Want to be more eco-friendly at home and live a sustainable lifestyle? Follow these 45 tips and be on your way to a green and environmentally friendly home and way of life.
Every day we steal from and exploit the earth at a dangerous rate. And even after countless years of polluting and wasting precious resources, we still have an incredible opportunity to lessen our impact and repair the damage.
To truly make a positive impact on our planet, we need to start at home.
Learning how to be eco-friendly at home is crucial because our everyday actions can make a difference.
And by making environmentally friendly choices in our homes, our impact becomes more substantial because daily habits are powerful.
Luckily, there are tons of things you can do immediately to be more sustainable and have an eco-friendly home. And you will find many of these options save you money and/or time.
Like any radical life change, the key is to start small and build momentum. Try a few eco swaps or sustainable home habits out and see what sticks before moving onto more complex or intricate steps.
Ready for the practical steps you can take to become more eco-friendly at home?
This list is not exhaustive, but an excellent start for starting your eco-friendly living journey right at home.
1. Reusable Bags
Reusable shopping bags are one of the simplest ways to be eco-friendly at home. Never forget your reusable bags again by stashing a few in the car and a few near the front door. Many people have too many reusable bags to count, so ask friends and family if you need a few extras. Reusable bags also make genius gift bags that won’t become trash.
Growing simple crops such as lettuce and greens take little space and save a lot of money. If you buy vegetables with roots still attached (green onions, lettuce, herbs) you can plant those right into the soil and they’ll keep growing. If you don’t have space for a garden at home, check your local government websites for community garden plot resources. Or better yet, ask a friend or family member with a garden to use a small piece of their land for your crops.
3. Only Buy What You Need
Don’t overbuy food or products because they’re on sale or might use them one day. Only buy items you have a concrete plan for and you will eliminate excess waste and save money.
4. Buy Second-Hand
The second-hand market is bursting with everything you need – clothes, electronics, toys, books, and so on. Before buying something new, check the second-hand market. It’s common to find higher quality second-hand items for cheaper prices than new lesser quality items. Up for a challenge? Go against the grain and give second-hand gifts for holidays and birthdays to offset gift waste and excessive spending.
5. Don’t Buy What You Can Borrow
Before you buy an item you might only use a few times, ask a friend or neighbor if they have one you can borrow. You will save money, space in your home, and build a stronger community. Check to see if your community has a lending library. Many larger populations have lending libraries for tools, gardening equipment, and other household items.
6. Donate or Sell Used Items
Contribute to the second-hand economy by donating items in excellent condition you don’t need but know others are searching for. Or list your items for sale to fund new items you want to buy.
7. Minimize Packaging
To drastically reduce waste and be more eco-friendly at home, choose products with less packaging. Or packaging that can be composted, recycled, upcycled, or reused. One way to avoid food packaging altogether is to buy food or products from bulk bins. Another way to avoid plastic packaging in the produce department is to not use the provided plastic bags. Instead, use your own cloth bags for items like apples and lemons, or place them bag free in your cart.
8. Avoid Disposables
Avoid buying disposable items and replace them with reusables instead (razors, cutlery, tissues, and so on). If you already have many disposable items in your home, use them up, or donate to a place you know they’ll get used before you replace them. Replacing items can be fun, but taking ownership and responsibility for items we already own is tougher.
9. Reusable Water Bottle
Ditch plastic water bottles and carry a reusable water bottle. Invest in a new quality water bottle that will last many years or find one second-hand. Whichever route you take you’ll find many options. If buying second-hand, the bottles will probably only cost a few dollars so you can buy a few for friends and family as holiday gifts.
Brainstorm ways to use products differently instead of throwing them away. Frame unique packaging, turn containers into toys for kids, and turn packaging into craft supplies.
11. Warm or Cold Water for Laundry
Opt for warm or cold water washes on your washing machine. You can lower your energy costs and prevent some fabrics from shrinking. Save hot washes for highly soiled items or clothing you want to sanitize like cloth diapers.
