Looking for some easy ways to live a more eco friendly lifestyle?
After reading this, you'll learn about some easy tips to reduce your waste that will help lower your carbon footprint, and contribute less to the landfills.
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The waste problem
In this post, I'm going to be talking a lot about waste.
Waste is anything you throw away, recycle, or compost. Its generally anything that you don't need to use anymore so you discard it in some way.
Waste is a huge problem for the planet. It takes up a lot of space, it contributes to greenhouse gasses, and we simply just don't have the means to deal with as much waste we are contributing.
Incinerating trash produces toxins, pollution in the air, and contributes to acid rain.
Trash is actually wasteful.
It wastes the materials that were used, the energy, time, and resources it took to create that thing.
If we reduce our waste, we can reduce our environmental impact.
What you can do
As of now, there's no end to our trash problem, and instead is just getting bigger and bigger and bigger.
One thing we can do as individuals is just contribute less to the trash crisis.
Maybe it feels like you can't make that big of a difference by yourself.
But if we each person is a bit more mindful of every product we buy and our potential impact, we can make a big impact as a collective.
It just takes some good product swaps, and small changes in habit.
Start with one or two things, then move on to other parts of the list and slowly shift your habits to more sustainable ones.
Buy eco friendly products... when you're in the market for it.
Keep in mind, when you buy products that are more eco friendly, we are using our buying power to tell companies that we want more eco friendly, and less wasteful products.
So if you're at the store and you have a choice between recycled toilet paper or non recycled, choose the recycled because businesses will follow demand trends.
If consumers are buying more eco-conscious, they will start to make more products that are eco-friendly.
However, sustainable living isn't a trend, it's a lifestyle.
So don't think this is a call to purchase every item on this list.
In facts, that's less sustainable because of the packaging, fuel, and other resources it costs to bring you these products.
But if you're in the market for some of these products already, then definitely opt for the eco friendly alternative.
Shopping Sustainably on Amazon
Shopping online uses a lot of resources from excess packaging to the emissions caused from transporting the items to you.
When it comes to shopping sustainably on Amazon, here's a few tips on reducing the carbon footprint.
Climate Pledge Friendly Products
Amazon has created a badge to easily identify products and brands that are committed to meet certain sustainability standards that Amazon has put in place.
You can identify those products with this badge.
Choose frustration-free packaging.
This is offered on select items and uses only the product packaging without an extra layer of packaging, which will show what's inside.
You have the option to hide it by choosing Amazon packaging, however, if you don't mind and you're looking to save some packaging then opt to go without the Amazon packaging.
It might look something like this when you're shopping.
Shop second hand on amazon
When you buy second hand, you're reducing waste by saving the resources it takes to create a new product.
You also might be saving the item from going to a landfill, and you save some money! That's a win-win!
Look for the "buy used" option when you add it to your cart. It might look something like this when you're shopping.
Now that we've covered that, lets get into the sustainable living tips!
P.S. For a quick list of all items listed here, shop my Sustainable Amazon Products List.
In the store
1. Buy products that are package-free or packaged in paper, cardboard, or recycled materials.
2. Bring reusable produce bags like these mesh produce bags or these cotton mesh bags (shown below) instead of the plastic ones at the store.
3. Fill up from the bulk aisle - Whole Foods & Sprouts has great bulk food options from coffee & tea to nuts, rice, oats, and even candy.
Just bring your own bags or jars and pay only for the product, not the packaging!
4. Shop from zero waste stores.
In Las Vegas, I really like Minimal Market LV - they have a really great selection of zero-waste products that you can get delivered. They also have pop up shops to refill your laundry soap.
Do a quick search to see if there's something like that near you.
5. Bring your own coffee mug and drink cups! These ones are so adorable and functional, you'll be DYING to bring these everywhere you go.
6. Carry this bamboo travel cutlery set.
This comes with 4 cutlery sets and includes everything you need including straws and straw cleaners. This is perfect if you'd like to carry a set for your family or if you'd just like to exchange one out every time you use one, and you don't have to worry about washing and drying it right away, just pick up a clean set and go!
This is a great way to cut down on plastic utensils when eating out. Plus the fabric carrying cases are super cute!
