100+ Simple Tips To Live a More Sustainable Lifestyle

100+ Simple Tips To Live a More Sustainable Lifestyle

What does it mean to live a more sustainable lifestyle?

This is a question Maša, and I have been asking ourselves over the years. Since 2014, we’ve primarily focused on pairing down and giving up the consumption of animal products. We’re proud of these personal developments, but it’s just a few aspects of what it means to consume mindfully.

As described by Wikipedia, sustainable living describes a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earths natural resources, and one’s personal resources.

On the surface, it can be incredibly daunting to reduce your environmental footprint, especially when you see that others around you are not doing their part. But when you break it down into small steps, you realise you have more power than you thought.

To make sustainable living more accessible, we’ve created a list of over 100 tips to help you live greener and happier. We’ve broken down the actions into areas that represent our lives.

You may already be doing a few of these things, or perhaps all of it, which is fantastic! But hopefully, you’ll pick up some opportunities to do your part to help mother nature.

Note: this post was initially published on February 17, 2016, with 50 sustainable living tips. We’ve learned a lot since then and wanted to make this content relevant to today—thus the number of tips more than doubled in size.

Masa with orange

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Also, if you’re interested in podcasting, we recorded an episode breaking down some of these tips and how we’ve personally applied them to our lives.

Let’s get into the tips.

Sustainable living around the house

  1. Use LED lighting or CFL bulbs instead of incandescent lighting as it’s proven to last longer, which reduces the need to keep purchasing light bulbs.
  2. Put on an extra layer of clothing instead of turning on the heating. Seriously, doubling up on your socks does wonders!
  3. Open up your blinds and use as much natural light as possible before switching on your light bulbs. You all get to enjoy some more sunshine 🙂
  4. Turn off your lights when you leave a room.
  5. Put up a no junk mail sign on your letterbox to limit the amount of paper waste.
  6. Hang your wet clothes on a drying line or rack instead of using a powered dryer.
  7. Hand wash your clothes, particularly if you only have a few items to clean.
  8. Start timing your showers. Or better yet, invest in a shower timer.
  9. Grow your own herbs, fruit and vegetables even if it’s just a few pots around the house, it all helps!
  10. Turn off your devices at night, including your wifi box.
  11. Get a water-saving showerhead.
  12. Use organic fertilisers.
  13. Purchase recycled toilet paper with plastic-free packaging.
  14. On the topic of toilets, use scrap paper, newspaper, or toilet paper to collect pet poo.

100+ Simple Tips To Live a More Sustainable Lifestyle

Sustainable commuting

  1. Buy a second-hand bicycle and start using it to commute everywhere.
  2. Take the stairs over the elevator. This also doubles up as a leg workout.
  3. Use public transport. It’s also an excellent opportunity to catch up on reading and other things you couldn’t do if you were driving. Listening to our podcast is a great way to pass time 😉
  4. Organise carpools to work, sports, events and other activities. There are some services where you can find people to commute with for interstate travel.
  5. If available, use rent-a-bike services in your city.
  6. Ditch your car and embrace car-free living.
  7. But, if you’re in the market for a new car, invest in electric-powered vehicles.
  8. Reduce the amount of time you spend taking flights. Positive fact, some airlines are trying to implement zero-waste practices.

Sustainable grocery shopping

  1. Don’t use plastic bags at checkout. Instead, take your own bags for groceries.
  2. Buy your produce in bulk from your local farmer’s markets.
  3. Avoid buying plastic-wrapped products, opt for a paper bag instead.
  4. Stop buying bottled water! 
  5. Shop at bulk food stores for any goods. Better yet, take in your own jars.
  6. Take your own paper bags or a container when buying fresh bread from a bakery.
  7. Bring your own containers to the deli.
  8. If you drink beer, take a growler to your local brewery.

Sustainable fashion

  1. Buy second-hand clothes where possible.
  2. Become a minimalist and take the 333-time capsule challenge.
  3. Invest in better quality items that last longer. Slow fashion trumps fast fashion.
  4. Support fashion brands that are ethical and environmentally conscious.
  5. Learn how to find sustainable materials when shopping.
  6. Reduce how frequently you wash your clothes.
  7. Repurpose old clothes as rags or donate to a local mechanic if no longer wearable.
  8. Acquire basic sewing skills to patch holes and sew buttons back on. Or if you have a bigger job, take to an alterations shop. 
  9. Transform old clothes into new garments. For example, a dress you don’t wear can be turned into a top and skirt.
  10. Shop at sustainable clothing outlets that offer post-purchase repair services.

