December 29, 2020
100 Ways to Make Your Life More Environmentally-Friendly
Every single person has the power to change the world. It just depends on how much you care. Living sustainably is the sum of many small actions from a great number of people. We've shortlisted 100 ways to make your life more environmentally friendly.
Table of contents
Eco home tips
Eco lifestyle tips
Eco travel tips
Eco work tips
Eco kitchen tips
Eco bedroom tips
Eco bathroom tips
Eco garden tips
Eco parenting tips
Eco pet tips
Environmentally-friendly home tips
1. Donate, don't dump old furniture
Give your old furniture a new home and avoid unnecessary waste. Find a charity willing to accept your old furniture or homewares. Choose from Vinnies, Salvation Army, Fred Hollows or others. If you need the cash, find an online marketplace to list your items. The main goal here is to extend the productive life of your furniture.
2. Buy from green companies
Before making a purchase, read up on the company you are buying from. Do they have a worthy mission and reason for existing or are they 100% focused on profit? In today's world, customers have high expectations on the companies they use. Rightly so! You should support companies that align with your personal values and with a honourable cause.
3. Opt out of any unused magazine or mail out subscriptions
Quick mental check: is your coffee table full of magazines that you don't even read? Do yourself a favour and opt out from these subscriptions. If you feel you can't, consider opting out of physical subscriptions and going 100% digital.
4. Replace any old appliances with 4+ Energy Star Rating appliances
They can save up to 50% on your energy usage. This means more money in your back pocket and reduced carbon emissions. Neat. Check out the Energy Star website for more information on this. Specifically, we recommend switching incandescent light bulbs for more economical bulbs which can save up to 75% electricity.
5. Open and close windows to regulate temperature
Open your windows (and doors) if it's hot. This will help create natural and cooling air flow into your house. If it's freezing cold, keep them shut. This will help regulate the temperature of your house without needing to artificially control it with energy sapping air conditioning.
6. Avoid use of air conditioning
But if you have to use AC, combine usage with ceiling fans to circulate the air from your AC throughout the house more efficiently. This will allow you to lower the fan speed on the AC itself and rely more on the more energy efficient ceiling fan.
7. Audit your insulation
Insulation keeps the air in your home from escaping through walls and ceilings. Making sure its optimised will have a huge impact on energy costs all year long. Seal the ducts around vents and registers as it is not uncommon to lose 20% of cooled air through here.
Tip: Pay a professional to conduct a draft audit by inspecting all the rooms in your home to see where outside air may be coming in or vice versa. They will look for and repair cracks in windows, walls, ceilings and doors. The upfront cost of a few hundred will save you more than that on your energy bill in the long run.
8. Un-plug inactive electronics
Home electronics such as TVs, cable boxes, Blu-Ray players, speakers, consoles and so on use energy even when they’re turned off. Consider unplugging items that won’t be used regularly or get a power strip with switches to save even more energy.
9. Install solar panels
There are government subsidies available for installation of solar panels which can offset your upfront costs. Tap into savings in the long run plus take an important step to becoming a green household.
10. Don’t be a cave troll!
Peel back curtains and let natural light in where you can to avoid use of electrical lights.
11. Use rechargeable batteries
And learn how to dispose of used batteries.
12. Use matches instead of plastic lighters
1.5 billion plastic lighters end up in landfill every year. Switch to matches which you can compost after use.
13. Use coconut oil for like...everything
Coconut oil can be used for moisturising, shaving, cooking, makeup removal and more. So it's kind of a household superhero.
Environmentally-friendly lifestyle tips
14. Have a voice
Vote for climate change policies. Read and understand what your local government is investing in regarding green initiatives and get involved. There is an environmental and societal cost to not acting. Be the change you want to see in the world. Lol so cliché but it's true.
15. Consider your diet
Not all foods are created equal. It’s more taxing on the environment to eat a lot of meat for example. Specifically, cows command 10x more resources than chickens to farm. Try going vegetarian a few meals a week or substitute beef for chicken more often. Ditch processed food while you’re at it. Organic is a bit more costly but it supports green organisations and it's better for you.
16. Read digital books and listen to audio books
Reading is great and a core building block of knowledge. But all the printing of paper required to create a book is unsustainable. Swap to digital versions instead. If you are into reading hard copies, try borrowing from your local library or buy second hand.
17. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals
They say you’re the sum of the closest 5 people in your life. This impacts you in ways you may not have ever considered. Surround yourself with positive and ambitious people. Great things will follow!
