Easy Sustainable Living Ideas – Pick 1 or 2 and Start Living Green

Easy Sustainable Living Ideas - Pick 1 or 2 and Start Living Green

In How do we Personally Try to have a Sustainable Lifestyle? I listed the 45 sustainable living ideas we practice at the moment. Some still take effort, the rest we have been doing for so long it has become second nature.

Here I am listing other ideas to go even more green. In reality, this article is mainly written for ourselves as a reminder and inspiration – sorry reader – although I do hope I am able to inspire you as well. 🙂

Apart from the ideas I have myself, I have browsed the internet and listened to the tips friends gave. A great source was this article: 100+ Simple Tips To Live A More Sustainable Lifestyle.

Please, no going back to the old normal

Don't go back to the old normal

After a year of pandemic, everybody is yearning for the virus to be gone, we included. We would love to see our grandchildren again in real life. They don’t have a lot of patience for Skype, I can understand that.

Our son took the lockdown as an opportunity to reduce their use of plastics. Great, isn’t it? They set a yearly goal to reduce it by 70%, meaning they would work toward having only 1 bag of plastic waste a week, instead of 7 (which isn’t 70% of course, it’s more but I didn’t tell him. Naughty me, haha!).

Within a month they reached their goal! Once someone is determined, it can go quickly. The biggest gain was not buying 1,5-liter bottles of water anymore. They have a Brita-filter now as we do.

I so much wish more people would take the opportunity to make some changes in their (sustainable or not so sustainable) life. No going back to the old normal, but creating a new normal with more emphasis on the personal immune system and taking good care of the earth.

Refuse – Reduce – Reuse – Recycle – Rot

Reuse of textile

The motto of the Zero Waste Movement is using the 5 R’s of Bea Johnson: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot. Some make it even 7, adding Rethink and Repurpose. The idea is clear, I presume.

Refuse what you don’t need or what will become waste. For me, it’s easier to refuse plastic bags or other single-use plastic than a gift at the counter when the shop is pleased with you for being a good client.

Reduce your belongings. We all have too much stuff. Some things have been gathering dust and doing nothing in the garage or attic for ages. It’s better to give them away to a second-hand or charity store.

Reuse unnecessary goods. For instance, use the glass jars, which contained conservated vegetables, to preserve nuts and seeds.

Recycle. The best way to recycle is to avoid it, but if you do have plastic, paper, or glass bottles, bring them to the recycle station.

Rot or compost the organic waste.

Related: How to Start Organic Composting at Home Immediately

Shopping ecologically

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  1. Prefer the stairs over the elevator (I completely forgot about this, we do this for as long as I can remember so it should have been in the other article);
  2. Don’t park the car right in front of the shop. Apart from doing the exercise of walking, you’ll probably have more space and can put the groceries in the car without bothering anyone;
  3. Have a carpool with the neighbors;
  4. Support cooperative farming, be a member;
  5. Ask for digital invoices and receipts;
  6. Choose ecologically minded shops, not just for the groceries;
  7. If there is no choice but to buy something in plastic, choose the largest package.

Responsible water consumption

  1. Reduce the use of hot water;
  2. Strange as it may seem, a dishwasher is more sustainable than hand washing, provided it has an A+++ label;
  3. Close the tap while you brush your teeth.

Taking care of the soil

  1. Don’t use poison in the garden, instead consider company planting or natural ‘pesticides’, such as garlic, soap, and lime;
  2. Choose organic fertilizers;
  3. If you have to use poison for an insect plague, choose an ecological kind;
  4. Use old newspapers or toilet paper for the poo of pets instead of plastic bags.

Related: Organic Companion Planting for a Healthy Kitchen Garden

Work and hobbies

Work from home
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  1. You might not think about email as waste, but given the amount of storage that is needed for all our bits and bytes, it is a good idea to install a spam filter and an automatic program for emptying the spam bin quickly;
  2. Ecosia is a sustainable search engine. The company donates 80% of its profits to the protection of the rainforest;
  3. Write with a fountain pen instead of a ballpoint pen;
  4. Use email for invitations. Canva is a great platform to make them;
  5. Reuse paper wrappings and gift paper;
  6. Design cards from reused material;
  7. Make presents by hand. For example jewelry, small booklets with recipes or painted rocks;
  8. Write your notes on the computer or mobile;
  9. Turn off the computer instead of leaving it on standby;
  10. Make your own clothes by sewing, knitting, or crocheting;
  11. Repair your clothes. For instance by patchwork;
  12. Combine bits of damaged clothes into a new piece;
  13. Spend time outside as much as possible;
  14. Borrow books from the library.