Open wardrobe rack

Go paperless

  1. Opt to receive digital letters and notices.
  2. Send electronic wedding invitations.
  3. Read this article on how to use an app to scan and organise all of your paperwork.
  4. Ask suppliers to email you a receipt instead of printing one out for you.
  5. Use your phone, tablet or computer for note-taking.

Sustainable office

  1. Collect scrap paper in a tray.
  2. Turn off your computer before leaving work.
  3. Get rid of your home printer. This will encourage you to seek a printer when you absolutely need it.
  4. Unplug workstation from ports overnight to reduce phantom power.
  5. If you need business cards, use an eco-friendly printer.
  6. Add small pot plants to your workspace.
  7. Always use double-sided printing where possible.

Sustainable baby items

  1. Switch to cloth diapers.
  2. Use stainless steel drink bottles (or at least plastic-free).
  3. Get a wooden baby teether.
  4. Use reusable nursing pads.
  5. Look for wooden baby rattles.
  6. Use eco-friendly (plastic-free) bibs.
  7. Source second-hand toys or join a toy library.
  8. If you are buying toys, find toys made from natural fibres.
  9. Use dummies/pacifiers made from natural rubber.
  10. Use coconut oil as a diaper balm.

Sustainable kitchen

  1. Juice the off-cuts of your vegetables and fruits.
  2. Repurpose glass jars.
  3. Use washable metal straws instead of disposable plastic straws.
  4. Limit the use of hot water when hand washing dishes.
  5. Use cloths instead of paper towels.
  6. Make your own coffee instead of buying takeaway.
  7. Ditch your bin liner or use newspaper instead.
  8. Start composting. Here’s a guide to help you get started.
  9. Use a dishwasher instead of handwashing.
  10. Try making homemade cleaners.
  11. Reduce your food waste by eating only what you need.
  12. Invest in a pressure cooker and reduce your cooking time and energy used by 70%!

Example of dry foods in reusable glass jars

Sustainable beauty

  1. Go makeup-free for one week each month.
  2. Limit the amount of water you use to brush your teeth.
  3. Make your own face cleanser and scrub.
  4. Use reusable cotton pads for removing your makeup.
  5. Don’t leave the water running when cleaning your face.
  6. Consider using shampoo bars to reduce packaging.
  7. Read labels for toxic and harmful chemicals.
  8. Share products with your family, e.g. deodorant, shampoo etc.
  9. Use multipurpose bathroom products.
  10. Buy bigger bottles less often, as opposed to smaller bottles more often. It also works out to be cheaper.
  11. Repurpose your empty bottles and jars. You could use them for travel, storing cotton buds, bobby pins and hair ties.
  12. Donate used and unwanted products to places like Project Beauty Share.
  13. Use reusable pads or menstrual cups.

Sustainable gifting

  1. Save gift bags and boxes for future use.
  2. Give people experiences instead of things.
  3. Create and send a thoughtful video.
  4. Make a hand-written note from recycled materials.
  5. Donate to a charity or cause instead of giving a gift.
  6. Make jewellery, hats, scarfs, from existing materials.
  7. Offer to babysit.
  8. Make a home-cooked meal or bake a cake.
  9. Many sustainable gifts also happen to be minimalist gifts. Check out our minimalist gift guide for more ideas.

Sustainable technology

  1. Use solar energy charges for your smartphones and tablets.
  2. Use rechargeable batteries where possible.
  3. Recycle your devices when ready to dispose of.
  4. Donate your old devices to schools and other institutions.
  5. Use e-waste recycling programs when disposing of your electronics.
  6. Switch to cloud computing and move away from physical hard drives and servers.
  7. Get your devices repaired instead of buying new ones.
  8. Switch to a sustainable search engine like Ecosia. They use some of their profits to plant trees, and they run on 100% renewable energy.
  9. If you do need to buy new appliances, look second hand first.
  10. But if you can’t find something second-hand, buy energy-efficient technology.

