Maybe you’ve already been working towards a more sustainable lifestyle–like buying LED light bulbs and using a special blue bin just for recycling. You’ve even pictured yourself in your very own electric vehicle.
But for now, you want to know how to be more sustainable in the present. Right now. Luckily, we’re here to help you understand how to reduce your carbon footprint and live a more sustainable lifestyle.
So follow along to learn how to be more sustainable right in your very own home.
#1 Turn Off Your Devices
When it comes to energy consumption in our home, reducing unnecessary use makes a big difference. Not only will your electric bill be cheaper if you remember to turn off your devices, but you’ll also be reducing your carbon footprint. Win-win.
Here are a few devices that are easily overlooked (because, hey–every device counts):
- Computer monitors
- Speakers and stereo systems
- Gaming consoles
If you have trouble remembering to turn your appliances off, try buying a few smart plugs. These devices allow you to plug in your everyday lamps and appliances into timed outlets, so they’ll turn off at a certain time even if you forget.
#2 Watch Out for Food Waste
When it comes to understanding how to reduce waste, avoiding food waste is a good first step. While opting for plant-based foods and sustainably-sourced ingredients is an excellent way to make your culinary creations more sustainable, it also matters what you throw away.
Tossing the remains of last week’s uneaten pasta might not seem like a huge impact, but it adds up. Every year, people in the United States waste 108 billion pounds of food.1 Not only is it a waste of resources, but that wasted food contributes to the greenhouse effect (no thank you, climate change).
Next time you go grocery shopping, try some of these tips to cut back on food waste:
- Check your fridge and pantry first – See what you already have in stock so you don’t buy more than you need.
- Make a grocery list – Before going to the store, make a grocery list with each item you need for the week. The most important part of the grocery list is sticking to what’s on the list. Otherwise, you’ll end up at the register with half of the supermarket in your cart and a receipt as long as your leg.
- Do a weekly food purge – Pick a day of the week to go through your fridge and eat the remaining leftovers. This goes for casseroles, unused fruits and veggies, and yes, the neglected yogurt that’s hiding in the back corner.
- Consider composting – Composting is an excellent way to turn the foods you do throw away into a brand-new resource—one that can reduce your carbon footprint and give some extra nutrients to your garden.2
#3 Use More Sustainable Cleaning Products
The products you use to make your bathtub and kitchen sink sparkle might come with superb cleaning power—but that doesn’t necessarily mean they help to keep the environment clean.
To keep your home spotless without hurting Mother Nature, keep these tips in mind the next time you shop for cleaning products:
- Avoid harsh ingredients – Some cleaning products contain harmful chemicals and carcinogens that are toxic and unsafe for humans, animals, and the environment.
- Choose climate-positive options – Products manufactured in climate-positive facilities, like ECOS plant-powered cleaners that are made in the USA, prioritize sustainable manufacturing and renewable energy.
- Keep it biodegradable – Products with readily biodegradable formulas use ingredients that won’t stick around in our ecosystems. That’s better for you, the water you drink, and pretty much every creature on the planet.
- Seek out the Safer Choice logo – Developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this logo is an easy way to spot safer cleaning products without having to worry what’s inside. The Safer Choice program helps people find products that are safer for both people and the planet.
Sustainable cleaning supplies are not only great for keeping your home clean and your family protected but also reduce negative impacts on the environment.
#4 Prepare or Pack Your Lunch at Home
Sustainable practices don't require drastic life changes, and a simple way to practice sustainability is by making your own lunch. We all love a lunch outing now and then, but driving to every lunch location puts you on the road more often and subsequently increases your carbon emissions. Packing your lunch for work, travel, and other outings is not only more sustainable—it will also save you from spending your downtime in traffic and dealing with long lines.
Here are a couple of tips for packing your lunch each day:
- Meal prep – If you have some time to spare on Sunday, consider one or two meals you’d like to eat for the week. Casseroles and one-pan meals are excellent and simple options for meal prepping. Make your grocery list, get your ingredients, and get cookin’. After you’re done, portion food directly into your reusable containers. Voila—you now have instant grab-and-go options for the week, and you can do the same for snacks!
