What does it mean to be environmentally friendly? How can I be as green as possible? Read this post to find new ways to become environmentally friendly in your own life!
There’s a common misconception that making eco friendly changes is difficult and expensive. But that’s not always true! Every small effort to become environmentally responsible counts.
I have to admit, I have only recently become someone who is concerned with becoming eco-friendly. When I was first married, I was mostly concerned with frugality and keeping my family fed. I definitely worried about money more than I did about and eco-friendly lifestyle. To say that learning to become environmentally friendly wasn’t even on my radar is probably an understatement.
As I mentioned, there’s a common misconception that going green is hard. Many people believe that it’s difficult to make the changes once you’re used to something, and others think that they have to buy expensive products to be eco-friendly.
It’s simply not true! There are easy ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
With new light being shed on our global environmental issues, I have recently set out on a mission to be make more environmentally friendly choices. What I’ve found is that while it is hard to go full zero-waste, it is actually quite simple to make small changes that result in more environmentally friendly practices.
What is an eco-friendly lifestyle, anyway?
I don’t know that there’s any one definition of an eco-friendly lifestyle. There’s not an exact threshold you have to cross. With kids, it’s hard to be zero-waste, in my opinion. (Note, I didn’t say it’s impossible.)
I believe that if you take any conscious steps to becoming more environmentally friendly, then you are working towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. Whether that means you are recycling your K-cups or repurposing every single item you obtain is up to you. It’s a spectrum, people! There’s no perfect way to do it – the biggest thing you can do is try!
How Can I Be More Environmentally Friendly? + Eco Friendly Ideas For The Home
While I’m a far cry from hard-core activist, I am definitely a budding environmentalist. And we can all become environmentalists by making being a little more environmentally friendly.
So today I have sat down to brainstorm ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. I believe that most of these ways to become environmentally friendly are totally realistic and reasonable. Many of these things are small eco-friendly choices that I have begun to make, but they require intention.
(Recycling is one way to go green, but this list will provide lots of practical things you can do in addition to that!)
Some of my green living tips are on the individual + personal level. They are things that I do that involve myself – from where I buy my clothes, how I grocery shop, and what I choose to reuse. In fact, ending my ZYIA rep status was a personal decision influenced by becoming environmentally friendly. (My new company features recyclable packaging and no expensive clothes!) Other eco friendly examples are further-reaching. They might be a “household” thing, or something that applies to my whole family.
Either way, I hope that if you’re wondering, “How can I live a more sustainable life?” you can gather some great eco-friendly tips here. I want to help you find realistic ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. So let’s get to it.
Easy Ways To Become Environmentally Friendly
1. Switch to reusable grocery bags.
I live in Oregon and they have already outlawed plastic grocery bags. Get ahead of the game and switch to reusable grocery bags now! (They even make cute, sturdy ones.) Just know that it takes awhile to get into the habit of actually taking them to the store with you. 🙂
2. Skip single-use water bottles.
This seems like a no-brainer, yet so many people are still not carrying reusable water bottles with them. I personally love to have a great water bottle with me out and about, but at home, I drink out of reusable glass cups with lids (’cause kids). Invest in a couple of good glass or metal bottles, then get in the habit of carrying them everywhere so that you’re not tempted to drink sugar or get a water bottle on-the-go.
3. Ditch the plastic straw.
In Oregon, restaurants are no longer automatically offering straws! (Even at fast food restaurants.) If we want straws, we have to ask! Skipping the straw is an easy way to cut down on plastic use. My family has invested in some reusable straws and I definitely recommend it, just don’t forget to get yourself a straw cleaner, too! This set comes with metal straws, silicone straws, and a couple of straw cleaners.
4. Invest in kitchen rags to use in place of paper towels.
We all have kitchen towels and rags, but most of us don’t use them in place of paper towels. While there are recycled paper towels out there, why not skip the expense and just use kitchen towels?
5. Try concentrated laundry strips instead of traditional detergent.
Yep, these are a thing! Only instead of getting your laundry detergent out of plastic jugs, you get super-concentrated strips in a paper envelope! This brand of eco-friendly laundry strips is on the rise and highly rated!
6. Get reusable sandwich and snack bags for packed meals/food storage.
I have recently switched to these after realizing how many tiny Ziploc snack bags we were going through for my daughter’s school lunches. I got some super cute cactus bags (pictured) from my go-to for eco-friendly products, The Grove Collaborative. But later realized I need more, so I also go these from Amazon – just remember you have to hand wash them!