12. Cloth Diapers
Cloth diaper upkeep can be a lot of work, so do your research before taking this one on. There are many affordable and eco-friendly options worth looking at and if you care for them properly they will last for multiple children. The resale value of cloth diapers is high, so invest in quality and you should be able to make money back when it’s time to sell.
13. Insulate Your Home
Research how to properly insulate your home to preserve heat in the winter and cold air in the summer. Many people turn up their heat in the winter or air conditioner in the summer but fail to preserve the new temperatures. Keep doors and windows closed to keep heat or cold air in and insulate spaces like attics and windows to trap heat and cold air.
14. Turn Off Lights
Turning off lights when you leave a room is a simple way to combat wasting energy by reducing your carbon emission.
15. Donate Used Electronics
Many organizations will accept electronic donations, and some people will even pay money for nonworking electronics to use for parts. Before you throw an old computer or television away, check to see if someone in your community can use it. And find the best way of disposing of electronics people don’t want.
16. Green Appliances
If you are privileged enough to choose new appliances, go green. Green appliances usually use less water, energy, and sometimes even provide rebates and better results.
17. Dry Clothes Outside
Drying clothes outside isn’t sustainable all year round for many people, but being eco-friendly at home isn’t all or nothing. Retiring your dryer for part of the year is better than not at all. The sun also acts as a fantastic stain reducer and deodorizer.
18. Wool Dryer Balls
Wool dryer balls are a direct replacement for dryer sheets, and they help the clothes dry faster and more efficiently. You can even add a few drops of essential oil to the balls every few weeks for a light scent.
19. Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
Compared to incandescent light bulbs, energy-efficient light bulbs “typically use about 25%-80% less energy, saving you money and can last 3-25 times longer.” Check to see if your utility companies give rebates or discounts for switching to energy-efficient light bulbs.
20. Schedule Thermostat
If you have a digital thermostat, you may be able to create an automatic temperature schedule. Save money and energy by reducing the temperature overnight, or when you aren’t usually home.
21. Combine Car Trips
Make your car trips worth it by planning your car trips to minimize time on the road and save gas money. Better yet, carpool with family members or neighbors to keep two cars off the road.
The Buy Nothing Project is a genius organization maintained on Facebook that connects nearby neighbors with each other. Neighbors list items or services to others for free for nothing in exchange. Members of Buy Nothing groups can contribute as many gifts as they choose and can receive as many gifts as they desire. Search for your local group and start giving and receiving! This is one of my favorite tips because the group acts to responsibility get rid of unwanted items, provides neighbors with a way to receive free items from neighbors, and builds community all at the same time.
23. Pay Bills Online
If you still receive paper bills, immediately opt for the paperless option by calling the company or checking their website.
24. Cancel Junk Mail
Opt-out of junk mail for good.
25. Reuse Scrap Paper
Use scrap paper for as long as possible before recycling. Scrap paper is perfect for crafts and making grocery lists. Compost scrap paper if it doesn’t have glitter, tape, or other non-compostable items.
26. Join a CSA and/or Buy Local Food
One of the most impactful ways to be eco-friendly is to buy local food. The closer you can keep your money to your community, the better. Search for a vegetable CSA to join or buy meat directly from a local farm (that’s right, you can be eco-friendly and still eat meat).
27. DIY Cleaning Supplies
Ditch harsh and unnecessary chemicals and save money by making your own cleaning solutions. There isn’t much Castile soap and water can’t clean. Vinegar, essential oils, baking soda, and citrus are also the key ingredients for eco-friendly cleaning.
28. Lower Water Heater Temperature
“Although some manufacturers set water heater thermostats at 140ºF, most households usually only require them to be set at 120ºF.” Most water heaters have a simple dial you can turn back to save water and money immediately.