Related: What is Canva used for and 5 more Important Questions

In the house

Open curtains and shutters during the day
  1. A No-Junk-Mail sign on the mailbox to avoid paper waste;
  2. Don’t keep your non-spam email too long either;
  3. Use LED lamps;
  4. A lamp with a lower Wattage is better than a dimmer. A dimmer does save some electricity, but not as much as you would expect;
  5. Use rechargeable batteries;
  6. Open curtains and shutters during the day to enjoy daylight as long as possible;
  7. Close them at night to keep the warmth inside;
  8. Use a thermostat;
  9. Double your layers of clothing when you are cold;
  10. Do not put appliances on standby, but switch them off completely;
  11. Buy energy-efficient appliances with label A+++;
  12. Limit the amount of water used to flush the toilet;
  13. Do not flush every time after urination, in order to save water;
  14. Have a water-saving button on the reservoir;
  15. Use greywater for flushing;
  16. Consider a composting toilet;
  17. Make your own cleaning products. You can go a long way with apple cider vinegar and baking soda;
  18. Isolate the house.

Food

  1. Make a sauce from overripe fruit and freeze it in an ice cube tray;
  2. Consider home canning;
  3. Join a community garden or a harvest yourself initiative;
  4. Refuse disposable plates and cutlery.

Personal care of the body

  1. Shower instead of taking a bath;
  2. Shower every other day;
  3. Time your showers in order to limit them;
  4. Put the temperature a couple of degrees lower or shower cold;
  5. Have a bucket or watering can next to the shower to collect the water while it’s heating;
  6. Take any excess medications to the pharmacy;
  7. Buy secondhand clothes;
  8. Let quality be more important than quantity;
  9. Reuse old or torn clothes as cleaning wipes;
  10. Make your own cosmetics from herbs and essential oils;
  11. Use coconut oil as skincare;
  12. Make your own toothpaste and soap;
  13. Use a shampoo bar instead of a plastic bottle;
  14. Make-up-free is beautiful.

Related:

Sustainable living ideas

This list is not complete. For example, I have written nothing about baby or children’s stuff. The reason being of course, that I wrote this list for myself and have less inspiration for areas I don’t experience myself at the moment.

Still, if you have any additional tips in whatever area, let us know in the comment box below. As one of our readers said: Let’s make the world greener.

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8 thoughts on “Easy Sustainable Living Ideas – Pick 1 or 2 and Start Living Green”

  1. A lot of inspiration in this article. You’re an example of sustainable life, congrats!

    You’re right about the “old normal” thing. Since the pandemic started, I realized that many people walk instead of driving cars, cooking healthy food more often, and living healthier in general. It’s probably because all of us have more time now, and I hope that some of those habits will remain the same once the pandemic finishes.

    For instance, I changed all the old bulbs in my house and bought the LED ones. It’s less electricity and more light. I read everything on my PC, so I don’t spend any papers. And the biggest thing that I’m trying to change is to buy less in shops. My girlfriend and I were always buying too much of everything. Since the pandemic started, we’re buying less, and the waste is reduced a lot.

    There are so many other things to change, and we’ll slowly doing that. One by one and habits will completely change.

    Reply
    • Marvelous to hear, Petar, congratulations. And you’re right, step by step does it. That way it stays fun and you’ll see results anyway.
      And thanks for the compliments. These tips, however, are the things I can do, not what I actually do at the moment. I have described my present actions in the other article I wrote about sustainable living.

      It’s so inspiring to have a list I can work on. That was the main reason for me to list it all. 🙂

      I hope so too, that we are not going back to the old normal. But we are the ones who can make sure of that. If everyone was like you – changing one step at a time – we would head in the right direction.

      Thanks and take care.