Sustainable lifestyle

  1. Spend more time outside.
  2. Eat more whole foods. Better yet, go vegan!
  3. Become a member of your local food co-op.
  4. Plant a tree with someone.
  5. Borrow books from the library instead of purchasing them directly.
  6. Read your favourite newspaper publications online instead of reading the paper versions.
  7. Create a video, a slideshow or a blog post of how you implemented these ideas and publish them publicly.
  8. Regularly prepare home-cooked meals and save on takeaway storage containers.
  9. Adopt pets instead of buying them from a breeder. There are so many orphaned pets out there who need a family. And the same can be said for children!
  10. Stop accepting disposable cutlery and napkins.
  11. Have a sniffle? Carry around your own handkerchief instead of using disposable tissues.
  12. Use stainless steel drink bottles.

Rabbit eating kale

Do you have any more simple sustainable living tips?

If you do, make sure to add your voice and experience in the comments below.

100+ Simple Tips To Live a More Sustainable Lifestyle

Other posts on sustainable living you might find interesting:

  1. Over 45 of The Best Ethical & Sustainable Clothing Brands in 2020
  2. The Life Cycle of a Product
  3. Mindful Consumption: A 6-Step Guide To Consuming Better
  4. Where Is Away? The Epidemic of Plastic
  5. 7 Sustainable Vegan Textiles You Should Know About

Interested in more articles?

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  • Dawn Roberts 22/01/2020 Reply

    I love your article…
    I try to use homemade cleaning substances such as vinegar & water in a spray bottle to clean glass. I brush floors sooner than hoover them. I manually mop floors rather than steam them. Do not use any kind of wipes household or cosmetic. Earlier to bed on cold nights with curtains closed. Sleep in soaks. Sunday meal, I make double, plate for Tuesday evening supper. Buy generic medication such as paracetamol rather than branded goods. Recycle my magazines by donating to gp surgery/dentist for waiting room areas. Don’t use cling film. Microwave to heat up rather than using cooker job/oven. Make sure I use the right size saucepans for the cooler burner. Switch heat off a few minutes earlier as the contents of a pan continues to cook afterwards. Use lids on your pans at all times and turn down the heat. Use oven heat to warm the room after baking (leave oven door ajar). Hand down clothes to family/friends. Cut/trim your own hair. Donate to a charity rather than buy & send Christmas cards. Use rolls of brown paper & string to wrap presents & draw nice designs on the paper to make it special. Re-use wrapping paper & ribbons. Convey broaches into necklaces. Re-bead several necklaces to make a new version. Have your own style, don’t follow fashion. Make up a plain outfit with a colourful scarf. Share plant cuttings with neighbours, family & friends. Bake cookies/cakes for gifts. Pick flowers from your garden to present posies to loved ones. Drink tap water not flavoured drinks. Make your own ice cubes. Make smoothies with old fruit. Wash zip-lock bags and re-use. Use greaseproof paper to wrap up your lunch. Pick sloes and make your own gin. Slice autumn apples & freeze them. Freeze sliced loaves, snap-off required slices as and when needed. Simmer chicken carcas to make healthy chicken broth for soup. Feed veg peelings to your chickens (not potato peelings though). Good luck good people ! DR

    • Hi Dawn, wow thank you for sharing all the things you do you live a more sustainable lifestyle. You’ve added a ton of value to this post! 🙂

  • Matt 20/01/2020 Reply

    One I like is to print multiple pages per page. An 8 page printout becomes 4 pages. And if you print on both sides of the paper 8 pages becomes 2. Doesn’t work for everything, but I do this for a lot of things…

  • Parker Skubik 16/01/2020 Reply

    Love these!
    If I could add some:
    – kitchen/bathroom sponges are made of microfiber which is terrible for the oceans and the environment in general. Buying sponges constructed of plant material is much better.
    – oiling your hair with helpful oils instead of conditioner (See: argon oil, almond oil)
    – you can save the plastic bags you do end up with and reuse them
    – cardboard you end up with from shipments and product packaging can be repurposed into your garden
    Lots more, but I loved your suggestions!

    I would though like to point out that a few of the suggestions you left aren’t particularly safe or good for you, for example:

    -Shampoo and soap bars dry out
    your skin, the majority of them use chemicals to make them into bar form that aren’t good for your skin.

    – Different parts of your body need different care, and multi use products are not nearly as healthy as specialty products. You don’t need to go fancy, but don’t use the same soap you use on your body for your hair. Your face and genitals need their own special soaps with a different chemical composition.

