Did I do it? Did I successfully come up with a bunch of sustainable living tips for you to celebrate Earth Day in a lasting way? Was I able to throw together a list of simple ideas that can have a big impact in the long-term? Honey, you know I did. These are my tips for the easy ways to start to live more sustainably…every day! There are so many simple ways to make your life greener. These kinds of sustainable living tips are simple to implement and start small changes for the better. Being environmentally friendly and trying new sustainable practices at home are for more than Earth Day!
This blog post about ways to live more sustainably and simple ways to make your life greener has been sponsored by Charmin and the FSC® Marketplace.
As a girl who’s filled with an undying love for the Great Outdoors (AKA our planet), I hope it comes as no surprise that I’d love to be part of a wave of doing more – and better – by Mother Earth. When she’s feeling good, she’s looking good. Her health gives us amazing views, mountains taller than you can imagine, water so clear it’ll take your breath away, and other creatures that will split your heart right open with kindness.
But if your speed is more of a stroll down a paved park path or looking out a window, that’s okay too. Even if your outdoor love affair is nothing more than an afternoon nap with David Attenborough in the background. There’s no limits on how we can love on our beautiful world, or what that looks like, and I promise you can still make a difference. We can all use some environmentally friendly sustainable living tips…. am I right!?!
Living More Sustainably aka Greener
If you need a reason to be more sustainable, just look around. We’ve got a beautiful thing going on here, right? And if we want to keep it that way, protect our communities, our health, and the health of our planet in the future, we’ve got to put in a little effort. We need to dedicate ourselves to find ways to start to live more sustainably, and support companies that do the same. The simple ways to make your life greener may seem insignificant, but think big….imagine if EVERYONE did a few things each day. The little things soon have big results.
Trying out these sustainable living tips shouldn’t seem overwhelming because they aren’t really hard at all! Soon you too will be embracing the environmentally friendly life.
I’ve already started my sustainability journey, and boy, I’d love for you to join me! Earth Day is the perfect excuse to kick-start a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. And I swear, it’s not even that hard. Check out these simple ways to make your life greener.
Being environmentally friendly 101: single use items, like disposable silverware, paper plates, plastic straws, food wrappings – they’re bad news. A whole lot of destruction goes into making them, between sourcing the materials to the by-products of making them. And when they’re done, off they go to a landfill, taking hundreds – even thousands – of years to break down.
Convenience is a real need that I completely understand. We’re all insanely busy these days. But with just a little extra prep and a few easy swaps, you can live your life almost as carefree while incorporating sustainable practices at home. Simple ways to make your life greener can often times quickly become a habit, plus you will love the money you save while you go about your day to day. These environmentally friendly swaps are the easiest of easiest sustainable living tips to embrace.
Instead of using plastic utensils at work for your lunch each day, buy a reusable set and wash them each time. So many reusable cutlery sets get bonus points for cuteness, too.
Plastic wrap is great for saving things in a pinch, but let’s be honest – not only is it wasteful, but it’s kind of a nightmare to use too. Get yourself a set of beeswax paper wraps instead. They come in tons of fun colors and patterns. Plus, when it’s not clear, you won’t have to see the mold growing in that can you put in the fridge a few months ago. Yikes.
Re-Usable Water Bottle
If you’ve made it to 2021 without getting an environmentally friendly stainless steel water bottle, that’s pretty impressive on it’s own. But if you’re still drinking from disposable plastic bottles, that’s embarrassing. Not only are reusable water bottles more environmentally friendly – they usually keep your water cold for longer, and carry more than a measly 8 oz. So what are you waiting for? Get with it and always carry a water bottle as it is and inarguably one of the most simple ways to make your life greener.
Reusable bags are another popular way to start to live more sustainably – and with good reason[s]. For one, you can pack an insane amount of groceries in them without worrying about the bag splitting open in the parking lot. For two, you don’t have to keep the mountain of plastic bags hidden when your guests come over. Lastly, for three, way better for the planet. Just look up one image of an animal caught in a plastic grocery bag, and you’ll be sold.