7. Go glass with meal prep containers & food storage.
I have invested in both reusable plastic meal prep containers, as well as glass ones. (I don’t buy the cheap Ziploc Tupperware-type things at all.) There are pros and cons to both. The glass is obviously better for the environment, and I expect them to last longer.
However, I find that the rubber seals in the lids go bad after awhile. Your best bet for most things is to use glass Mason jars or a good-quality glass container like these. Just be mindful that washing the lids in the dishwasher may cause the rubber to warp or stretch!
8. Up your recycling game.
I admit that there are some things I didn’t know you could recycle until recently. And, I have a tendency to get lazy and trash little things that could have easily been recycled (like the small boxes that OTC medicines come in). So “upping your recycling game” could be as easy as educating yourself on what can be recycled and not (here’s the list for Oregon).
9. Use Bee’s Wrap instead of plastic wrap.
Bee’s Wrap is making a return and it’s a great alternative to plastic wrap or anything that you might need to cover temporarily. It’s basically just fabric dipped in beeswax, and it is slightly sticky and can be wrapped over food, bowls, etc. You can find some great Bee’s Wrap in fun prints at The Grove Co.
10. Walk or bike to work when possible.
An oldie but goodie! Most of us don’t live within walking distance to work, but we often find ourselves driving when we don’t really need to. Sometimes a bike will do the trick! This helps cut down on emissions + fuel consumption and expenses, too!
Have a work buddy that lives near you? Take turns driving each other to work! It saves you gas, plus helps the environment, too.
12. Reuse your food containers from the store.
Got a big yogurt container? How about a glass jar from pasta sauce? Use them for storing art supplies, nails, and more!
12. Start thrifting for new clothes, dishes, and more.
Okay, maybe you won’t have a lot of luck every time, but I am finding that almost everything I could possibly need as far as clothing and household stuff is available to me at the thrift store. Sure, sometimes you don’t have the time to wait to get something (like if the coffee pot broke and they didn’t have one!) and treasure hunt, but often times we do. I KNOW for a fact that I don’t need new clothes, but if I get the shopping bug, I also know that I can cut down on my environmental impact by thrifting! (Thrifting is without-a-doubt one way to positively impact the environment!)
13. Find new books at the library instead of buying.
I used to go to the library all of the time, but somewhere along the way I got lazy and just started buying books. First of all, new books are expensive! Second of all, how many times do we actually reread our books? Hardly ever! I typically only reread books I really loved, and I usually do it in increments of several years. So why not just “rent” them? There’s no reason for me to buy a bunch of books so that they can later get dumped or just sit on a shelf for decades.
14. Open your windows at night instead of using A/C.
Pretty self-explanatory. Lower your home’s temp naturally and avoid turning the AC on!
15. Learn to repurpose everyday goods.
Have shoe box laying around? Use it as an art project by turning it into a diorama! Have a soap dispenser that’s empty? Use it to make your own soap or fill it back up with refill/bulk soap. You have to get creative, but there are a million ways to repurpose things.
16. Compost your food and yard debris.
So many of the foods we waste a great for the garden – and most yard debris is too! Even if you don’t have a large spot for a big compost pile, you can opt for a kitchen compost bin or compost barrel. Then, feed it back to your garden!
17. Switch to organic fertilizers in the garden.
It’s easier than ever to use natural and organic products in the garden. My favorite fertilizer for vegetables even comes in a compostable box!
PSST. Want to start gardening for weight loss? It’s a thing! Click to read about gardening for weight loss here.
18. Buy in bulk when you can.
Buying bulk not only gets you a price break (most of the time), it helps to cut down on packaging. There are some things I always try to buy in bulk: toilet paper, laundry and dish detergent, feminine care items, and many pantry items.
19. Turn down your thermostat.
Not only can it save you money, it can really help the overall global temp if we all just turned down the heat. (Even if you just drop your overall temp by 1 degree.) Just get in the habit of putting on a sweater instead of turning up the heat.
20. Conserve water.
It takes some time time and intention to cut back on water, but it can be super simple! You can opt to take shorter showers, turn the water off while you’re brushing your teeth, or you can put your dishwasher on a shorter cycle. There are tons of ways to use a little less water here and there.
21. Buy products made of recycled goods.
Now is a great time for recycled goods. There are so many companies out there making anything from clothing to housewares with recycled goods. A no-brainer would be to start with paper products like greeting cards, boxes/bags, and other packaging products.
Thanks for reading, friends! I hope you found some good ways to become environmentally friendly here. How can I be more environmentally friendly? If you have MORE suggestions, even if they are extreme, I’d love to hear them. Or drop a comment below to share your favorite ways to be eco-friendly.