20 Easy Sustainability Hacks for a Greener Lifestyle

Sustainability Hacks for a Greener Lifestyle

You’d like to switch to a green and sustainable lifestyle, but you’re not ready for huge changes like switching out all your appliances or giving up meat completely. No worries! You can always start with small swaps as a build-up towards bigger leaps. Plus, countless people before you have already come up with little “hacks” to make their lives a bit greener.

Ready to take your first steps towards greener living? Here are 20 easy sustainability hacks for you to try out!

 

20 Sustainability Hacks for Greener Living

 

1. Use Homemade Cleaning Recipes

Lemons, vinegar, and baking soda are just some of the homemade cleaning ingredients you probably have in a pantry somewhere. So if you’d like to save money and avoid certain chemicals, just put together your own sustainable cleaning solution in the comfort of your kitchen! 

 

ALSO READ: 5 Homemade Natural Cleaning Recipes You Can DIY

 

2. Dedicate a Tote Bag to Unused Clothes

You probably have a handful of clothes that you’ve either outgrown or barely ever use. Stuff these into a tote bag, then write a certain date by which you’ll donate all the clothes in that bag. Once the date passes, bring the clothes to a local thrift store or charity. You’ll contribute to sustainable fashion and free up your closet at the same time!

TIP: Resist the urge to open the bag. Otherwise, you might find yourself putting the clothes back into your closet, telling yourself you’ll use them again someday.

3. Charge Your Phone in Airplane Mode

It may be called “airplane mode,” but it’s perfectly fine to use it on the ground. In fact, a phone in airplane mode will charge much faster than usual, saving you time and energy! Just remember that you won’t be able to receive calls or messages in this mode.

4. Reuse, Full Stop

Reducing waste is one important part of sustainability, so you’ll have to find ways to reuse whatever you can. You might just be surprised by all the little things you can reuse for a more sustainable home!

  • Water. The same water you’ve used for cooking or washing your hands can be reused one more time on your houseplants. This also goes for the “warm-up” water from your shower.
  • Cardboard Boxes. Cereal boxes and shoeboxes can easily get a second life as gift boxes! Just turn them inside out and tape them back together.
  • Toilet Paper Rolls. From wall art to cable organizers to closet dividers to ornaments, the humble toilet paper roll can be reused in countless ways. 
  • Bread Clips. Have a broken flip-flop, with one of its holes torn open and unable to hold the thong? Push the thong back through the hole and slip a bread clip around it! You can also use bread clips to label the mess of cables behind your PCs or television sets.

5. Set Up a Backyard Garden

Have an empty patch of land in your backyard? Turn it into a little garden, and you’ll have a sustainable pastime that can help cut down on grocery spending in the long run. Someday, you can even put together a salad made of vegetables picked from your backyard!

Short on space? No worries. You can always squeeze in a window herb garden.

6. Use a Wet Cloth to Chill Drinks Faster

Wrap your drinks in a wet cloth and then stick them into the freezer. Your drinks will quickly become cold, saving you precious time and energy.

7. Bake Cupcakes in Ice Cream Cones

Need to prepare cupcakes? Instead of buying paper liners, bake them in kiddie ice-cream cones. Add ice cream or whipped cream on top to complete the look!

8. Say Goodbye to Bottled Water

Invest in a nice refillable water bottle, and top it off before you leave the house. You’ll never have to buy another piece of environmentally damaging plastic ever again, and you can save money at the same time!

TIP: It helps to know the locations of nearby water fountains where you can refill your bottle for free.

9. Cut Down on Your Meat Consumption

Beef and lamb production gives off huge amounts of the greenhouse gas methane. So, eating less meat can shrink your eco-footprint as well. It’s just that giving up meat completely might not be easy for everyone! You can always take baby steps like committing to Meatless Mondays or trying out tofu, seitan, and other sustainable meat substitutes.

10. Put Together a Small Compost Bin

Wondering what you can do about all the eggshells, tea leaves, coffee grounds, and fruit or vegetable peels that you often toss? Take a plastic container, poke a few holes in its sides, and then fill it with kitchen waste. You’ll eventually have a plastic container filled with compost, which you can use to feed your backyard garden!

NOTE: It’s not advisable to include meat, fat, oil, dairy products, or grease in the compost bin. They will still biodegrade, but they’ll give off an odor that can attract pests.

 

ALSO READ: 12 Steps to Avoid Food Wastage at Home

 

11. Try Your Hand at Preserving Food

Fermenting and drying are easy ways to improve the shelf life (and flavor) of certain food. You can make pickled daikon radish, salted lemons, or even kimchi to spice up your menu while staying sustainable.

12. Air Dry Your Laundry

Leave it to the sun to dry your clothes, and you can give your dryer a break and save hundreds of dollars on electricity. Also, if you line-dry indoors in winter, your laundry can double as a humidifier!