18. Get outside and get moving
Every day. Exercise and meditation are an amazing combination for your general wellbeing and positivity.
19. Join green movements
Get involved with forest preservation and green movements like Plastic Free July and Clean Up Australia. The community is what holds together our societies across our great country. Give a helping hand. Leave the planet in a better state than when you arrived.
20. Use bamboo, metal or glass straws
Decline all paper/plastic straws from venues while you're out and about. Use eco-friendly alternatives like bamboo, metal and glass instead. Check out these bamboo straws.
21. Go paperless with all your billing and statements
22. Put a no junk mail sign on your letterbox
Wowee letterboxes sure do fill up quick with crap. Banish all junk mail by installing a "No junk mail" sign on your letterbox. The trees will thank you.
23. Gift experiences rather than material objects
Materialism is at an all time high in today's society. One of the ways you can cut back on unnecessary consumerism is to gift experiences rather than objects. We reckon a nice balance in the middle is gifting a plant.
24. Get stuck into reusable shopping bags
Grocers and retailers will often provide single use plastic bags which is a big no bueno. Do yourself a favour and invest in reusable canvas shopping bags.
25. Buy groceries in bulk
Speaking of groceries...buy them online and in bulk to avoid overdriving.
26. Buy used, not new
Always shoot for second hand purchases as it will extend the lifetime of these products. Big ticks for purchasing local/ethically created products.
Tip: Resist impulse purchases by waiting a few days to see if you still want to buy the product.
27. Save water (and plastic) with eco-friendly water bottles
They're reusable. They're stylish. And you're not churning through plastic bottles dozens of times a year. Plastic bottles are a big nope from us.
28. Oh and PLEASE...ditch single use coffee cups!
The average person gets through 3 coffees a day. Most single-use coffee cups are lined with a fine film of polyethylene, which makes the cups liquid-proof but also difficult and expensive to reprocess. This ultimately means they end up in the trash, contributing massively to pollution each year. You should invest once in a reusable coffee cup and eliminate this unsustainable practice from your life.
29. Analyse your eco footprint
Take the Footprint Calculator to analyse your eco footprint and learn how you can improve. This tool is seriously awesome and gives you revealing insights as to how you compare to the average person on carbon consumption.
Environmentally-friendly travel tips
30. Eat and drink local
Immersing yourself in local culture is epic. You get to experience authenticity at its best. Topping it off, eating and drinking local means you're supporting local commerce and not food and drink that has travelled from far away destinations.
31. Walk or use public transport within cities/towns
Easy one. You get to see and experience more of the city AND you are being more sustainable by avoiding car rentals or ride sharing.
32. Use trains/buses between cities/towns
Somewhat expanding on the previous tip but make sure you travel between cities on trains and buses. It's much more friendly on the environment compared to air and car travel.
33. Stay on the path
If you go hiking, it’s best to do so with a local guide who can help you understand the local ecosystem. If you do go alone, always stick to marked trails to avoid harming native flora. Consider taking a bag along to pick up trash you see along your journey.
34. Buy carbon offsets for flights
Most airlines offer carbon offsets before you purchase a flight somewhere. They don't cost too much and mean you'll be supporting green initiatives to offset carbon emissions produced from flying. You can read more about this on Climate Active.
36. Use "Do not disturb" hotel tags to stop daily hotel room cleaning
I mean you don't wash your sheets daily at home. Come on. Why do so many of us let hotel staff wash sheet and towels plus vacuum the floors on the daily? This is a waste of electricity and cleaning supplies. Use the “Do not disturb” sign on the door of your hotel so housekeeping staff won’t clean your room every day.
37. Use one bar of soap for both the sink and shower
And always take any unused toiletries home for later use. Hotel staff will toss these.
38. Don't use hotel laundry services
Hotels typically wash each guest’s clothes separately, regardless of how many items are involved. This wastes a whole bunch of water. If you are compelled to do this, at least give them a full load so the whole machine is used.
39. Buy smarter
Vote with your feet by supporting ethically produced local goods and services. All over the world, you'll find dodgy salesman selling mass produced Chinese products that imitate being local. Or worse, agents selling items made from unsustainable hardwoods or endangered species. Avoid these guys at all costs and buy smarter. Plus it's always good to embrace local cultures.