29. It’s it Yellow, Let It Mellow
Yes, this is what you think it is. The saying goes, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down.” I know, I know, it sounds a little gruesome, but if you’re serious about saving money and resources wherever you can, I suggest this technique. In my house, we flush the toilets in the morning and then a few times during the day, but definitely not every time. The only downsides I have experienced are occasional odor and the anxiety of thinking you forgot to flush when someone comes over. Also, it should go without saying but make sure to always flush when you’re out. Don’t be rude now.
30. Toilet Paper from Recycled Paper
Did you know “It takes about 384 trees to make the toilet paper that one man uses within his lifetime”? One way around this wasteful “necessity” is to use toilet paper made from recycled paper.
Want to eliminate your need for toilet paper completely? Then a bidet is for you. It’s the more hygienic, frugal, and less wasteful option. They’re extremely easy to install and can be used in houses and apartments.
Handkerchiefs used to be the norm before disposable tissues entered the market. Ask your grandparents if they have old handkerchiefs you can have. To make your own handkerchiefs, cut up old t-shirts and scrap fabrics. Or if you’re feeling fancy, whip out the sewing machine and make pretty ones with intricate stitching. Handkerchiefs make exceptional gifts too.
33. Collect Rainwater
If you have a garden, collecting rainwater could be a game-changer for you. Especially in places where it doesn’t rain during the summer. Check your local laws before setting up a system.
34. Menstrual Cup or Reusable Cloth Pads
35. Cloth Napkins
Kick paper towels to the curb and embrace cloth napkins and cleaning cloths. Cloth napkins are the frugal, less wasteful, and fancier option. Check second-hand shops and garage sales for great deals.
36. Borrow Books
Before you buy a book, look for it in your local library or ask family and friends if they already own it.
37. Buy Books and Donate
If you want to buy books to support the authors, donate them to your local library when you’re through. Or offer to friends and family to read and pass on when they’re done.
38. Save Water
Saving water is one of the most important steps you can take to have an eco-friendly home. Save the cold water from baths or showers as you wait for it to warm up, save water from cooking foods like hard-boiled eggs, and save water from sanitizing items. I like to put extra water in jars and store them around my kitchen and use them to water houseplants.
39. Unplug Electronics
Every plugged in item uses energy even if it’s not being used. The more items you have permanently plugged in, the more energy you’re inadvertently using. Pull the plug on countertop appliances like toasters and coffee makers when they’re not in use. Unplug even more electronics if you leave for a vacation.
40. Eat More Plants
Growing fruits and vegetables require fewer resources than meat, so it’s best to make produce the bulk of your diet if possible. Replace meat with beans, lentils, grains, and mushrooms.
41. Buy in Bulk
Many grocery stores have bulk areas where you can fill up your own container with foods. Use these as often as possible to avoid packaging altogether. Another good option is to buy larger bags or containers of items you consume regularly so you have 1 container or bag instead of many small ones.
42. Eat Leftovers
Don’t throw away leftover food! Eat what you have to save money, the environment, and live more sustainably. You’ll probably discover many dishes taste better the next day too.
Most household food waste is fruit and vegetable scraps, which is exactly what you need to make compost. Turn your food scraps into black gold and you’ll wish you had done it sooner. If you don’t want to commit to having your own compost pile, give your scraps to a friend who does or a local farm or community garden.
44. Reuse Glass Jars
Clean out glass jars and use them for everything from drinking glasses, food storage, craft storage, leftovers storage. You won’t be able to stop saving glass jars once you start.
45. Seek Ugly Produce
Most waste from grocery stores is fruits and vegetables so many stores have discounted “ugly” produce sections you can shop from. And many local farms will sell bruised or overripe produce at a discounted price, you just have to ask.
46. Take Shorter Showers
This one speaks for itself. You will save money, preserve water and energy by using less water.
Do you have additional tips to be eco-friendly at home? Share down below in the comments! And don’t forget to share this post on Pinterest.