What does living sustainably mean to you? It can mean a little something different for every person and that’s OK. For some people it can mean protecting the environment and earth; for others, it can mean saving money and using what you have in a less wasteful way. I tend to fall more into the latter category but if what I do benefits the earth then that’s great too. So here are 6 easy ways to live more sustainably today.
Easy Ways to Live More Sustainably
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Knowing that I cut my trash down by half AND make my own nutritious dirt gives me a certain kind of happiness.
I already wrote a very detailed article on how to start composting for beginners for you to check out. And if you’re short on space many local areas collect other people’s compost for a community compost of sorts.
As I wrote previously, “The average US household produces 650 lbs of organic trash a year, but most of that is landfilled. In fact, almost 30 percent of our landfills are full of organic matter. You think it would break down since it’s dumped into a giant hole in the ground, but it doesn’t because landfills aren’t aerated.
“I love composting because I can take a third of what I’d throw into the trash and use it to make nutrient-dense soil for my garden, pots, and indoor plants. This means, less garbage to haul to the curb and less garbage in the landfill. It also means my plants will be getting nutritious ‘food’ to help them flourish.”
2. Re-use old Amazon boxes or brown packing to wrap gifts.
3. Use green cleaning cloths
I’m not going to lie. I love paper towels and go through quite a number of them each year. (But many of the used ones I throw in my compost along with the empty roll!)
However, I just got these cleaning clothes that don’t require any cleaner either and I’m going to see if they help me cut down on my paper towel usage. They clean with the power of masses of precision-engineered microfibers, plus water’s molecular might. No need to add additional cleaners — or worry about residues that could harm people and pets.
4. Make your own cleaners.
If you still want to use cleaners, make your own! Here is my favorite DIY multipurpose spray cleaner that cuts through grease and is so easy to make.
Not only does this magic concoction cut through grease, grime, and dirt, but it is relatively inexpensive. I can also whip it up in about 10 seconds. Take that Amazon two-day delivery! (I still love you, though.)
5. Shop at thrift stores.
When I was younger I remember being mortally embarrassed to step into a thrift store. But now I love them! I’m still picky about what I buy (capsule wardrobe girl here – haha) but I always check a thrift store before buying new.
This past week I found two beautiful maxi dresses at the thrift store for $10 and $16 each. Not only that, but both of the dresses still had tags from the original stores on them. I love all thrift stores but tend to find that places like the Salvation Army and Goodwill are cheaper, but you have to do more digging, while stores like Clothes Mentor are more expensive, but often more unique, quality pieces.
Lately, I’ve also seen more people selling used clothes on Facebook marketplace.
6. Invest in higher quality pieces instead of fast fashion.
What’s fast fashion? Clothes that are cheaply made, won’t last, go out of style quickly, and are probably made in a sweatshop.
If you need to buy new, look for clothes that are sustainably made, of good quality, classic design, and you will wear them over and over. (Yes, chances are they will be more pricey but how long does your H & M shirt really last?)
A lot of fast fashion ends up in thrift stores because it stretches or rips easily so while buying second-hand is always a good idea try to look for quality pieces even at thrift stores.
7. Sell or give away clothes you no longer want or can wear first. Then donate.
Giving to someone directly cuts down on storage, transpiration, and the likelihood that they could be thrown in the dump. Yes, it is better to give someone that shirt you no longer want directly than donate it to your local thrift store. That’s because a lot of used clothes end up in the trash, or sit in warehouses for months.
Second, it is often better to sell your old clothes than donate them too. Again, they go directly to someone who wants them, plus you can make a little money back in the process. If you need some inspiration, here’s an article on, “Are you holding onto stuff others could use?” which, even though I wrote it, convicts me every time I read it. haha!
8. Use glass instead of plastic containers to store your food.
According to, Elana’s Pantry, here are a few reasons glass is way, way better than plastic:
“Glass is Healthier than Plastic
I avoid plastic as much as possible for a number of reasons. First, plastic is made of petrochemicals that are full of toxic endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC’s) known as xeno-estrogens. These chemicals can leach into your food and then your body.
Glass is Cheaper
Plastic containers cost a pretty penny. Glass on the other hand is cheaper and a better investment. This sturdy material lasts much longer than plastic. If you don’t want to buy glass jars, you can collect them. It still blows my mind that every time we finish a jar of almond butter or coconut oil, a beautiful piece of glass remains. Save for a year and you’ll have an entire matching set!”
Also, glass can safely be washed in the dishwasher or at high temperatures while glass can leak those dangerous chemicals.
Glass is a super-easy way to live more sustainably.
9. Make your own clothes rags from old t-shirts.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But your crappy old t-shirts most likely will end up in a landfill and not your local thrift store. Use them up instead! I cut up my husband’s and toddler’s old t-shirts and store them in a bag to clean everything from the toilet to cat puke. And then, if they’re really gross I don’t feel bad throwing them out, but obviously, the more sustainable option is to wash and use them again. 😉
10. Start your own garden. (No matter how small.)
Yes, even apartment-dwellers can start a garden in pots! Here is a great post on container gardening to get you started.
But if you have room, you’ll find it’s immensely satisfying to grow and eat your own food. Immensely.
How do you live more sustainably?