13. Mind Your Water Usage in the Bathroom

You might be accustomed to 20-minute showers, but experts say you really just need 5 to 10 minutes. The faster your showers, the less water you’ll use! Also, make it a point to turn the tap off while brushing. You can save up to 6 liters of water per minute this way.

14. Recycle Old Papers into Gift Wrap

Instead of buying another roll of gift wrap, take a page out of your old newspapers and magazines. The fun thing about this is that you can pick out pages that fit the recipient’s personality (e.g. using Sunday comics to wrap a gift for a witty friend). Plus, there’s no denying the charm of handicrafts!

15. Go Paperless

Save the trees! Ask your providers to send you bills, catalogues, and bank statements through email. As a bonus, you’ll never have to see another stress-inducing pile of envelopes at your front door ever again.

16. Take a Reusable Tote on Shopping Trips

Help cut down on plastic bag usage by taking your own shopping bag with you. This can either be a tote or a sturdy plastic bag from a previous purchase. Who knows, your favorite grocery store might offer rewards for sustainable shoppers like you!

17. Shift to Thrifty Shopping

Want to update your wardrobe or spruce up your living spaces? Head to the thrift shop and go for gently used clothes and decor instead of brand-new purchases. You can save a lot of money and help cut down on landfill waste in one go. 

18. Buy Produce in Season

For one, fruits and vegetables taste better when they’re in season. You can also cut down on grocery costs if you go for whatever nature has placed on the menu. At the same time, you’ll be able to find these crops easily at a farmers’ market near you. Local produce doesn’t use up as much fuel since it’s transported over shorter distances, automatically making it more sustainable overall!

19. Fix Whatever Can Be Fixed

The world’s current throwaway culture might seem convenient, but it’s also incredibly wasteful. If you’ve broken something, take the sustainable route and try to have it fixed first. And if it’s beyond repair, dispose of it responsibly and put some extra thought into how you’ll replace it.

20. Borrow Books Instead of Buying Them

This sustainability hack doubles as a way for bookworms to save a surprising amount of money. Instead of buying new books, check if any nearby libraries have that same title on their shelves. You can also look for train stations, hotels, and cafes that offer book swap services.

 

Feel free to take this list of 20 sustainability hacks and use it as a checklist! With every item you tick off, you can pat yourself on the back for taking one more step towards a greener lifestyle.

Found this article useful? Visit our blog regularly for more tips on sustainable and eco-friendly living.

7 Sustainable Textiles to Complete Your Home

You’ve picked out a few favorite green home decor brands and switched out some light fixtures with skylights as part of your move towards sustainable living. You may have even started investing in energy-efficient appliances that bear the EPA’s Energy Star label. However, you might still have non-biodegradable synthetics lying around your house in the form of your sheets, curtains, and upholstery! 

Fortunately, there are now several materials that you can choose from to complete your sustainable home. Check out these 7 sustainable textiles and see which ones you’d like to start using!

 

7 Sustainable Textiles for Your Home

 

1. Linen 

This sustainable textile comes from the stem of the flax plant, which grows on rough terrain that’s unsuitable for food production. Curtains made of linen can allow light into a room. Meanwhile, linen bed sheets tend to become softer and more absorbent after repeated washes. You’ll only really need to clean this low-maintenance textile when it starts to smell dusty.

Look for linen in natural colors ranging from ivory to tan to gray. Pure white linen has gone through intense bleaching–not very sustainable!

2. Cotton

Cotton in general is durable, breathable, highly versatile, and biodegradable. Soft and breathable bed sheets. However, traditionally grown cotton uses up huge amounts of water and pesticides. 

Shop for GOTS cotton, or organic cotton that has been grown with sustainability in mind. You’ll want to check the label for true organic cotton content, too.

3. Wool

If you’d like luxurious upholstery in your living room, you can give wool a try! This sustainable textile is wrinkle-resistant and durable, as well as naturally good at holding dyes in vibrant colors. 

Perhaps the only downside of wool is that it’s an animal product. However, it’s possible to buy ethical wool that adheres to standards for fair treatment of animals. Wool can also replace synthetics and polyester fleeces, which shed microfibers that harm the environment even if the materials themselves are vegan.

4. Hemp

Did you know that humans have been cultivating hemp for over 10,000 years? This time-tested textile comes from the stem of the cannabis plant yet contains negligible amounts of THC (the compound behind marijuana’s psychological effects). As a crop, hemp is naturally resistant to pests and fungus attacks, requires little water, and uses up a relatively small amount of land. It even helps purify soil! Once harvested, pure hemp is similar in texture to linen. 

When shopping for hemp tablecloths or sheets, it pays to research a bit about hemp brands you have in mind. Some companies use chemicals for faster processes and higher yield, greenwashing themselves to seem eco-friendly. Also opt for hemp that has been colored with natural dyes to truly minimize environmental impact.