7. If possible, choose to dine in or drink your coffee inside instead of taking it to go. Dining in means less plastic containers, cups, and straws.
In the kitchen
8. For dishes, I personally love this natural loofah dish sponge. They're great for cleaning dishes and even household cleaning.
I've bought these so many times now and I will continue to use them. When you're done with a sponge, toss them in the compost!
9. For tougher scrubbing on skillets and pans, I use these bamboo dish brushes and they work amazing!
10. Try out a solid dishwashing soap like this Vegan Dish Wash Block.
It's zero waste and free of fragrance and dyes so you can feel better knowing your dishes are getting clean without any harmful additives.
11. Swap out plastic wrap and use beeswax food wrap instead.
They are washable and reusable so you can use again and again. And they're made with sustainably harvested beeswax.
12. Use silicone reusable ziplock bags instead of the plastic one time use.
13. Use loose leaf tea with tea infusers instead of individually wrapped tea bag.
Did you know that most tea bags contain up to 25% plastic? Studies have shown that plastic tea bags releases micro plastics that get consumed by the drinker. They also cannot completely decompose. It's an overall better decision to switch to loose leaf teas.
14. Clean up spills with cloth rags, cut up old T-shirts, or these reusable paper towels instead of grabbing a new paper towel each time you wipe your counters.
15. Use silicone baking mats instead of foil, wax, or parchment paper.
I've had these exact ones for years now and they will likely last for years to come!
In the bathroom
16. Use shampoo/conditioner/soap/lotion bars instead of liquid ones in plastic containers
I recommend Moon Valley Organics Herbal Shampoo because of their super natural ingredients and they support pollinator habitats (save the bees!)
I also highly recommend the HiBar line. I've tried their conditioner and so far it's been working great for me! They also have very natural ingredients & safe for color treated hair.
17. Switch to bamboo toothbrushes.
Did you know 1 billion toothbrushes are thrown out every year? Bamboo toothbrush handles are compostable and these ones from Me.Motherearth come in recyclable cardboard packaging.
18. Use reusable cotton pads to wipe off your makeup. They're washable, all natural, and made of bamboo.
19. Buy toilet paper made from recycled materials, or try a bamboo toilet paper.
Reminder that the recycling process has no use if we don't actually buy products made from recycled material!
Bamboo is an alternative to paper made from trees because they grow quicker and more abundantly.
20. Attach a bidet to your toilet.
They're actually pretty easy to install, and quite affordable nowadays. Once you make this investment, you will never go back to using just regular old toilet paper! Not only does it clean better, it actually saves water when compared to the water-intensive process of making toilet paper!
And for a bonus, you end up using less toilet paper than before.
And if you're up for it, you can pat dry with wash cloths, or these toilet UNpaper rolls!
21. Ladies, try a menstrual cup!
They are silicon cups that you can wash and sanitize and use over and over. It's a well known fact that tampons contain toxic chemicals, so this is better for you and the planet... and more cost effective!
"Globally, 80% of discarded textiles are doomed for the landfill or incineration. Only 20% are actually reused or recycled." - Remake world
22. Shop second hand
it's easier and better than ever to shop second hand. Check out my guide below on thrift stores
23. If possible, shop local and in person instead of online
Shipping requires extra unnecessary packaging, so if you can, go to the store to pick up your clothing!
24. Donate gently used clothes to Savers & Goodwill to give them another life!
25. Textile Recyling
For clothes that are torn, or otherwise unfit for donating, there's plenty of textile recycling options. Some stores like H&M will allow you to bring in a bag of clothes and will give you a 15% off coupon in exchange.
Other stores have started accepting online donations such as Knickey, who will take your old socks and undies and turn them into new ones!
26. Get crafty and upcycle your old clothes by giving them a makeover.
Tie-dye, bleach, and chop your t-shirts to turn old into new!
27. Repurpose old clothes by cut up old clothes, undies, towels, and using as cleaning rags.
Check out this article on 11 things to do with old underwear instead of throwing them away. This is great inspiration on how to repurpose something like old underwear!