Same goes for zip bags – the ugly little cousin of plastic grocery bags. Instead of packing your sandwiches and snacks into plastic, get a set of environmentally friendly reusable zip bags. They come in fun colours, are almost always dishwasher safe, and will save you a ton of money in the long run. It’s one of many simple ways to make your life greener.
Noticing a theme of fun colors? Yeah, going green can be pretty stylish. Just saying! 😉
When you can’t reuse, and you’ve reduced all you can, the least you can do is recycle. The more we recycle our materials, the less new ones we have to create! Recycling is so simple, and honestly, if you aren’t doing it already I am shocked. If you are a recycler already, simply look for more products that you can recycle. This is one of the easiest ways to start to live more sustainably that is something everyone can do.
Most local solid waste pickup has some sort of recycling program. If not, you can usually find a recycling center nearby that you can take your usual stuff to. If your apartment isn’t recycling, well take to the building manager because they should be! Recycling in 2021 is so easy, there is no excuse! Sustainable living tips and tricks start with reduce, reuse and recycle!
You probably already know about recycling your plastics, your glass bottles, and your paper products. But there’s way more you can do to keep your used-up stuff out of landfills and up your environmentally friendly behaviour.
Instead of tossing batteries and other electronics in the garbage, find a tech-recycling drive. Collect your scrap metal and take it to a spot – they often will give you a couple pennies in exchange! Personally, I go nuts for my monthly trip to recycle everything that I have been collecting. If you’re not near one, most grocery stores will have a bin for them as well.
Before trashing your weird odds and ends, like your ugly old comforter or torn up leather couch, see if you can get it to someone who needs it. Donation is a cool option, but free-cycle sites are even better for the really weird stuff. You never know what someone could craft out of all your old homeless keys, or funky loose button collection. Even that hideous butter dish your grandma gave you could really spark joy for someone.
There are more and more options available for products that have less packaging. When shopping, look at the different products available. I love things like shampoo bars that have no packaging at all. They are perfect for travel and camping, too. All sorts of brands are embracing sustainability, and it makes me excited!
Sustainable living tips like looking for less packaging are easy peasy!
Some items, like toilet paper purchases are one way that you can make smarter choices. When shopping you can seek out products that are FSC® certified. Sustainable living tips like this are ones you need to keep in mind every day!
Oh, what’s that mean? I was hoping you’d ask! Read on…
What is the FSC®?
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) proudly labels any paper products that are made of pulp and other materials that come from a responsibly managed forest. You know – real treehugger stuff. When you buy products with an FSC® label, you’re supporting better practices for paper companies, and encouraging them to take it even further.
Take, for example, Charmin toilet paper. Yep, the one with the bears. Don’t worry – they’re FSC® certified! They not only are they a big fan of responsible foresting – they’re totally committed to being a part of the movement. For every tree harvested to make their products, they’re planting two new ones. Charmin also partners with nonprofits to protect and improve forests that have been neglected or devastated by natural disasters. You could say they’re a toilet paper brand that really gives a crap.
I love that Charmin is committed to helping keep forests as forests. They practice responsible forestry through:
- Protect: All of Charmin’s toilet paper products use pulp certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®). Along with small, family-owned foresters, Charmin is helping to increase the amount of forest lands that are responsibly managed. Such standards ensure the protection of wildlife and help ensure communities thrive.
- Grow: For every tree used to make Charmin toilet paper, at least two more are regrown. Charmin works with its supply chain and nonprofit partners to match the current – and future – mix of trees in a forest. A calculated, technology-based approach considers biodiversity needs and conservation best practices.
- Restore: Charmin partners with nonprofit organizations to fund replenishment within neglected forests or those devastated by natural disasters such as wildfires.
Search for Products with the FSC® Online Marketplace
If searching for a little certification on all your products seems like too big of a chore, never fear. Everything is possible on the Internet! Check out the huge collection of FSC® certified products all in one spot – this online marketplace. You can get the lowdown on what brands to buy, and where to buy them. It’s one extra step for your shopping list with a big benefit for our beautiful world. And who knows – you might find products you love even more.
