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Eco-Friendly Living: Small Steps Toward a Sustainable Lifestyle

4 Mins read

Living an eco-friendly lifestyle involves making conscious choices to minimize your environmental impact. However, with this buzzword taking off in the last few years, being sustainable and going eco-friendly can sound expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some small steps you can take to start living more sustainably:

Reduce, reuse, and recycle

These are the baby steps of introduction to sustainability, and for good reason. Taking on this mindset is a great way to start making small changes to a more sustainable lifestyle. 


To reduce means cutting down on your consumption of single-use items like water bottles, shopping bags, and containers. Luckily, there are many options for reusable alternatives, like metal water bottles, shopping bags, and containers. But be careful not to overconsume these reusable items either; while the colourful prints are appealing to collect, they defeat the purpose. 


While some items can’t be reused, like paper towels, other items can; you just have to get creative. For example, some yogurts or juices will come in glass containers with lids that you can use for food storage or a flower vase. Other items, like clothes, can be donated, and whatever is too worn to go to donation can be used as cleaning rags. Some companies even purposefully package their products this way in the hopes that their customers will reuse them. 


Remember to also properly sort and recycle different materials. Countries like Japan have an intricate method of recycling, but it’s pretty simple over here in the States. Sort paper, cardboard, glass, metal, and plastic according to your local recycling guidelines. Additionally, clean and dry items before sending them to recycling to prevent contamination. 

Conserve energy

Conserving energy is an important part of sustainability, especially when your location relies on unsustainable energy sources. Turn off lights, electronics, and appliances when they’re not in use. To make it easier, you can invest in power strips to turn off multiple devices at once.  Energy-efficient lightbulbs like LEDs or CFLs can also help reduce your use of energy. 

For homes that rely on AC and heating systems, ensure you properly seal any drafts around your windows and doors to improve insulation and reduce your heating and cooling costs. If you plan to replace any appliances in your home, make sure to keep an eye out for the Energy Star label to know if they’re certified energy-efficient. 

Opt for sustainable transportation

Public transportation is a great way to be more sustainable, but unfortunately, not every city has accessible public transit. However, there are other ways to be more sustainable when it comes to transportation. Try to walk or bike whenever possible to reduce emissions and get some physical benefits too. If you have to drive to work, see if other coworkers would be willing to take turns carpooling. 

Cut back on water usage

Water is a precious resource we’re limited by, making it extremely important that we all do our part to conserve it. Fix leaky faucets and toilets to prevent water waste, and consider installing low-flow fixtures. If you have an outdoor garden, water your plants in the early morning or late evening to minimize evaporation. You can also recycle your laundry water to run into your garden. You can also install a rain barrel to collect rainwater for watering gardens and landscaping.

Shop eco-friendly

Reducing your consumption is the best way to be more sustainable, but this isn’t realistic all of the time. There comes a time when your clothes are beyond repair, and you’ll need to shop for new ones. When you do, try to look for sustainable clothing brands and eco-friendly shoe brands, and avoid shopping with fast fashion or gimmick brands. And you can always go thrifting and buy used or refurbished items and breathe new life into them. 

Incorporate meatless days

While you’re never going to get everyone to become a vegan or vegetarian, incorporating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds into your diet and less meat is a small step in the name of sustainability. Try to reduce your meat and dairy consumption and swap some for plant-based alternatives. And when you do buy meat and dairy products, support local farmers and producers who prioritize sustainable farming practices. 

Grow your own food

If you have the yard space for it, start a vegetable garden in your backyard, balcony, or windowsill to grow fresh produce at home. You can easily grow herbs indoors on a sunny window sill or in a kitchen garden for easy access to fresh flavors. If you lack the outdoor space to grow your own vegetables, consider joining a community garden or participating in a local farm share program to support sustainable agriculture in your area.

Minimize your waste

Minimizing your waste is also an important part of sustainability. Set up a compost bin or pile to recycle food scraps and yard waste into nutrient-rich soil for your garden. Avoid purchasing products with excessive packaging or single-use plastics and opt for bulk section produce to minimize unnecessary packaging. And, as we mentioned earlier, choose reusable alternatives to disposable items like straws, utensils, and food containers.

Swap for renewable energy

Renewable energy plans are becoming widely available, but if you own your home, you can look into options for installing solar panels or wind turbines on your property to generate clean, renewable energy. And let’s not forget about the legislative impact! Support policies and initiatives that promote the expansion of renewable energy infrastructure in your community.

Educate yourself (and others!)

Lastly, stay informed about environmental issues, scientific research, and sustainable practices through reputable sources such as books, documentaries, and online resources. And share your knowledge and enthusiasm for sustainability with friends, family, and community members to inspire positive change in their lives. If you are passionate about volunteering, get involved in local environmental organizations, advocacy groups, or volunteer opportunities to contribute to larger-scale efforts for conservation and sustainability.

Going green

Sustainability isn’t about changing your life overnight; it’s about making incremental changes and being a conscious consumer. Avoid greenwashing brands that hike prices sky-high in the name of sustainability, because being sustainable isn’t an expensive lifestyle. These sustainable changes might even help you save money. By implementing some of these tips into your life, you can sleep soundly knowing you’re a sustainable and important contributor to society. 

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