My go-to thrift stores
Buffalo Exchange - They have a nice mix of unique, vintage, and current trendy items. I love to bring in a bag of clothes to swap out and I usually end up with a free outfit!
Plato's Closet - They tend to stick to trendy clothes and pay cash for your clothes.
Savers & Goodwill - A great selection for second hand home decor, furniture, clothes, literally anything for a fraction of retail. You may not find something on every trip, but most of the time I find some real gems.
Even though you try your best, there's going to be times when you forget your reusable bags, order coffee on the go, or somehow acquire other plastic goods.
In those times, don't fret! I always try to reuse something a few times before putting it in the recycling or trash.
Common items you can reuse or repurpose
28. Reuse old plastic toothbrushes as scrubbers for cleaning shoes or other small items.
29. Reuse to-go containers as Tupperware at home.
30. Reuse the plastic coffee cup & straws for the next time you want to take your home made coffee to go!
Some places have adopted recycling everywhere and is even mandatory. But in some places, like my hometown Las Vegas, there's not always an option to recycle. Especially if you live in an apartment complex!
31. If you live in a complex where they don't do recycling pick up, ask a friend who is part of the local recycling program and see if they will take your recyclables for you.
I did this for years while living in an apartment. We would collect big bags of recyclables and then we'd go drop them off at my husband's mom's house, or if a friend came by that was part of the recycling program, we'd ask them to take a bag home. It's sometimes an inconvenience, but for our close friends and family, they were more than willing to help.
32. For electronics that no longer work, bring them into a Best Buy for recycling.
You can also do a quick search in your town to see where you can donate e-waste as they are hazardous in landfills.
33. Recycle your contacts & blister packs.
Did you know contacts & blister packs are not recyclable in the regular municipal recycling program? Bausch & Lomb now has a recycling program where you can ship them contact lenses and blister packs from any brands and they will be made into recycled products.
34. Buy recycled products
Again, in order for recycling programs to be effective, the recycled material have to be used for something else.
Buy recycled goods as much as possible to show these businesses that's what we want. That includes toilet paper, notebooks, paper towels, tissues, and anything else you can find made of recycled material.
Composting is the process of breaking down organic material and getting turned into dirt. It can either use worms to compost (vermicomposting) or without, and it will get broken down by microbes.
Many people think that if they don't live near a composting facility or they don't want to start their own, they just have to throw away their food scraps into the regular trash.
35. Start your own compost / Donate your compostable scraps to someone who will compost it for you.
I recently started my own compost with worms in a bin. Here's how I did it.
Worm compost is great if you have a garden or plants that you can use the castings (aka worm poop) because its really beneficial and works as a fertilizer.
There's lots of information out there on composting so you can decide if it's something that you want to do.
If not, no worries! You can still set aside your compostable material (food scraps such as banana peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, paper, cardboard) and donate it to someone who would love to compost that for you!
Composting for people who don't want to compost
Before I started my own compost, I used to take my food scraps to the local farmer's market where they had a compost and gladly accepted my organic material so they can have fresh fertilizer for their garden.
Here's how I did it, totally smell and mess free!
Get a food scrap bin. The one I have is no longer available but this one is close. It holds a lot so you don't have to empty it out so often. It's still small enough to fit in the fridge and you can even hang it while you're chopping your veggies.
Get some compostable bags to line the bin. This will make it easier to gather all the scraps and take them to your nearest farmer's market
Collect organic food scraps, such as apple cores, banana peels, potato skins, and any other waste from produce that you would normally throw away.
Keep the bin inside your fridge so it doesn't get smelly.
When the bag gets full, tie it up and store it in the freezer until it's time to take it to a farmer's market
In Las Vegas, there's also a residential compost pickup service from Viva La Compost. They will give you a 5 gallon bucket with a lid, and every two weeks they come and exchange it out for a clean bucket - they make it so easy! See if there's a service like this in your area.
Overall, there's a ton of things you can do to greatly reduce your contribution to
The next time you reach for something that's single use, ask yourself if there's an alternative that is more eco friendly.
It just takes a little bit of awareness on how and what you are consuming!
We can all make a difference. It starts with changing one habit at a time, and after a year, you'll look back and realize what a big difference you've made in your waste consumption!
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