40. Book green hotels and eco lodges
These providers tap into alternative energy sources and optimise management of water and waste. Hotel staff tend to be local and the kitchen produce is no different.
Tip: Look for certifications from Eco Tourism Australia, Green Globe, Rainforest Alliance, and/or the Global Sustainable Tourism Council to ensure that they follow best practice for sustainability.
Tip: Look for certifications from Eco Tourism Australia, Green Globe, Rainforest Alliance, and/or the Global Sustainable Tourism Council to ensure that they follow best practice for sustainability.
41. Don't support unethical animal tourism
There's a few tourist favourites which ultimately end up supporting and funding unethical treatment of animals. Allow us to elaborate. Riding elephants is never OK. It’s actually incredibly bad for their bodies. These gracious creatures are put through the phajaan, a brutal training regime designed to be violent and spirit crushing. Another few examples. Despite popularity of bullfighting in Spain, bear-baiting in Pakistan, and cockfighting in parts of Latin America, all these events represent unethical treatment of animals. If you want to witness nature, go do so in its raw form via a safari or forest hike and so on.
42. Snorkel and scuba dive with marine conservation in mind
Your tour operator should be responsible for the group during dives. Tell tale signs of unethical tour guides include those who allow divers to touch or stand on coral, chum the waters to attract fish and offer no insight as to local marine conservation efforts.
43. Don’t buy products made from animal parts
Ivory is the obvious one here. It's made from the tusks of elephants, walruses, hippos and narwhal. It's illegal to buy or sell ivory, and doing so means you are directly contributing to the death of one of these increasingly endangered animals. This eco-friendly tip extends to any product made from the exploitation of animals.
Environmentally-friendly workplace tips
44. Print less
It's no secret that paper is made from trees yet office printing is still prominent (albeit declining) in Australia. Every minute,100 acres of rainforest is cleared worldwide. ANU research shows that the logging each hectare of the giant Eucalyptus regnans forests in Tasmania and Victoria releases over 1,000 tonnes of greenhouse pollution. You can play a small part in reducing the appetite for paper by reducing or stopping printing at your office.
Tip: For the printing paper that you do have in the office, check the back of the box or with your employer if it is recycled.
45. Ask for a flexible working arrangement with your employer
If you can work from home, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint (and save money!) through less transport.
46. Carpool on the way to work
Buckle up with your work colleagues on the way in. It's more economical plus you can build better working relationships. Catch public transport if you don't want to carpool.
47. Hold meetings online where possible to avoid unnecessary travel
Another simple tip to reduce time in-transit. Zoom, Google and Microsoft Teams are all great options for online meetings.
48. Speak up with your organisation on sustainability
Challenge your team and employer to consider environmental impact of business operations. Make suggestions and offer support.
Environmentally-friendly bedroom tips
49. Wash your clothes in cold water
75-90% of energy is dedicated to heating up your washer without significant improvements to the quality of wash. Switch to cold water and save. It's better for silks and delicates anyway!
50. Hang clothing instead of using use a dryer
Another energy saving tip. Hang out your clothing on a washing line or in direct sunlight.
Tip: If you absolutely have to use the dryer, clean the lint filter to reduce drying time.
51. Ditch artificial air-fresheners for essential oils
Air-fresheners tend to pollute the air. You can seek out sustainably sourced essential oils as a natural alternative.
52. Re-look at the paint you use
If you're painting a bedroom, consider what paint type you use. Most contain harmful VOC’s or volatile organic compounds. By choosing a low-VOC or VOC free paint, you’re helping the planet
53. Scour marketplaces for old bed frames and bedroom furniture
Similar to point 23, we know. It's worth saying though! Instead of buying new, check our online marketplaces for hidden gems. Touch up any purchases with paint or by applying a light sanding and voilà, you have successfully recycled furniture.
54. Sleep in eco-friendly bedding
Apparently we spend 33 years of our lives sleeping. Woah, that’s a lot! May as well do it in eco-friendly bedding materials like hemp, bamboo, or cotton. They’re free of toxins which are better for everyone.
Tip: Be careful choosing the right cotton as this can be more resource demanding to grow and some manufacturers also use chemicals. Do your own research.
55. Eco-friendly light bulbs are a wise choice
They use 75 percent less electricity! Less electricity means less carbon emissions. You know the drill.
56. House plants for the bedroom. Get em!
House plants purify the air and also look unreal.
