Going green isn’t just a buzzword — it’s become a lifestyle that focuses on eco-friendly habits in all aspects of life. We only have one planet, and while it may not seem like one person can make a difference, every little action really does matter!
Think of it this way, if you choose to purchase from an eco-friendly brand, you’re essentially casting a vote for a more sustainable world. Or if you tell your friends and family about your new habit or your favorite eco product, they may be inspired to follow in your footsteps.
I love living an eco-friendly lifestyle because of how it makes me feel — physically, mentally, and spiritually. I take my social responsibility seriously, but I’ll admit it didn’t always come naturally to me, and I still have a long way to go. I had to work to break bad habits I’d learned over the years and replace them with patterns that are more environmentally friendly.
Start small with these 10 eco-friendly habits that can bring you closer to a sustainable lifestyle.
10 Eco-Friendly Habits to Live a More Sustainable Life
1. Reduce Your Meat Consumption
Meat production produces greenhouse gases and uses exorbitant amounts of land and water, so reducing your intake can lower your carbon footprint. You don’t have to go full vegan or vegetarian to do the environment a favor.
Simply cutting down on your meat consumption in favor of plant-based foods like lentils, legumes, and whole grains can make a sizable impact. One trick I use is to head straight to the produce aisle when I enter the grocery store, and think of all the great recipes I can make with what’s there first, before going anywhere else in the store.
2. Buy Local Products
Supporting local farmers and merchants offers several eco-friendly benefits. For starters, products that are produced locally can fulfill the same needs as those that are transported across the country or overseas. You’re also helping local companies sustain their business and supporting your local economy.
3. Wear Less (And/Or Better) Makeup
One of my favorite parts about living in Hawai’i is that I hardly need to wear any makeup. I know that many women love getting creative with their makeup routines each morning, but I’ve never enjoyed spending much time on doing my makeup unless it’s a special occasion. I just want to throw on some concealer and mascara and head out the door!
Makeup companies are among the biggest polluters in the world. Many of them engage in unethical practices, use toxic ingredients, and test products on animals. Also, the beauty industry at large is highly dependent on single-use plastics.
One of the best eco-friendly habits is wearing less makeup (or going completely barefaced). Or, if you like the way makeup makes you look and feel, you can opt for ethical, organic cosmetic brands like Axiology or Dab Herb.
4. Shop From Sustainable Clothing Brands
I’m always on the lookout for ethical, cruelty-free, plastic free, and vegan clothing brands that sell everything from sunglasses to swimwear to shoes. Shopping with sustainable clothing brands can help you break away from the harmful practices of fast fashion in favor of socially responsible companies.
Many clothing companies are dedicated to using high-quality natural materials like organic cotton, bamboo, linen, and other plastic-free fabrics.
In addition to buying from eco-friendly brands, there are other ways you can build a more sustainable wardrobe, like upcycling your old clothes, using an eco-friendly dry cleaning service, and adding vintage pieces to your closet.
5. Make Your Own Cleaners
Shopping your grocery store aisles for toxic cleaning products isn’t doing you, your family, or the environment any favors. You can make equally powerful natural cleaners at home that are non-toxic and less expensive than the chemicals you’ll find in-store.
My favorite duo is vinegar and baking soda. I’ll add a few drops of lemon juice for a light fragrance and extra cleaning power. It cuts through grease and buildup, and I don’t have to worry about making a negative impact on the environment.
6. Opt for Bulk Purchases
If you’re lucky enough to have a bulk item store near you, leverage it to its fullest potential. Buying bulk means making fewer trips to the store and can reduce your carbon footprint. Some stores allow you to bring your own containers to fill up on bulk legumes, beans, grains, and other foods to save on packaging and create zero-waste shopping.
7. Choose Alternative Transportation
When possible, choose to carpool, bike, or ride the bus instead of driving. It not only significantly reduces carbon emissions but can also create safer roadways by having fewer cars at any given time.
8. Reduce Consumption of Single-Use Items
Single-use items are almost impossible to avoid: every time you get a to-go drink at your local coffee shop, buy a snack from a vending machine, or purchase a bottle of shampoo or body wash, you’re contributing to the waste problem.
Many companies are rethinking their packaging and making it easier to develop eco-friendly habits without much effort. For example, beauty companies are designing shampoo bars that don’t require plastic packaging.
Eco-conscious consumers are shifting away from plastic wraps and bags in favor of reusable beeswax wraps. They’re trading one-use bottled water for reusable water bottles. They’re bringing their own grocery bags to the market instead of relying on plastic bags. Bamboo or metal straws can make single-use straws a thing of the past.
There are lots of small swaps you can do to reduce your use of single-use plastics. It starts with being mindful of the plastics you consume and how they may impact the environment over the short and long terms.
9. Air Dry Your Clothes
Home drying machines may be faster, but they’re also more wasteful than using natural sunlight. Install a clothesline in your backyard to hang your laundry to dry. It not only reduces your energy usage (and therefore your energy bill), but the sunlight can be super useful for killing bacteria on your clothes.
10. Compost Your Food Waste
We’re all guilty of food waste at some point, regardless of our best efforts to eat leftovers or use items before they expire. From an early age, I was told to clean my plate because there are children all over the world without food. Now that I’m older, I know that growing food is an expensive process and is taxing on the environment.
I’ve reduced my food purchasing to ensure I can eat all I take, but when I do have food scraps left over, I make sure to give them back to the planet. Composting bins make it easy to create fertile soil that will go back to the earth and help life to continue to thrive. It’s better than tossing them into the landfill and can be extremely useful in growing your food.
To do this, toss any non-meat scraps into a composting bin. I prefer the ones with a handle that I can turn. Food scraps are biodegradable and will enrich the soil with unused nutrients. If you don’t want to start your own garden, look into community composting programs in your area.