyle. In other words, the items you bought were recently harvested by local farmers. So, not only are you getting tastier food but you’re reducing carbon emissions too. How, you ask? Because very little transportation was involved while transporting the items from the farm to your local market.
10. Reuse Your Take-Out Containers
Once you’re done with your takeout food, don’t toss the container away. Save it. There’s over 10 million tons of plastic taking up space in landfills. Less than 2 million tons of that gets recycled, which is seriously worrisome. But keep in mind that not every plastic container can be reused, so consider finding different uses for them.
A few ideas for how to reuse your takeout containers? Try turning them into a plant pot, or a starter for succulents. Like to get creative? Utilize them as a vessel to mix paints.
11. Try a Different Mode of Transportation
When you drive to and from work, you’re creating about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which ends up being released into the atmosphere every year. This leads to the greenhouse effect, which causes global warming. Do your part by scheduling a carpool with your fellow co-workers, so there’ll be less cars on the street. You can also try public transportation. But if you happen to live within a reasonable distance from your job, you can try walking or riding a bike. It’s healthier for you and for the environment.
12. Use a Reusable Bag
There are some states across America that have plastic bag bans in place. But if you live in a state that doesn’t have this ban and the bagger asks you for paper or plastic, just tell them, “no thanks. I brought my own.” Plastic bags can’t be recycled in your trash bin. So, the best way to prevent these materials from accumulating in landfills or ending up littering the ocean floor is to switch to reusable bags.
No matter where you start on your journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle, I promise you that even the smallest steps make a difference. These ideas I’ve shared on easy ways to live sustainably make for a great start. Choose one, and go from there!