100+ Simple Tips To Live a More Sustainable Lifestyle

75 Comments

  1. Hey there,

    as much as I enjoyed reading through your list I need to point out a few things that are misleading if not completely wrong. Best example keeping your pets (Carnivores) on a vegan diet is contra-productive if not dangerous. Yes, cats cant go on a vegan/vegetarian diet at all and dogs shouldn’t either without supervision from a veterinary-trained nutritionist.

    Some tips from your list can easily implemented like avoid using singe plastic (cutlery, napkins e.g.) but others can’t unfortunately.
    As much as I would love to see myself avoiding plastic bottles for water – I simply can’t due to water quality in my region. Biking/commuting to work can also be a challenge if you are living in rural areas (like in the middle of nowhere) where it is a must to have a car.

    I still appreciate a lot of the suggestions you made and hope it will help others adjust their lifestyle to a more conscience one. Everybody needs to pinch in if we want to keep our planet alive!

    1. Hi, Christine thanks for your input here.
      There’s lots of evidence both ways regarding a plant-based diet for pets so I wouldn’t say this topic is black or white.
      We also recognise that there are limitations based on where you are in the world, so thanks for sharing a different perspective.
      You’re right. It’s a collective effort!

  2. Many great ideas! The one about not having your own kids shocked me though. My husband and I were facing infertility for many years so I learned about adopting. First and most important: There is no universal right or wrong when it comes to such a personal decision. Everyone has to decide for themselves if they are willing to give up having kids because of whatever reason (kids are the biggest CO2 factor, there are many kids that need to find a home, …) Nevertheless, I found on my way many good sources suggesting that adopting is actually not a good approach since you help one child instead of being part of finding a solution for a much bigger problem. It’s the old give a fish or teach someone how to fish story. Nevertheless, I would not agree with having kids or not should be a decision of sustainability. If having your own children fills you with joy and love which you give to your kids, which the kids then bring into the world – then hell go for it!

    1. Hi Caitlyn, we can understand your position of combining having kids with sustainability concerns. It’s an intricate subject with lots of considerations. So we appreciate your perspective as I’m sure it will be valuable to others who are in a similar situation. Thanks!

  3. Great tips! I’m sad that the grocery stores in my area won’t let us bring our own bags any longer. Even the local co-op stopped using the bulk bins – everything is individually packaged in plastic bags. Thrift stores are all closed, and I miss them. Do you believe that working from home is good for the environment? I’ve had to buy less beauty products and work clothes since the lockdown, and I love it.

    1. Hi Sally, sorry we’re just catching up on comments. What!!? That’s quite unbelievable that stores in your area won’t let you bring your own bags.

      Regarding working from home, I’m not sure yet. I agree that people aren’t consuming or commuting as much. But the internet and logistic companies are seeing unprecedented growth which means negative impacts in freight and data centres. But hey, like you, we love the convenience of working from home!

  4. I love this article! I’m using self isolation during the COVID-19 Pandemic as a way to create a more sustainable lifestyle. Working from home has changed my life for the better. I got some good idea from this that I will try to implement.
    One thing that I’ve been working hard on lately is using the A/C or heater as little as possible. I do a better job in the winters than in the summers (I live in the American south). One of my favorite methods is putting a fan in a window at night and letting the cool air flow in. Far more efficient than an air conditioning unit. I’ve also been trying to use lights as little as possible. Natural daylight is more pleasant anyways. I also hope to be less consumeristic. I am not discarding anything I own, but I am trying not to accumulate unnecessary things.

    My goals for the coming week are to focus on 6, 8, 9, 10, and 73. I’ve always meant to air dry clothes but haven’t done it. This article was a good reminder. I’ve never thought of timing my showers, but it makes sense. The water table of my state is abundant but I still don’t want to use any more than I need. For 9, I love the idea of starting a vegetable garden. I have a few seed packets so I think I’ll go ahead and start it tomorrow. And 10 is something that I know I should do but often forget. I’ll make an effort this week to make it part of my bedtime routine.

    This pandemic is tragic, but being able to live a more sustainable lifestyle is beyond a doubt the silver lining of it. Stay healthy and I wish you all well in your self isolation

    1. Hi Aaron, I’m so glad you found this post useful. It’s inspiring to see you turn this situation into an opportunity to practice sustainable living. You’re living with incredible intentionality, and your approach is a good reminder as to how we can all be more tactical with how we live during these times. Thanks!