Environmentally-friendly kitchen tips
57. Cook two things at once using the same heat source
As an example, you can simultaneously prepare boiling water with pasta while steaming vegetables above.
58. Clean with reusables; wash clothes, towels and sponges.
Disposables suck. Do this please.
59. Use natural cleaning products.
Lemon juice can clean most stains off benchtops and the like. Leave it for a few minutes before wiping clean. Liquid gold!
60. Repel pests with coffee grounds
When not used for composting, coffee grounds make for a great pest repellent. Coffee grounds can also be used to clean food remnants off pots and pants when mixed with warm water.
61. Keep the oven door shut!
Opening the door prolongs cooking time and wastes valuable energy.
62. Only run full dishwashers
Dishwashers take as much as 22 litres per cycle so no need to waste all that H20. Wash by hand if you desperately need a kitchen item cleaned.
63. Avoid heavy rinsing of plates before dishwashing
Scrape food wastage into a bin with a reusable cloth or sponge. This will majorly cut down on your water usage.
64. Use the microwave where possible
80% less energy is consumed relative to conventional ovens.
65. Ditch the OTT cooking gadgets
Your grandparents got by with a lil’ elbow grease and by being hands-on while cooking. You can do it too!
66. Baking soda and vinegar are your friends
They're not only great cleaners, but both are non-toxic and remarkably cheap.
67. Use reusable containers to store food.
For the love of god, DO NOT use disposable plastic containers.
Environmentally-friendly bathroom tips
68. Eliminate planet-harming products in the bathroom
Oh where do we begin. There's so many products in the bathroom that are unsustainable. One notorious culprit is your plastic toothbrush which is disposed of circa 4 times a year, taking up to 500 years to break down. You can swap out most plastic products for eco-friendly alternatives like bamboo. For example, bamboo toothbrushes. We wrote an in-depth guide on creating an eco-friendly bathroom which is 100% worth reading..
Tip: anything single use is particularly bad and worth ditching. For example, women's health products and plastic dental floss.
69. Use old newspapers to clean glass surfaces and mirrors
It won’t leave behind paper remnants like paper towels do. This act also extends the productive use of your newspaper. Of course it goes without saying that we recommend online newspapers but hey, if ya got em, right?
70. Unclog drains with 'au naturel' ingredients
We're talkin' a combination of baking soda and vinegar. Step aside harmful and artificial chemical cleaners. Step one, manually remove what you can from the drain, then add the vinegar mixture. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes before running hot water down the drain.
71. Maintain a sparkly clean toilet with baking soda and vinegar
The super ingredient use cases for soda and vinegar continue to add up. You can maintain a sparkling clean toilet with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Scrub the toilet once a week and add dish soap to the mix if needed for tougher stains.
72. Natural floor cleaner = baking soda, lemon juice and warm water
Sticky floors are a big no-no. Try this organic cleaning cocktail on your floors next time you clean - baking soda, lemon juice and warm water. Avoid harmful chemical packed cleaning agents.
73. Keep the bath empty
A full bath may be luxurious and relaxing, but it’s also very wasteful. An average bathtub can take up to 265 litres of water to fill, while a 5-minute shower uses just 35-95 litres.
74. Installing a low-flow shower head
It costs around $20. Bunnings sells them. This simple screw-on attachment can reduce your water usage by 50-70%!
75. Put a bucket in your shower
All that water pouring down the drain each shower has served only one purpose. Why not make it two? Place a bucket at your shower to catch excess water. Use this on your garden or to flush the toilet.
76. Double take the build date on your toilet
Toilets manufactured before the 90's use at least 13 litres per flush. Modern and water conscious toilets use less than 4.8 litres per flush. That's savings of 60%. A new toilet may cost a few hundred bucks plus installation, but it will save you several thousand dollars in water consumption over its lifetime.
Environmentally-friendly gardening tips
77. Plant trees that work for you in summer AND winter
There's nifty trees which are what we call "deciduous". This simply means the tree sheds leaves in winter and grows them in summer. Enjoy the best of both worlds with deciduous trees as the leaves will provide shade to your house in summer while also allowing warmth to shine through during the cold of winter.
78. Consult a landscape architect for your backyard
This tip is more relevant to those building new homes but also applicable for anyone in the process of rethinking their garden layout. Simply put, there's a lot of water wastage on gardens. The EPA reports a typical family home uses about 30% of water supply to keep their garden green. We suggest you do some research or consult a landscape architect to help you design an outdoor area suitable for your home, climate and level of eco commitment.