What is a Sustainable Tree Farm?
A couple of years ago, I went on a trip to see a sustainable tree farm in Arkansas. There I got to explore a family-owned sustainable tree farm with Bounty Paper Towels, Charmin, Domtar Paper, FSC®, WWF, the Rainforest Alliance, + the Arbour Day Foundation to learn all about responsible forestry.
If you are looking to learn more about ways to start to live more sustainably, you can watch my YouTube video to learn all about sustainable tree farming.
Clean out Your Closet
You might need to literally clear that thing out, but this isn’t a purge-inspo post. So if you’re sweating just trying to get your closet door shut, you might want to start there first.
Done? Okay, cool. Now let’s talk about your future fashion strategy.
First, source your clothes more sustainably. Clothes make up something like 5% of the contents of landfills. We’re so focused on staying current that fast fashion has taken over. We buy things cheaply made, from poor materials, and toss them out when the season is over.
Spoiler alert: that’s bad. Really, really bad.
So how do we do better?
One great way is thrifting. Another thing you’re crazy not to have tried by 2021. Buying clothing used is a great way to keep it out of landfills – and most of time, you’re supporting charity in the process.
This doesn’t have to mean digging through the racks at Goodwill all afternoon to find one pair of perfect jeans. You can choose from tons of online marketplaces and vintage sellers as well.
You don’t have to worry about looking out of style – oftentimes you can even find current brands at a discount, just because someone bought the wrong size. And if you can’t, rest easy. Everything comes back around again (hello, mom jeans).
If you really want to dig into the sustainable living tips surrounding your clothing, I have a whole post just about ways to shop for fashion more sustainably for your closet and other sustainable living tips. Simple ways to make your life greener are totally in style!
Freshen up your Food Situation
Food waste, and food production, have a huge environmental impact. That joke about the cow farts burning a hole in the ozone? It’s not a joke. That’s real life. So when you go to stock your kitchen and fuel your body, keep in mind that just a few changes could make your kitchen way kinder to the earth.
First of all, you’ve got to stop wasting food. Cap it before it starts by making a detailed meal plan for the week, and shopping accordingly, taking into account what you already have and the different ways you can use those ingredients.
Once you’ve got a meal plan you’re sticking to, less food is going in the trash – and less takeout is coming home. That means less containers piling up, pizza boxes that can’t be recycled, and plastic straws that will haunt your conscience.
Don’t let it stop there – recycle what you don’t use! Scraps of veggies can be frozen and used to make veggie stock later. Plop your green onion cuttings in a glass of water and grow a whole ones. What you can’t use, throw into a compost bin for rich fertilizer to use in your garden.
Yep, your garden. That’s coming up next. Because where you source your food matters too. It’s one of the easiest ways to start to live more sustainably.
Of course, local is always best and the most environmentally friendly. Buying from local farmer’s markets, or from your own backyard, means less mass-farming and less pollution involved in getting your food from the ground to your mouth. Consider connecting with your community an added bonus! For more tips on dipping your toes into buying local, check out this post on all the reasons why you should buy local and on why it’s one of my faves.
Green up your Gift-Giving
Before you freak out, chill – I’m not trying to take down the age-old practice of giving presents. Like all the other parts of moving to sustainable practices at home, I just ask that you change the way you think about gift-giving – and holidays – in general.
I love the holidays. The music, the celebration, the time with loved ones – and yes, I love the gifts. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do a little bit better for the planet while we show our love and appreciation.
Instead of buying the newest, latest gadget, gift your pal experiences, like a trip or a tour of really funky museum. Take them to a really pretty overlook. Bake them their favourite desert. Maybe they’ll fall in love with the Earth and sustainability, too! One of my favourite sustainable living tips is to give green and get others on board with eing environmentally friendly. All my family members got a great environmentally friendly reusable cutlery set in their stocking last Christmas… and the LOVE THEM!
