I know sustainable living can be completely overwhelming. Do you ever feel like you’re not doing enough? Or are you on the other side of the spectrum and think “well I don’t use plastic grocery bags so I’m good”? As with most things in life I aim to fall somewhere in the middle. I know there is probably always something more I can do but I also realize that everything I am doing is making a difference.
I think it’s important to recognize that small steps can make a huge difference and that you don’t always have to do things perfectly. This is especially true when it comes to sustainability and living a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
This is a comprehensive list of ideas to help you make some changes! I don’t want you to look at this list and think you need to implement all of these TODAY. There might be some simple changes you can make today but keep this as a reference and focus on the areas of your life where changes are feasible and make sense. With that, here are 52 swaps to live more sustainably.
- Join a CSA – get produce delivered to your door from local farmers.
- Shop in-season – hit your nearby farmers market to support local farmers but also to buy food that’s in-season and hasn’t had to travel far, reducing your eco footprint.
- Buy organic when possible. Hint: at the very least, try to buy organic for anything on the Dirty Dozen list.
- Buy in bulk – try to buy nuts, grains and seeds in bulk. Bring your own jars or containers to fill rather than using the provided plastic packages.
- Reusable shopping bags + avoid plastic produce bags or clamshells.
- Be mindful of how much meat you’re eating – aim for Meatless Mondays to start and increase from there. Vegetarian meals are still delicious, promise!
- Grow your own herbs and/or vegetables. I have a garden for the first time this year and have been loving the experience!
- Reduce food waste – check out Imperfect Foods (use code HEALTHYMAVEN to save 50% off your first box) or try reusing your veggie scraps in soups or stocks.
- Compost – most cities have compost programs that pick up your bin like garbage and recycling does. If you have an outdoor space, you can also start your own compost pile or compost bin.
- Use beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap.
- Replace non-stick cookware with cast-iron or stainless steel.
- Ditch the single-serve coffee or espresso machines and use a french press or stove-top espresso-maker instead.
- Use reusable shopping bags – again, grab reusable bags when shopping or skip the bag if you aren’t purchasing much.
- Buy quality items – while they do tend to be more expensive they also last much longer than cheaper items.
- Buy second hand – check out thrift stores and online second hand stores (like Poshmark!) before going to traditional retailers.
- Repair items – how many times do you just throw something out when it’s broken? Try fixing it before tossing it.
- Gift experiences – everyone has enough “stuff” right?! Experiences are more fun anyway!
- If buying a gift- reuse wrapping paper or gift bags, use cloth wrapping paper or use newspaper you have lying around.
- Avoid fast fashion – avoid fast fashion and seek out sustainable clothing brands instead! Again, usually more expensive but also better quality and more timeless than the Forever 21 dress you’ll wear once.
- Get a library card instead of buying books or invest in a kindle.
- Cloth napkins – swap out paper towel and paper napkins for cloth napkins! An easy, cute switch.
- Unsubscribe from store catalogs and opt out of other forms of junk mail. You can easily add your name to the no junk mail list here.
- Reusable water bottles – stop buying single use water bottles and invest in a reusable water bottle you love.
- Rags instead of paper towels – Cut up old towels and t-shirts to use as rags around the house rather than reaching for a paper towel every time you need to clean up a mess.
- Use glass storage containers – for a zero-waste solution reuse mason jars or leftover pasta sauce jars.
- Use conscious cleaners- You can make your own cleaning products but I’ve been obsessed with Branch Basics lately. They send you the cleaning concentrate and glass containers and you mix your potions from there!
- Wool dryer balls – did you know that dryer sheets are sneaky toxic? Swap them out for wool dryer balls!
- Recycle – yep, this one is easy peasy. Set out a recycling bin so it’s top of mind!
- Dusting pad and reusable mop pad (instead of a Swiffer)
- Add plants to your house to help purify your air.
- Use energy efficient lightbulbs – next time a bulb burns out, purchase CFL and LED energy efficient ones instead.
- Diffuse essential oils instead of using Febreeze or other air fresheners.
- Swap out toxic candles for soy or beeswax candles.
- Be mindful of your water use – take quick showers, turn off the water while brushing your teeth and doing the dishes.
- Let clothing air dry outside or on a drying rack instead of using the dryer.
- Purchase eco-friendly furniture that is manufactured without using formaldehyde or other chemicals.
- Choose energy-efficient appliances when it’s time to upgrade.
- Use power strips and turn them off when you’re not using appliances.
- File your taxes electronically.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room
- Open windows on a cooler day instead of turning on the air.
- Open blinds on a nice day instead of turning on the heat (and vice versa if it’s a hot day).
- Switch to an energy efficient vehicle (if you can) or try walking or biking instead.
Sustainable Self Care & Beauty
- Use a menstrual cup instead of tampons.
- Switch to natural deodorant – I’ve tested natural deodorants for over a year and rounded up my favorites here!
- Skincare doesn’t have to be complicated – use ingredients found in your kitchen or simple natural products.
- Slowly start to transition your makeup to cleaner, more environmentally-friendly products.
- Use a reusable razor – there are some companies that have recyclable razors or razors that you can sharpen instead of single use!
- DIY self-care products – need a little lovin’? Try these simple DIYs for an at-home spa experience.
- Switch your body wash to bar soap for a no-waste solution.
- Ditch the plastic toothbrush and use bamboo instead.
- Switch to reusable cotton pads instead of disposable ones