  5. The general idea is to live with very very, little plastic, sharing everything including the car, and generally expecting much less. We are still so much more fortunate than our forebears of the ‘40s, because we have televisions to broaden our horizons and computers to read and research and email our friends . It is enough! We must expect to accept our lives, within reason, including its sadnesses, and to help others. I think we have a right to be loved, but not much else!

  6. Hello Michael! Thanks for the great list. I personally believe that people themselves can discover new ways to live sustainably if they putting the environment over ego and people over products. We all need to adopt this Buddhist philosophy in life and everything will fall in place.

  7. Hey thanks for the list
    I’d like to point out that a lot of this assumes that one has access to money/or they live in a rich western country where resources like recycling exist.
    There is also no information about systemic change like policy and financing, the oil and gas sector, mining, cement making, or even banking and MOST IMPORTANTLY, PENSION PLANS invested in arms and oil.
    Placing all the responsibility on individuals to be sustainability saints distracts us from the large issues.
    If every human lived a pristine life, but status quo industrial growth society continued at full steam ahead, it wouldn’t make a difference. None of what’s on this list means anything until industry gets checked

    1. Hi Zafira, thank you for reading my post and taking the time to provide constructive feedback.
      The point of this post was to highlight controllable things individuals can do to live more sustainably. I understand that these tips are not universally relevant or applicable, but I don’t believe any article is.
      Addressing issues of systemic change for a more sustainable future is a vast topic that would need many articles to cover over time. You make some valid points regarding policy, and no doubt, that’s where most of the progress will be made.
      Both individual and systemic change is needed and urgently. But the topic of this post is about individual actions.

  8. -I place a bucket in my shower to collect water for my cats and plants while it warms up.
    -Blackout curtains are a GODSEND. Keeps the outside temperature from affecting the inside and are wonderful if you work night shifts.
    -Street trash is a wonderful thing. I just picked up a mirror, a small breakfast table, and storage bins off the street in Brooklyn (sanitized of course)
    -Macadamia nut milk is far better than almond and has a smaller impact on bees. It’s not overpowering and is a great substitute in almost any recipe.
    -Agave is actually not a sustainable option since the plants take years to mature. Consider locally sourced honey as a sweetener or cutting out added sweeteners all together.
    -Make your own bread. It’s easy, leaves your house smelling amazing, and is a great way to start off a Saturday morning.
    -Make your own mayo! It’s FAR cheaper than buying it and is ridiculously easy. (Canola oil, mustard powder, salt, lemon juice, and egg)
    -On the topic of making things yourself, there are lots of things you can make yourself that are cheaper and reduce packaging: pasta, dry shampoo, dyes, detergent, multipurpose cleaners, and so much more.
    -If you don’t really want to go full vegan, challenge yourself to eating one meal a day that is vegan.
    -Donate your cans to a recycling plant for a modest rebate.
    -Meal prepping can greatly reduce food waste
    -Biggest thing for me is just taking a moment to think about the impact of the things I buy and use. Can I repurpose or recycle the container? Is this biodegradable? Is there a package-free option? And if you’re a little more experienced and want to take it to the next level, consider the humanitarian impact of what you buy. The shrimping industry largely depends on slave labor, a lot of fast fashion depends on severely underpaid foreign labor in poor working conditions, some fruits and berries are harvested by underpaid migrant workers, and SO much more. There are a lot of ways to make an impact. It all starts with being a little thoughtful.

    1. Hi Amanda, thank you for sharing your wonderful and practical tipis to live more sustainably. There are some things that you do that I would never have thought of, e.g. using the shower water while it warms up. Very creative!

  9. I would like to add that the investment of organic and local produce is an important factor as well. What you choose to consume, how it is grown, and where it comes from plays a key role in making your life more sustainable. 🙂 Great post, you guys! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Also, buy a fountain pen if you like to write. That way you can fill it up again at your leisure and you won’t have to throw away any pens.

  11. 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

  12. 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…

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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

  16. 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!

    1. Hi Karen, I love the questions you’ve asked! I don’t have an answer right now, but I’ve noted it down for when we next update this post. We have quite a few things to add. Thanks for taking the time to write in and for thinking about others as well 🙂

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

    1. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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/

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

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

    1. 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.

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

  24. 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.

    1. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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)

  27. 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?

    1. 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 🙂

  28. 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.

  29. 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!

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