People are becoming more aware of the need to protect the environment and want to know how to be more eco-friendly at home. If this is you, read on for great ideas to get started.
Below, I’ve listed 12 ideas you can use to start developing your eco-friendly lifestyle. Some are easier than others, but you don’t have to do them all at the same time.
It actually works better if you introduce them one at a time and avoid getting overwhelmed by trying to change too many things at the same time. Slow and steady is a better recipe for success.
First, I’ll give you a list of the steps if you just want straightforward ideas. Below that, I’ll elaborate on each point to provide more information for those who want it, and I’ll offer some personal notes that work for me.
12 Ways to Be More Eco-Friendly at Home
This is a basic list of 12 ideas to get you started with making changes in your household routines to leave a smaller footprint on the environment:
- Use up your plastic bag stash, then use reusable grocery and produce bags.
- Shop bulk stores and bins for pantry staples.
- Stock your home with reusable dishes, drink bottles, and cutlery.
- Stop using paper towels.
- Wear out your toothbrush, then replace it with a sustainable one.
- Start composting: either indoors, outdoors, both, or even start worm composting.
- Make your “to-go” coffee at home and use a reusable coffee mug.
- After you use them up, replace your disposable razors with a reusable product.
- Cut down on resource usages such as water and energy.
- Shop for secondhand items for your home.
- Reduce food waste with shopping and meals.
- Make your own personal and household products.
So these are some do-able ideas to get you off and running with your eco-friendly lifestyle around your home.
As I pointed out above, picking one or two to start with, and adding others as you move along, is the best way to get results that last. Think small steps for big wins.
Next, I’ll go through the ideas in more detail if you want more information on how you can implement each step.
1. Don’t Use Plastic Grocery or Produce Bags
The plastic problem is becoming more front and center each day. One way you can avoid adding to this dilemma is to use reusable grocery and produce bags.
It’s helpful that many grocery stores in Canada no longer supply single-use plastic grocery bags, but you will find plastic produce bags supplied in some stores.
It’s an easy fix; buy or make your own reusable bags and carry them whenever you go shopping. However, if you have a stash of plastic bags, use them up. Don’t just throw them away.
In the beginning, I found it difficult to remember to take the reusable bags along. To solve the problem, I place them near the front door as soon as I unpack the groceries, then I’ll see them when I’m leaving the house.
2. Shop Bulk Stores and Bins
If it’s possible where you live, don’t buy food staples in single-use plastic bags and packaging.
Instead, take your own containers and shop at bulk stores and bins. It will reduce the amount of plastic you throw away or recycle.
I like to shop at farmer’s markets and bring a reusable bag because I don’t have access to many bulk options.
3. Use Reusable Dishes, Drink Bottles, and Cutlery
In your home, make use of reusable dishes, drink bottles, and cutlery. There’s no need to use disposable items when you are at home.
It requires little effort to wash and clean these reusable items instead of throwing away disposal utensils and plastic bottles. This is a big saving on trash in landfills and cleaning the reusable items makes a great chore for kids to learn responsibility.
4. Stop Using Paper Towels
I have to confess, this has been a tough one for me. The convenience of using paper towels in the kitchen and around the home for jobs like cleaning is difficult to resist.
However, paper towels can really add up in the trash if you don’t pay attention to how often you use them, to say nothing of the expense.
Breaking the habit came down to a matter of making sure there was a handy substitute such as old rags or reusable clothes, and not bringing the paper towels into the house in the first place.
If they weren’t available to grab, then I found it easier to make do with something else for the job at hand.
However, what you need to weigh for your case is whether it creates more laundry. How does the trade-off balance out? And, if you have an eco-friendly laundry routine, then it’s probably not going to make a big difference.
5. Use a Sustainable Toothbrush
An eco-friendly idea for the bathroom is to wear out the toothbrush you currently use and replace it with a sustainable option.
Bamboo toothbrushes are becoming very popular and are usually biodegradable. Some eco-friendly toothbrushes also come with replaceable heads.
Bamboo is a sustainable material. Just choose a company that follows good manufacturing practices.
6. Start Composting
A very eco-friendly activity that cuts down on food waste is composting. And, if you have children, it’s an excellent family activity to teach them about caring for the planet.
You can compost pretty much anywhere. People do it in apartments, houses, on farms, and as part of a municipal program.
7. Take Coffee in a Reusable Mug
The long lineups at coffee shop drive-thrus are a common sight as people seek out their daily pick-me-up. But all of those single-use items are not doing the environment any favors.
If you enjoy your coffee in the morning, make your own at home and carry it in a reusable coffee mug. Some shops will also let you bring your own container.
8. Swap Disposable Razors for a Reusable Product
Reusable products are always going to be a better choice than anything disposable. You can take this approach with your razor.
Instead of using disposable razors, which are usually made of plastic, finish using up any that you have and replace them with a reusable razor.
It will cut down on bathroom trash and make your personal care routines much greener and sustainable.
9. Cut Down on Water and Energy Usage
Cutting down on water and energy usage around the home will help to preserve the earth’s resources.
Here are some ideas to get started:
- Collect and use rainwater for gardening and household chores.
- Turn off the lights when you leave the room.
- Run the washer and dryer for full loads instead of smaller ones.
- Use dryer balls to reduce dryer time.
- Dry clothes on a line, inside or outdoors.
- Make sure your home has energy-efficient features like good insulation and windows.
- Install energy-efficient appliances.
- If possible, use programmable thermostats.
- Use gray water for household chores like washing the car.
These are just some of the things you can consider to cut down on using water and energy during your daily routines.
10. Shop for Secondhand Items for Your Home
I am a great fan of this tip. I love to shop the thrift stores and secondhand shops. It’s always nice to give something a new life and stop it from going to the landfill.
And, these days, you can also do your thrift shopping online. There are plenty of companies and groups offering online shopping, with shipping or pickup.
I also like to shop for gently used items on social media and online marketplaces, making sure to follow safety practices, of course.
11. Reduce Food Waste with Shopping and Meals
As pointed out earlier, you can cut down on food waste by composting and shopping at bulk stores or bins. Plus, making a weekly plan will keep you focused.
But, you can also store leftovers in reusable containers, cook food in bulk and freeze it for meals, or grow your own food and store it.
There are many ways you can avoid food waste and the excessive eating of take-out and restaurant meals.
12. Make Your Personal and Household Products
Finally, it’s healthier for you and the environment if you make your own personal care and household products. You’ll avoid that long list of chemicals that comes with many commercial products.
Some ideas include:
However, don’t get stressed if this is something you just don’t have time for. You have to be realistic.
If you need to buy these types of products to save time, try to find eco-friendly products and be on the alert for companies that use greenwashing sales methods to fool you.
So there you have 12 tips to show you how to be more eco-friendly at home. You can apply these ideas in ways that best suit your particular home life. Start with a couple and build on your green routines over time.