Updated: Sep 12, 2019
10 simple ways to become a little more sustainable that still don't require you to change much
I wanted to make this a series of posts which explains the title. If you haven't yet read my beginner and intermediate tips, I recommend you check those out first unless you know you are ready for some more advanced tips that will probably actually require you to make some life changes.
These are the tips that those people who have all of their trash from five years in a mason jar probably follow but most of these tips I came up with myself.
Just as a forewarning, I do not follow all of these tips myself. Like I have mentioned time and time again, I am not in a place right now where I can dedicate my entire life to living more sustainably and I am sure each of you is not in that place as well. For example, we can't all have a garden if most of us are living in an apartment or renting.
My goal is to one day be very self sufficient. I would love to have some form of green energy powering my home. I would love to have acres of land dedicated to my own garden. I would love to make a lot of my own breads and other household staples. I would love to be able to make my own clothes, soap, cleaners, dyes, etc. Did you get the key word? One day. Not today, not tomorrow. All of that will take years to learn and adjust to as well as find a house that has more land that just a front yard with one tree.
I am sure a lot of you are in the same boat if you are reading this. Or, perhaps you are nearly there and you just need a little more inspiration to give you that last push.
1. Grow your own food:
If you have the luxury of owning a lot of land, plant a garden. If you live in an apartment, there are actually a few vegetables that grow well indoors. If anything, you can start a windowsill herb garden.
I would love to compost but a bin is must too expensive at the moment and we don't have enough land to build a compost box (plus we do not own the land). I am not an expert on composting so I recommend you do more research. If you do have the money or space, save your food scraps (plant material only) and grass clipping and twigs and leaves and throw them all into your bin, stir it around occasionally, ventilate it, and eventually it will turn into nutrient rich soil.
My favorite all purpose cleaner is made from soaking orange peels in vinegar for four weeks and mixing in equal parts water once it is finished. Place it in a spray bottle and use it for counter tops, the toilet, floors, and really any other hard surface. There are plenty of other recipes out there but this is my favorite. Go a step further and repurpose an old spray bottle or thrift one.
4. Make your own food:
This can be taken either way: make your own meals instead of eating out so much or literally make your own food from scratch. Some things I have learned to make myself are: sandwich bread, buns, baguettes, granola, rolls, and tortillas to name a few. These items all came in non-recyclable plastic bags and I eventually got sick of my waste so I learned to make it myself.
5. Switch your laundry and dish-washing soaps:
Switch to an eco-friendly store bought or homemade laundry and dishwasher detergent. In my washing machine, I use soap nuts/berries that my sister-in-law gifted me for Christmas and can be found on amazon. I also use reusable dryer balls instead of single-use dryer sheets. For the dishwasher, I use a concoction of salt, citric acid, baking soda, and water which you can mold into tabs or leave as a scoopable powder.
6. Make your own beauty products:
I have only tried two so far: toothpaste and anti-itch cream for bug bites. But, I have seen other bloggers make their own makeup, deodorant, and other items instead of buying them in plastic.
7. Find ways to reduce your food waste:
If you produce is about to go bad, dice it up and freeze it for smoothies or soups, juice it, make fruit or veggie chips, and even homemade broth. The possibilities are endless and you can save a lot of food from going to waste.
8. Don't forget your TP:
Most TP companies use virgin paper/trees to make their products. Instead, swap out toilet paper or buy TP made from bamboo or recycled paper instead of virgin paper. Or better yet, switch to a bidet style toilet. These take some getting used to, but they require little to no toilet paper.
9. That time of the most adds up:
Females, switch to a menstrual cup or reusable pads. The average woman will spend $150-$300 per year on feminine hygiene items per year. Instead, you can spend $20-$40 on a reusable menstrual cup and/or pads that will last several years.
10. Get used to the new mantra:
Instead of "reduce, reuse, recycle" try "refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle" in that order. Refuse first and foremost which will lead to you reducing your waste. Reuse every day things like scrap paper for your grocery list instead of buying a new notepad. Use old jars to store things instead of buying a brand new pack of mason jars. The list goes on. And of course, don't forget to recycle. While recycling isn't the best option, it sure does beat the landfill or the ocean that your trash might end up in.
If you made it through all three posts, thank you. Please feel free to comment your favorite tips or additional tips you might have. I will probably make more lists in the future as I learn from others and grow. I hope this inspired you to make a few more simple changes in your life.
Still want more tips? Check out the bonus list here!
"The smallest changes make the biggest impact when multiplied"