- Eat your leftovers – Maybe you prefer some variety in your life. Some spice, if you will. Spaghetti one day. Enchiladas the next. We see you, and we salute your choices. If you go this route, make sure you cook a large enough batch of dinner each night so that you have leftovers to pack for lunch the following day.
#5 Use Reusable Containers
Yes, we mentioned this above–but it deserves a double mention.
Whether you’re meal prepping or preparing a dish to share at your next get-together, be sure to use reusable food containers. Glass containers are an optimum choice because they have a longer lifespan than their plastic counterparts. Plus, they’re recyclable and they can withstand the heat from the microwave, dishwasher, and oven.
But using reusables doesn’t have to end there. While grabbing bottled water from the fridge is quick and easy when you’re short on time, it only takes a few extra seconds to fill up a reusable bottle each day. Plus, you’ll save money and stay hydrated without having to rely on plastics.
#6 Use Sustainable Goods and Supplies
From your home office to your guest bathroom, the supplies you stock can help you keep your home earth-friendly from top to bottom. Whatever you buy regularly, there’s a chance you can find a more environmentally friendly option—from plastic-free pens to tree-free toilet paper.
Yes, even toilet paper can be sustainable.
For instance, ECOS’ Treeless Toilet Paper is made from sugarcane waste and renewable bamboo, which–fun fact–grows significantly faster than most trees. Some types of bamboo can grow up to 4 centimeters per hour.
With some sustainable replacements, you can comfortably (and sustainably) use as much as you need when you need it.
#7 Pack Lightly
You might be considering whether you need five or six bathing suits for your three-day jaunt to the Bahamas. Maybe you’re strategically planning how to fit your favorite pair of jeans into your already crammed suitcase. Let’s be honest–when we venture away from home, how much we bring can affect our environmental impact.
Every pound of luggage on a flight means that the plane is going to emit more carbon emissions.5 Case in point? Less is more.
Bring the essentials, but don’t overdo it. Call your hotel and see if they have a laundry service or check to see if your Airbnb has a washer. If so, be sure to pack one of our ECOS Liquidless Laundry Detergent sheets to save you time, money, and carbon emissions.
#8 Avoid Single-Use Plastics
Have you ever thought about how much plastic you use on a daily basis? Plastic bags for late-night snack purchases at the 7-Eleven. Plastic water bottles to keep you hydrated jumping from one excursion to the next. The list goes on and on.
You can lessen your consumption of plastic by keeping a few reusable water bottles and tote bags around in places you use them the most—like in your car or in your kitchen. Plus, reusable items can be multifunctional. Just consider all the ways you can use a reusable grocery bag:
- Toting your vacation necessities to and from the beach
- Grabbing a few food essentials from the corner store
- Packing a picnic lunch
- Keeping it on hand for last-minute errands
#9 Use Sustainable Transportation
Changing how you travel from A to B can help you build a more sustainable lifestyle in a big way. Consider that when you use just one gallon of gasoline, your car could emit as much as 8,887 grams of CO2.6
When you choose other methods of transportation instead, you can contribute to a cleaner environment while soaking in the scenery at a more leisurely pace (and save some gas money while you’re at it).
If you live in a rural area, carpooling, buses, and trains (if your area has them) may be the best bet. If you live in a city, however, you likely have a few more sustainable options, such as:
- Walking, for shorter distances
- Bike shares
- Ride shares
ECOS: Helping You Live More Sustainable Every Day
Sustainable living is possible—and it doesn’t have to change your entire lifestyle or break the bank. Whether you’re reading a book at home or are about to jet-set across the country, there are ways to do so sustainably.
If you’re interested in changing the planet through your day-to-day actions, ECOS has you covered. Look through our wide selection of sustainable cleaning products and pick out what you need to start living a more sustainable life today.
Made with plant-derived ingredients, ECOS cleaning products keep your house clean and work toward creating a more sustainable world–because every little bit helps.