    – DIY skincare is a bad idea. Dermatologists, estheticians, skin care consultants, ect. warn against it strongly. The reason why is because the products that one uses in DIY are unstable and while on the first use they may be fine, by the time you get a few uses down the line, their chemical composition has changed and is no longer safe. Skincare and beauty products are made in labs where the raw products are manipulated chemical composition wise to become more stable, and preservatives are added. Preservatives are essential to any sort of skincare, and while they aren’t great for you, using a product without them is worse for you. There are also many things that are used in DIY skincare that aren’t safe for the use they’re put to. The vast majority of essential oils, for example, shouldn’t touch your facial skin. Citrus is very damaging. Scrubs like coffee scrubs make microtears in your skin that let in bacteria. Ect.. Its best to research and buy from brands that ethically source their ingredients and don’t formulate with things that are dangerous to you.

    – Unless you are a scientist who specializes in the field, you have no idea what species of mold has grown on the food you have, and are cutting off. Juicing these moldy bits is asking for trouble, as while many molds can be consumed by humans, others are extremely dangerous, and you can’t know which is there.

    • Hi Parker, thank you for your suggestions and feedback. It’s given us some food for thought!

  • Dominique Carrie 03/01/2020 Reply

    Love those tips, really helpful!
    I would add a whole section on finances (I’m often surprised people don’t think about this, they end up making a lot of changes in their lives but their money is being used to finance the oil industry…). You can change to an ethical bank (which typically also means more environmental friendly). I’m using Triodos Bank as I’m in the UK but there are various options depending on where you live. For people living in countries where you don’t have a state pension, you should try to find an ethical option (pension providers are increasingly offering this and there are more and more ethical funds options out there – do check what they actually do as some appear to be using this for PR more than anything else). Also switch to a green energy provider to start with (and then implement all the options you’ve listed).
    Great job!

    • Hi Dominique, what an excellent suggestion regarding finances and energy providers. I’ll be sure to include your tips in the next edit. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Confidential 15/12/2019 Reply

    The blowing your nose thing, blowing your nose into your hand then simply washing your hands under a tap. No more red sensitive nose, expansive tissues, better for the environment. <3

  • Karen 28/10/2019 Reply

    I love this! I’d like to see an added section for pets, though. I know I could switch to cloth/reusable bedding for small pets (guinea pigs, rabbits, etc.), but I’m interested to hear any other ideas. What do I do about litter boxes? Are there bulk pet food places? Are some toys more or less sustainable than others? I’d love any advice you have, and I’m sure others would feel the same. Thank you again!

  • Rose 03/10/2019 Reply

    Great article, thanks. Something great and easy to do is to move to a green/greener energy supplier.

    • Oh, yes, great suggestion! Thanks for sharing Rose. We’ll have to add your tip to the list 🙂

  • Teen 25/09/2019 Reply

    What’s the biggest thing we should change in the way we live to create a sustainable world ?

    • If I were to prioritise what’s on this list, I would say that eliminating single-use plastics and going vegan would have the most significant impact on sustainability. I recommend you watch a documentary called Cowspiracy if you haven’t already.

  • Rhea 25/08/2019 Reply

    Thanks for the amazing 100+ item list! I choose to use no straws now. I like practically all the ideas but would be careful about sharing razors because of blood borne pathogens. I also make my own deodorant and keep it in a reused blue glass jar.

    • Ah yes, excellent point with the straws! Thanks for sharing your experiences, Rhea. I’ve removed a shaver as an example to be on the safe side 🙂

  • Ana 24/06/2019 Reply

    All of this information really helps me!! Thanks, MAKES THE DIFFERENCE!!!!!!!!!

  • Thanks for sharing the tips and thoughts. I found from my own experience that my attempts to create a more sustainable lifestyle with drastic changes almost always failed because I couldn’t maintain them for the long haul. I recently started approaching this problem from a different direction – small incremental steps to a more sustainable lifestyle. https://www.greenalittle.com/

  • ruban 18/05/2019 Reply

    nice website – i am also a vegetarian! 🙂

  • alex 23/04/2019 Reply

    hey! great article, but i noticed there are some commas missing. ex: Seriously, doubling up on …

  • Esther P. 05/03/2019 Reply

    Shame the most useful tip is ranked in 56th position.
    Vegans claim not to like animal suffering or exploiting animals. Well then they shouldn’t have any children (suffering is built-in and collapse is in sight because we are already about 2.5 times too many for the carrying capacity of our territory…) and it is exploitative because having children with the aim of being looked after when one is old just is a form of exploitation. It is very likely that most youngsters won’t get old anyway so they won’t need looking after, and then there is always Dignitas which is preferable than the slow, undignified exit imposed in certain “civilised” /”developed” countries.