Wrapping paper and gift bags are another absolute nightmare when from a sustainability angle. Single use paper products? Covered in glitter and gloss, so we can’t even recycle them after? Hard pass. I’d rather use the funnies section of the newspaper, or repurpose a sturdy shopping bag from a store.
And that’s just the beginning. I could go on about this forever – so I literally wrote a whole post on all the tips for sustainable gift giving. Consider it my gift to you!
Keep an Eye on Consumption
Energy consumption, that is. That’s right – those little things you don’t think about beyond the weight on your wallet, like your electric bill or the price of gas. They have a big impact. Power plants use up an insane amount of resources, whether they’re coal plants, wind plants, or nuclear. And you can’t even imagine how much work goes in to cleaning the water that runs down your sink while you brush your teeth.
Little things like switching to LED bulbs, fixing that leaky faucet, or shutting off the lights are easy sustainable practices at home. Yes, even if you’re scared of the dark. Get a glow-in-the-dark nightlight. I promise you’ll be ok.
If it’s too much to manage on a daily basis, you might really dig some environmentally friendly smart home technology, which gives you simple ways to make your life greener. Smart thermostats learn your temperature preferences and find the most eco-friendly pattern to keep you comfy. Smart outlets can run on a timer. Or, if they’re really, really smart, they can be controlled from your phone. So if you run out and leave the TV on, no prob – just pull up the app and turn it off.
Clean up your Cleaning Routine
I love a good clean house as much as the next girl. I can spend hours watching those satisfying videos of people scrubbing their grout with a toothbrush, cleaning grease off their stove tops, soaking their shower heads to clean out the lime…yummy.
What I don’t love are harsh cleaning chemicals that make it hard to breathe. You probably aren’t a big fan, either. And if your lungs are hurting, imagine how our precious planet feels! The burning! The itching! The agony!
Leave behind that mess and swap out for more sustainable cleaning products that are a little kinder to the Earth – and to you. On my journey, I’ve found that vinegar is one of the most environmentally friendly, versatile and powerful cleaning products out there. And baking soda? You won’t believe the power packed in that tiny powder. Outside of your pantry, there are plenty of pre-made, low-ingredient products out there made to be a little easier on our Earth. The bonus is that simple ways to make your life greener like this will also save you money!
When it comes to cleaning up your air, ditch those stinky, heavily scented air-fresheners. Let’s be honest – they don’t even smell that good.
Instead, try one of my fave sustainable practices at home: a couple easy, low-maintenance houseplants. Not only are they cute as heck, but they’ll clean your air for you. Looking good, feeling good, doing good. That’s pretty good, huh? And if you’re new to plant parenthood, I’ve got all the tips you need if you are a new plant mom to keep your babies thriving. Simple ways to make your life greener can and SHOULD include houseplants…. says the crazy plant lady lol.
School Yourself on Sustainability
I have tons of ideas to share with you, but I’m no sustainability expert – I’m just a gal who really, really loves our planet. My knowledge of sustainable living tips is limited. And while I’m happy to help you dip your toes in, I can guarantee that once you get your feet wet, you’re going to want to dive into sustainable living headfirst. Are you with me!?!
Don’t let this list be the end of your efforts! There are so many resources on how to live more sustainably out there – whole YouTube channels, blogs, and non-profits all ready to guide you on your environmentally friendly journey. Check the labels to see what brands – like Charmin – are doing their part. Make it a point to take a few hours out of every month to research the cause further and see what other ways to start to live more sustainably you can find – I know I will. You will soon find out that the simple ways to make your life greener really are SIMPLE and achievable.
Because the journey to a better world isn’t one we can do alone! Together, we have to protect our little baby planet, so it can keep on giving us limitless beauty, for centuries to come.
Let me know if you have any other easy ways to start to live more sustainably. There are so many simple ways to make your life greener. These kinds of sustainable living tips are simple to implement and start small changes for the better. Being environmentally friendly and trying new sustainable practices at home are for more than Earth Day!
This blog post about ways to live more sustainably has been sponsored by Charmin. All thoughts and opinions are my own.