79. When watering, do so in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid water wastage
This is a great tip to minimise evaporation and maximise effectiveness.
80. Choose native plants
They typically work better in your climate anyway. Bird fan? Plant brightly coloured flowers if you want to attract birds. Natural springs, birdbaths, or ponds, will also help to attract birds and other wildlife.
81. Install a water tank
Water tanks are fantastic for capturing water running off your roof. They come in many different shapes and sizes, storing from 2000 litres to as much as 22,000 litres. Install one so you can use the rain water to accomodate all your gardening needs.
Tip: Low budget? Create a simple DIY rainwater tank with a large barrel, a screen for filtering, and a spigot.
82. Plant seeds in recycled containers
Yogurt cups, egg cartons, and toilet paper rolls are great for starting your seeds indoors. Give them a good clean and poke drainage holes in the bottom before planting.
83. Start composting
Collect non-meat food scraps and plant debris in an outside bin. Moisture, heat and air will help speed up the process. Compost becomes yummy nutrients for your soil.
84. Grow your own food!
Plant those fruits, vegetables and herbs. You might just have a bit of fun moving towards self sustained living.
Environmentally-friendly parenting tips
85. Get your kids using eco-friendly toothbrushes like bamboo!
PLA toothbrushes also work. These look awesome and can be composted at end-of-life permitting you remove the nylon bristles from the toothbrush head. We wrote a guide on how to recycle bamboo toothbrushes. If you're looking for kids bamboo toothbrushes, try these.
86. Choose cloth diapers or environmentally friendly disposable diapers
This is a bit of a tough one as diapers, even the eco-friendly ones, tend to have some small element of plastic in them. The best possible route is to find a compostable diaper service which collect your used diapers and take them to a composting facility, removing any plastic elements from the diaper before composting over a 3 month period.
87. Choose biodegradable baby wipes
Cut them in half to save even more if you can.
88. Get outside with your kids and have some fun!
The less time indoors watching screens and using electricity, the better.
89. Buy or borrow clothes
Hopefully someone in the fam can donate baby/kids clothes to you. Otherwise, ask and look around to see what you can buy that is second-hand.
90. Eat green with your kids
Vegetables are pretty hard to like as a kid. But if you can introduce them young enough, you'll give your family the best shot at eating healthily forever. Kids will be more open to vegetarian meals as a result and you will be able to mix in vegetarian meals a few nights a week. Great for reducing your family's carbon footprint.
91. Teach your kids eco-friendly habits
Teach a man to fish as they say. Your children will eventually grow up and take over the world. If they appreciate and respect how to be eco-friendly this will flow through into their adult lives and create a lasting positive impact on our environment and planet.
Environmentally-friendly pet tips
92. Use topical flea treatments NOT flea collars.
Loads of flea collars contain carcinogens and definitely aren’t biodegradable.
93. Pick up dog faeces ASAP
Doggy doo can spread pathogens into waterways after heavy rain. Use biodegradable doggy bags and dispose of waste in the trash.
94. Do not flush cat faeces
Indoor-only cats that have tested negative for toxoplasmosis are the exception. This parasite can negatively impact marine life.
95. Avoid using cat litter with bentonite clay
Bentonite clay uses a method called ship-mining which is a destructive process.
96. Adopt a pet!
So many furry friends are treated poorly by breeders and animal shelters are often full. Adopt a pet next time you are looking for a new companion instead of buying from breeders.
97. Choose non-beef foods for your pets
Just like our tips on humans eating less beef, this too applies to animals. The production of beef is demanding on our resources relative to other sources of food.
98. Wash pets with chemical free products
Some shampoo and conditioners contain chemicals which can runoff and affect waterways. Look for organic alternatives.
99. Re-think pet toys
So many are made of plastic. Go for the eco-friendly toys like rope. It's a classic anyway and your doggo will love it.
The final and most important tip!
100. Please share this post
If you've learned just one thing from reading this post, maybe you can help others learn too. Help create awareness around environmentally-friendly living by sharing this post with your friends and family. Our planet will thank you!
- Energy Star, 2020
- Australian Department of Industry, Science, Energy & Resources, Renewable Power Incentives, 2020
- Clean Up Australia, 2020
- ANU, "Every year in Australia, nature grows 8 new trees for you - but that alone won't fix climate change", 2020
- Environmental Protection Agency, "Watering Tips", 2020
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