5. Lyocell and Modal

Both of these textiles come from wood pulp. The production of lyocell and modal does not use harmful solvents. It’s often even closed-loop, with 99% of its chemicals being captured and reused. Just be sure to take a look at where the materials come from! One brand you can try out is Tencel, which gets its lyocell and modal from natural forests and sustainable plantations.

6. Piñatex

Ever heard of leather made from pineapple leaves instead of animal hide? Natural and biodegradable, Piñatex reduces waste from pineapple production and even helps farmers earn more. 

Upholstery made of rich piñatex is currently on the rise. Currently, there are already sofas and car seats covered in piñatex!

7. Silk

This prized textile comes from the cocoon of the silkmoth. Conventional silk is infamous among animal lovers because of how it kills the pupae inside the cocoon during production. However, there is now eco-friendly Ahimsa silk which spares the pupae and only harvests cocoons after the pupa has left.

Sustainable and eco-friendly silk does not use harsh dyes, resulting in a softer texture. Try covering your pillows with cases made of sustainable silk and see how quickly you fall asleep after climbing into bed!

 

Comfort, style, and eco-friendliness can definitely go hand in hand. Remember this list, and you can complete your home with indulgent and sustainable textiles. 

Visit our blog for more tips on living sustainably and with style

8 Eco-Friendly Tips for a Sustainable Bathroom

If you’re taking steps towards an eco-friendly lifestyle, you should include a sustainable bathroom in your home improvement plans. After all, traditional bathroom setups can be surprisingly wasteful or harmful to the environment. To help you switch to a greener lifestyle more easily, here are 8 eco-friendly tips for a sustainable bathroom.

 

8 Tips for a Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Bathroom

1. Invest in a Low-Flow Toilet

Older toilets dump anywhere between 3 to 7 gallons per flush! Cut down on your water consumption by getting an eco-friendly low-flow toilet, which uses 1.6 gallons or less.

Make your bathroom even more sustainable by finding a low-flow toilet with a dual-flush feature. Push its smaller flush button to deal with liquid waste while spending just 0.8 gallons of water, or press its larger button to flush solid waste with 1.6 gallons or less.

2. Shower Smart

Traditional shower heads use up 5 to 8 gallons of water per minute. This amounts to 50 to 80 gallons for a ten-minute shower! A low-flow head will cut down this figure by half. It’ll also greatly reduce the energy you use whenever you need hot water for a warm shower.

Another tip for using less water and live a sustainable lifestyle? Shorten your showers. Five minutes may be all you really need.

3. Go Tankless

While a tanked water heater provides a constant supply of hot water, it results in standby loss, or wasted energy from always having the heater on. Switch it out with a tankless water heater, which heats only on demand.

That being said, the upfront costs of tankless water heaters may be beyond some homeowners’ budgets. An alternative tip is to fit your tanked water heater with a controller. Aside from heating water as needed, this innovative device lets you know how much hot water you have left.

4. Ditch Hot Water Circulation

A typical hot-water circulating system will pump hot water from the heater to the faucets and then back to the heater. It provides hot water almost instantly, but it also consumes much energy to heat and transport the water–not so sustainable! It’s more eco-friendly to simply wait with your shower running until hot water comes out. Place a bucket underneath to catch the initial rush of cold water, so it doesn’t go to waste.

5. Get Automatic Faucets

Ever noticed how much water you waste at your bathroom sink? Water pours out from the moment you turn the knobs. Some people may also forget to turn the faucet off while brushing their teeth, leaving the water running. An automatic faucet eliminates this wastage and only turns on when it senses your hand beneath the spout. With this sustainable option, you can also say goodbye to the gunk that often forms around faucet handles.

6. Buy a Vent with the Energy Star Label

Your bathroom needs a vent fan to dry your bathroom quickly and prevent mildew and mold from growing. Here’s a tip to remember: find a fan with an Energy Star Label, which indicates its energy efficiency. Vent fans with such labels use up to 60% less energy than their non-labelled counterparts.

7. Look for Eco-Friendly Paint

Yes, you can be eco-friendly when redecorating your bathroom, too! Purchase paint that has a low volatile organic compounds (VOC) label. While a coat of traditional paint emits dangerous chemicals, sustainable low-VOC paint contains far less of these same toxic substances.

8. Don’t Skip the Small Things

Complete your sustainable bathroom by stocking it with eco-friendly fabrics and products, such as organic cotton bath towels, all-natural hand soap, or homemade cleaning ingredients. Another tip is to switch out your old lights for compact fluorescent bulbs, LED alternatives, or a healthy dose of natural lighting.

With these 8 tips, you can soon enjoy quiet moments of pampering yourself without any guilt in your sustainable bathroom.Read more articles on sustainable living and interior design by visiting our blog.

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