  • Paul 31/10/2018 Reply

    Hi! Loved the article and I try my best to accomplish as most things on the list as a first year can, but, I do have one constructive critic to add, I can’t go vegan, my system just doesn’t mix with it (had to get hospitalized when I attempted it), it would be really thoughtful of you guys to say “Or better yet, go vegan! If you can” for I know of a few others with my situation. Sorry if I’m wasting your time and this is all sounding silly, have a nice day!

    • Thank you for your kind words and suggestions Paul. It’s unfortunate to hear about your situation. Just to clarify, what do you eat if you can’t eat plants at all? Also reviewing the sentence, we feel that it’s positioned in an approachable inclusive way, as we lead with whole foods and the call to action to go vegan is an extension.

  • James Tanner 19/10/2018 Reply

    Brilliant simple article which anyone can follow, anyone in the world can choose whichever of your tips to use.

    • Thanks, James! That’s the idea. Keep it simple while knowing you are making a difference.

  • Marga Moore 07/10/2018 Reply

    Nice blog. I love reading and will do your suggestions. Thanks for sharing

  • Gill 03/10/2018 Reply

    Another tip for the list.
    When your dog or cat poops in litter tray or in the garden pick it up with garden trowel and flush down the loo. It saves using lots of plastic poo bags.

    • Gill this is a great tip! This is definitely one we follow with our dog. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Nicole 05/02/2019 Reply

      Please do NOT do this. It introduces parasites usually only found in dog and cat feces into our waterways and marine ecosystems. I’m also pretty sure it is illegal in a lot of places. An alternative would be compostable poo bags.

  • Vera 06/07/2018 Reply

    Great tips!
    Just one question: Is there a reason you didn’t mention airplanes/flying yet? Or did I miss it? Of course it is up to everyone to decide whether or not to fly, but by reading your tips I also hope people will reconsider if and how often they want to fly.

    • Hi Vera, excellent point! This post post is due for an update, so I’ll be sure to include your suggestion 🙂

      • Vera 13/07/2018 Reply

        Thank you! I’ll send your link to some friends who also want to use less waste.

  • April 20/03/2018 Reply

    This article was extremely helpful.

  • Hello Michael! I’m doing some research for school on sustainable living! Would it be okay to use some of your points in my papers? (of course I will cite) I’d also love to chat with you. Would it be possible to get your email?
    -MaKayla Dulaney (VCU Psychology & Sociology)

  • Karin Scherpenzeel 14/01/2018 Reply

    I like the article, but I was wondering what you give the dog to eat? Does he/she eats vegan as well? Is that possible for dogs and cats?

    • Hi Karin, we believe that dogs can be healthy vegans if fed the proper diet and monitored carefully. From the information that we have read and what others have explained, cats unfortunately cannot be vegan. We wouldn’t feed our pet what we wouldn’t eat. That’s just our opinion 🙂

  • Very Nice article. You have covered each aspect of life surrounding us to lead a healthy lifestyle. We have been treating our life for granted and making it full of burden without any reason. Above tips to including in our daily lifestyle helps to lead us a balanced life.

  • Jacob 07/06/2017 Reply

    Loved the article! Think people should be writing more content like this, i’ve new to blogging and have recently written an article on sustainable lifestyles, https://earthflo.com/sustainable-lifestyle/ would love it if you check it out, we talk about a lot of the same things 🙂

  • Abeeda 08/03/2017 Reply

    Beautiful! Loved it! Two thumbs up.

  • Cathie Barwick 21/02/2016 Reply

    Great article, but as an animal lover and vegan, I would never think of “breading” my pets (or breeding
    them either). I love them too much!

    • Hi Cathie, breading your pets would be interesting :p thanks for picking up our typo! All fixed now 🙂

  • Trinity Bourne 18/02/2016 Reply

    What an awesome subject, with fantastic tips. I love that you guys are writing about being resourceful.

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