Note: This article on eco friendly tips is by contributing writer, Tammy Strobel.
When I started to simplify my life, my focus was on getting out of the work-spend cycle, decluttering, and learning how to manage my money. Over time, I shifted my attention outward and began to explore the connection between sustainable and simple living. Reading and watching short films – like The Story of Stuff – shifted my perspective and helped me become a little more “eco-friendly.”
One of the best things I’ve done is to consume less. For example, I stopped replacing perfectly good things with new things. I’ve also experimented with composting, picking up trash for fun, learning new skills, and more. Enjoy these eco friendly tips I’ve learned while simplifying my life.
10 Eco-Friendly Tips for Everyday Life
In this article, I’ll share ten eco-friendly tips that I’ve experimented with in my everyday life. I hope you’ll incorporate a few of the ideas below into your daily routine.
With that, let’s dive in!
1.) Stop buying stuff you don’t need
Shopping for clothes used to be my favorite hobby. I put a stop to that habit, though. I was spending too much time and money at the mall. When I journaled about my “love” of shopping, I realized I wasn’t having fun. The activity didn’t bring me joy; only stress and debt.
Instead of buying new clothes, I started to take better care of the clothes that I already owned. I also began to spend more money on durable clothes that would last for years – or longer. This is true of other purchases – like my couch and bed. Remember, it’s okay to buy what you need.
2.) Repair your belongings
Last year, I took an online class about sashiko; the Japanese art of visible mending. I haven’t been able to make beautiful running stitches or geometric patterns (yet). I’m still learning about the technique.
Meghan Racklin, a writer with Vox , wrote an excellent article about sashiko. She said, “Visible mending insists that beauty can be built in the wake of a breakdown and that we can connect with one another even in times of rupture. That we can connect through our desire to challenge existing norms and to create a system that is more carefully considered and more thoughtful.”
I love how this art form is a visible antidote to fast fashion. Repairing one’s belongings can be a rewarding and beautiful process.
3.) Opt for sustainable transportation
I said, “Cycling puts me in a travel mindset, it helps me clear my mind, and see my community from different angles. For example, driving our car didn’t give me the opportunity to truly see our community. Since we sold the car, I’ve cycled through new to me neighborhoods, discovered a bike bridge, and different bike routes. I feel like a tourist at home, and that’s been a sweet experience!
I love being car-free again because driving less is better for the environment, and I’m saving money. Plus, cycling encourages interesting conversations. I’m more likely to talk to strangers (which boosts my happiness). If you don’t like biking, try walking to work, taking the bus, or carpooling with a friend to work or the grocery store.
4.) Shop local
On Saturdays, we usually cycle to our community farmer’s market. We buy almond apricot bread, chocolate croissants, and produce from our favorite vendors. I enjoy shopping locally because it supports my community, we use less packaging, and it minimizes food miles.
5.) Conserve energy
Summer heat waves have prompted us to be mindful of our energy consumption. We do small things like unplugging electronics, using appliances during non-peak hours, adjusting the temperature in our living space, and more. For additional energy saving tips refer to this resource.
6.) Reduce plastic use
Beth Terry – author of Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too – inspired us to reduce the amount of plastic that comes into our lives. For example, I wash my hair with a shampoo bar, use refillable water bottles, and try not to purchase goods that are packaged in plastic. We’ve relied on Terry’s book for tips because it is “a practical guide to ridding your life—and the planet—of plastic.”
7.) Compost your kitchen waste
Over the years, we’ve experimented with a variety of composting techniques like vermicomposting. It’s an easy way to reduce food waste, and it only takes a few simple steps to get started. As my husband noted, “it was fun feeding the worms our scraps and seeing them thrive.” I agree!
8.) Pick up trash for fun
The amount of trash we grab on a short walk – and by the dumpster in our apartment complex – is staggering. For example, we collect roughly 15 pounds of garbage per week. To do this we only need a few tools – a trash grabber and a large bucket.
Picking up trash might seem like a depressing activity. It makes me feel good, though. It’s a visible way to make a difference in my neighborhood.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, I started to look for volunteer opportunities in my community. I discovered a non-profit organization that hosts events like tree planting, park cleanups, and more. I don’t volunteer daily. However, volunteering regularly connects me to my community and builds social trust.
Environmental activist Bill McKibben, a prolific author and educator, recently emphasized the importance of social trust, neighborliness, and paying attention to the world around us. He said, “We’re in a mess, but together we have some chance of working our way out of it.”
10.) Vote & Advocate
This isn’t the most obvious eco friendly tip but could be the most powerful. Voting in local, state, and federal elections is one of the best ways for me to make an impact. In addition, I love the non-partisan organization IssueVoter. They make it easy for me to follow the issues I care about, get alerts before bills pass, and track votes and outcomes automatically.
If more of us do the little things, it can result in big change in the world.
Resources to help you add more of these eco friendly tips to your life.
Looking for resources to help you live sustainably? Explore the list below:
- All We Can Save is “an anthology of writings by 60 women at the forefront of the climate movement who are harnessing truth, courage, and solutions to lead humanity forward.” It’s edited by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson.
- The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard
- Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale by Adam Minter
Podcasts & Talks
- How to find joy in climate action by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson
- “The Best Thing You Can Do Is Not Buy More Stuff,” says “Secondhand” Expert