This post is designed to pull together as many SUPER simple sustainable living tips that you could start building into your life today. You’re unlikely to be able to do them ALL today, but you can sure make a good start.
Generally, you just need a bit of commitment to a more eco-friendly, zero-waste life.
This isn’t a check list of things you NEED to do, but more a huge collection of ideas to prompt you to think in less wasteful ways. There’s no one correct way to do this.
Pick a few that resonate and build them in. If you were to add just 2 a week, you’d have ticked off all 101 by this time next year, and be living a far lower impact life.
Every day we have a choice to make this world a little wasteful. What can you do today?
Use bar soap instead of liquid soap, it tends to come with less packaging.
Trycanning to preserve food.
Ask for no straw in your drink order when out.
Buy food without packaging or minimal packaging.
Ditch paper towels and use tea towels and rags.
Plant a small garden.
Check out your farmers market.
Swap tea bags for loose leaf tea in a reusable strainer.
Try making tooth powder to avoid unrecyclable toothpaste tubes.
Build a zero waste kit and put in the trunk of your car or carry it with you when you’ll be out so you’ll always be prepared. It doesn’t have to be large just a few items!
Make dry shampoo to stretch between washes.
Make your own deodorant.
Beware of greenwashing, always do your research.
Make homemade gifts to give to friends and family.
Eat more vegetables and legumes.
Switch from a plastic disposable razor to a metal safety razor.
Avoid receipts when out, ask if one has to be printed. Sometimes they do, but not always!
Find your local cobbler to repair tired shoes.
Line dry a load instead of using the dryer.
Vote with your dollars for a sustainable future.
Most sunscreen causes coral bleaching, go coral friendly!
Surround yourself with tools and items that are meant to last a lifetime. Try to only buy objects once.
Learn how to freeze your food without plastic so it doesn’t go to waste.
Buy more locally made goods.
Repair something when it breaks.
If you’re looking for a specialty item, like camping gear or an extra table for a party, ask a friend if you can borrow one before making a purchase.
Surround yourself with items that serve multiple purposes to streamline and cut excess junk.
Try elderberry syrup if you feel a cold coming on instead of immediately reaching for a plastic pill bottle.
Get a library card to support your local sharing economy.
Bring reusable produce bags for fruits and veggies.
Meal plan to avoid food waste.
Get rid of pests naturally.
Swap disposable pads and tampons for cloth pads or a menstrual cup.
Try to avoid palm oil.
Repurpose stale bread.
Always say no thank you to free promotional items. They tend to be cheap and break easily.
Try making your own lotion.
Look into collecting rainwater or a greywater system.
Try homemade mouthwash.
Look into tree-free TP.
Learn how to repair a button or hem to extend the life of your clothing.
Serve dinner with cloth napkins.
Wrap presents in newsprint or not at all!
Learn where to properly dispose of items like gift cards, old cell phones, batteries and unusable cords can be turned in at best buy etc.
Pick up litter when you’re out and dispose of it properly.
Ditch plastic q-tips for plastic-free or reusable.
Try Wheatless Wednesdays to cut back on intensive grain farming.
Avoid junk mail by placing a sticker on your box or going to dmachoice.org
Ask yourself if you truly need it before making any purchases.
Focus on experiences rather than things.
Ditch sponges in lieu of compostable scrubs or brushes.
Use both sides of the paper!
Keep a stocked pantry to avoid getting takeout on busy nights.
Always run a full dishwasher or load of clothes.
If it’s a 30 minute or less walk, get outside instead of driving.
Ditch plastic shower loofahs for a real loofah or a bamboo bath brush.
Reduce your meat consumption. If you’re not ready to go vegetarian start small: try Meatless Monday, weekday vegetarian, or even weekday vegan.
Try your hand at an easy all-purpose cleaning spray.
Find your local tailor to help with clothing repairs.
Join a community garden.
Go paperless for all your bills!
Make your morning cup of coffee with a french press or pour over with a reusable filter to avoid extra waste.
Ask for no plastic and reused packaging materials for online orders.
Start a backyard compost.
Unplug electronics when not in use.
Try cloth diapering.
Swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush.
Donate unused items in good condition to support the second-hand market.
Ditch tissues for handkerchiefs.
Turn old sheets and towels into handkerchiefs, rags, napkins, and cloth produce bags.