      Reply
  2. So many helpful ideas in this article!

    I am familiar with the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle phrase, but you introduced me to several other R’s – Refuse, Rot, Rethink and Repurpose. One of my goals for the summer is to start composting at home, so I’m excited to read your other article on that too.

    I do have kids and many of these suggestions are also relevant in that area. For example, there are many great resources (thrift stores, yard sales, mom-to-mom sales) for donating, selling or buying secondhand children’s toys and clothes.

    Thank you for all the inspiration on more sustainable living!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Leah. And great additions you gave for living more sustainably when having kids. 🙂

      I’ll pass these ideas on to my son. I was talking to him this week about the costs of toys and how to reduce them, so your remarks come in very handy!

      Composting is very easy once you get the hang of it. The thing you need to take care of – up front – is how to prevent the smell. If your pile is far enough from the house it’s of course a lesser problem, than when you compost inside the house or on the balcony. But I guess you can do well when you follow our guidelines in that article. 😉

      Thanks again and take care.

      Reply
  3. Wow these are great tips and a wonderful reminder to how we can contribute to sustainable lifestyles. It is really the simplest and easiest things that make the biggest difference! I love the 5 R’s : super easy to remember and you are right about everyone having so many things at home that they really don’t need. 3 times a year, I clean out my garage and either donate or recycle all the items I do not really need or use. Its funny how quickly we accumulate things!

    Also, showering wastes a lot of water and energy – Imagine the amount of water we use to wash our hair??! Yikes! This is why it is ideal to stretch out wash days to save our water use.

    Anyways, always learn so much from your articles- You have a great website and always awesome tips to living sustainabily.

    Thank you so much for this!

    Reply
    • Aw, Sasha, that is so nice to hear, thank you for the compliment!
      I agree, the shower wastes a lot of water, yet the bath wastes even more. Sometimes we can’t do otherwise than choose the best from 2 not so good things, don’t you think? But unless you have filthy work, it indeed is not necessary to shower each day. It’s crazy we wash off all the natural fats and then have to rub ourselves with all kinds of lotions after the shower to get it back on.

      Once we start rethinking what we do, it’s not that difficult to save energy and resources here and there. After all, it’s not about doing every item on the list, but taking a few actions that are manageable in our lives. If everyone would do that, we’ll go a long way 🙂

      Reply
  4. The recent lock-downs (due to the virus) are devastating in many ways. However, in some ways they have been beneficial as they have created a paradigm shift in the way many people are thinking about their lives and their place in the world.

    The reduced emphasis on rampant consumerism is definitely a bonus for nature! And your mantra for the 5 x R’s is exactly what was needed and is what I see happening more and more.

    It’s interesting that as we (considered ourselves) became more ‘intelligent’, we moved further away from nature and all she provides that have made life possible on earth for us as a species. We began to consider the natural world to be nothing more than a resource, free for the taking without regard to the complex interactions that are necessary for sustained life.

    Now, maybe, the tide has turned? Are we waking up to realize that we are just a small part of this vastly integrated environment? Are there enough ‘aware’ people yet to make a difference and positively change the way we interact with our mother earth?

    I hope so!
    Please, keep spreading the message, and I know, with time, we will wake up to the small part we place in helping to create and maintain this beautiful blue and green planet!

    All the best 🙂
    Andrew

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for the uplifting words, Andrew. Usually, I am very optimistic but at the moment I needed someone else to cheer me up! 🙂
      Your last remark reminded me of the monkey story: the monkeys on an island were eating sweet potatoes. One monkey dropped a potato in the river and discovered she could wash it that way. Very soon, the other monkeys followed that fine example. And when there were 100 monkeys on the island doing it that way, all of a sudden, monkeys on other islands – without having seen what the other monkeys did – were starting to wash their potatoes before eating them as well.

      I love that story. At times I say I want to be the 100th monkey but you can imagine if I say that in a company without the explanation, people are looking at me in a strange way! 😀

      It resembles the theory of the scientist Rupert Sheldrake, which is called morphogenetic fields. If you have never heard of it, than look it up on the internet. I am sure it would be to your liking as well.

      All the best to you too, Andrew.

      Reply

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