Wash clothes when they are actually dirty, instead of after only one wear.
Commit to bringing your reusable bags to the store. If you don’t have them, turn around and go get them! After forgetting them once, you won’t do it again.
Instead of buying something when you’re having a bad day, do something. I.e. go on a walk, take a yoga class, meet up with a friend.
Change light bulbs to LEDs.
Don’t buy anything impulsively!
Be mindful when using technology.
Put on a sweater and socks before turning up the heat.
Get some houseplants at a local nursery to purify your air, don’t forget to return the little plastic pots!
Swap little plastic chapstick tubes for DIY lip balm.
Know where everything you buy comes from whether it be food, clothing, or other household goods
Pack your lunch instead of eating out every day.
Bring your own container for to-go food and leftovers.
Bring your own to-go cup when getting coffee on the run.
Store your food properly to make it last longer.
Learn to regrow kitchen scraps.
Ask for a real mug at the coffee shop when staying in.
Open a window to cool down your home or air it out.
Think second-hand first when purchasing something.
Pick up a lonely banana.
Don’t leave your house without a full reusable water bottle.
Turn the water off while brushing your teeth.
Make your own face mask from stuff in your pantry.
Make your own febreze spray to freshen your room for pennies!
Look into rechargeable batteries instead of disposables.
Keep a bucket in the shower to water plants or flush the toilet.
Swap cotton rounds for reusable rounds.
Wash your clothes in cold water when you can.
Swap don’t shop! Host a clothing swap with friends.
Try to shrink the amount you recycle. Zero waste is about recycling less not more.
Vacuum your old rug to clean off excess dirt — then, get ready to take it up a notch.
24. After: Bright Overdyed Rug
This hot trend is surprisingly easy to do at home. Mix store-bought dye per instructions — we used RIT all-purpose dye in Coral. (Note: Match your dye selection to your fiber type — e.g. natural vs. synthetic.) Wearing gloves, fill a glass spray bottle with mixture. Coat surface of rug. Repeat until it is the desired color.
25. Before: Paint Bucket
Your home refresh doesn’t have to end with a fresh coat of paint. You can also turn those empty paint buckets into something fabulous.
25. After: Ice Bucket
A gold-trim ice bucket is just the thing to take your bar cart from blah to bold.
Get creative with a flea market find (we picked up this seagrass beauty for $10).
30. After: Statement Basket
This dream weave was easy to achieve: simply paint a design, following the pattern of the basket.
31. Before: Brick
Use bricks from a leftover home project or buy them at your hardware store for around 60 cents each.
31. After: Planter
Scoop dirt or potting soil into a hole and pop in a few small succulents for the ultimate low-maintenance garden.
32. Before: Boring Rug
Before you send those cans off to the recycling bin, see if you can upcycle them first.
32. After: Pretty Pots
Rinse clean, file sharp edges, then measure the can height, cutting wrapping paper or wallpaper to fit before securing with double-stick tape.
33. Before: Wine Corks
Leftover wine corks are the perfect things to upcycle into something new.
33. After: Bottle Stoppers
Transform them into the perfect hostess gift with a little hot glue and a few gems.
34. Before: Lampshade
If you can find two matching lamp shades, then you can DIY your own chic light pendant.
34. After: Scandi Pendant
Remove the fabric and lining from the shades and attach the wire frames bottom to bottom with electrical tape. Thread a pendent light cord through the middle and screw in an LED bulb. Hot glue the end of a length of jute cord to the top frame and wrap around until covered. Repeat with the bottom half.
35. Before: Sideboard
There are so many ways to transform this simple piece from the neighborhood garage sale…
35. After: Statement Sideboard
Use painter’s tape to create a geometric pattern on the front of the cabinet. Now, you’ve got a show-stopping piece.
36. Before: Secretary Desk
Past-prime mirrors are a dime a dozen at thrift stores and yard sales alike. Pick one up and transform it into a centerpiece for your coffee table.
36. After: Statement Desk
Add a layer of paint, some peel-and-stick patterned paper, and a tassel for a desk that can hold its own as the centerpiece of your space.
37. Before: Paint Stirrers
Snap up some freebie sticks every time you hit the hardware store and build a little collection of scrap wood.
37. After: Starburst Mirror
A framed craft store mirror is all it takes to spice up the dining room walls. You can even stain the stirrers to match the table.