How to Be More Eco-Friendly: 105 Ways to Live an Environmentally Conscious Lifestyle

A UN report revealed that we have just 12 years left if we want to get climate change under control. Yep, not a 100 just 12. After that everything will be out of control.

Sounds quite grim, doesn’t it? Well, it’s about time we woke up to the reality of the damage that human activity has caused the environment. Global temperatures are rising at an alarming level and if this continues, the environment won’t be able to survive.

So what can you and I do to overturn the damage? It seems like such an uphill task but it all starts by each one of us committing to be more eco-friendly.

It’s up to all of us to try and make changes in the way we live. Change won’t come abruptly, so just do whatever you can, and after a while, it will become a habit. Simply begin by learning how to be environmentally friendly.

105 Ways To Be More Eco-Friendly

So what does eco-friendly mean?

Eco-friendly literally means friendly to the earth or simply not harmful to the environment. The term is most commonly used to refer to products and practices that help in conserving resources like water and energy as well as preventing air, water and land pollution.

To engage in eco-friendly practices start by being more conscious of how you use such resources.

It doesn’t matter what your reason for being more eco-conscious is. Whether it’s to help the environment, to save money, or just see how easy it is, every effort you make towards an eco-friendly life will definitely help save the world.

Here are 105 ways on how to be more environmentally friendly. These tricks will help you make helpful changes in different areas of your life.

Live With Less Plastic

1. Replace cling wrap with eco-friendly Beeswax wraps

Kick start your eco-friendly lifestyle by ditching plastic. Get rid of your plastic wrap and replace it with the eco-friendly beeswax alternative. Beeswax wrap is actually more breathable than plastic and is biodegradable.

2. Replace disposable cutlery with a wood set

Americans use over 100 million pieces of disposable cutlery every day! Cut down on the statistics by carrying your own silverware from home. Wooden cutlery is especially easy to carry around.

3. Switch to an eco-friendly toothbrush

Consider replacing your plastic toothbrushes with bamboo brushes. These are more eco-friendly. You can even go further and use zero-waste toothpaste!

4. Use biodegradable trash bags

Plastic bags are among the top things that pollute the planet the most. If we could all switch to biodegradable bags we’d be doing the world a huge favor. Biodegradable trash bags are 100% compostable and are BPI certified.

5. Avoid using bottles for shampoo, conditioner, and lotion

Over 80 billion plastic bottles are disposed of around the world every year just from shampoo and conditioner! Consider using reusable bottles to refill your shampoo, conditioner, and lotion.

6. Compostable cutlery and bowls

If you don’t want to haul cutlery around and would rather get disposable plates, cups, and spoons, get compostable ones.

7. Carry your own containers for take-out

When you buy takeout, request to use your reusable containers instead of disposable ones. You can get stainless steel containers from camping supply stores so you have a good supply for your takeout.

8. Say no to plastic produce bags

Plastic bags are a huge mess for the environment. Buy a couple of environmentally friendly and reusable grocery bags. Throw in one in every bag you carry to work and in your car so you have one every time you go shopping.

9. Use eco-friendly cleaning cloths

Instead of using paper towels or disposable cloths go for eco-friendly wipe materials such as the compressed natural cellulose sponges. Cloth towels are also great as they are reusable and totally green.

10. Get a safety razor

The US alone throws out 2 billion non-recyclable razors. Don’t contribute to this waste. Use zero waste razors that are all-metal and have recyclable blades. You also get to spend very little to refill zero waste razors as compared to refilling plastic razors.

11. Stop using cotton buds

You only use cotton buds once and throw them out, right? Imagine how much plastic waste is accumulated through the use of cotton buds. Give them up for the sake of the environment.

12. Use plastic-free feminine hygiene products

There are some pretty good plastic-free options such as washable cloth pads and liners. Plastic-free pads and liners are made from organic cotton. The washable and reusable Diva Cup is also a great eco-friendly option.

13. Get some wire pegs for clothes

Plastic pegs are not only bad for the environment but snap easily anyway. Wire pegs are the better alternative even though more expensive than plastic ones. They, however, last so long you won’t be replacing them in years to come.

14. Use eco-friendly cleaning products

Start buying non-toxic natural cleaning products instead of chemical-based products. Chemical-based products may clean your home faster but will greatly harm your family, pets and the environment.

A few good brand options include Method, Seventh Generation, and Common Good.

15. Non-toxic beauty

Take care of your skin and save the environment by using non-toxic beauty products. Such products don’t contain any chemicals, parabens, phthalates or genetically modified ingredients.

100% Pure, RMS Beauty, and Alima Pure are some great all-natural beauty brands giving synthetic makeup brands a run for their money.

16. Buy ethically made fashion

Ethically made clothes normally have eco-friendly materials instead of polyester. Polyester is very difficult to compost as it takes more than 200 years to decompose. Ethical fashion brands are also strict followers of fair trade and promote labor ethics.

Check out these top ethical fashion brands: ThredUp, PACT, and Everlane.

17. Eco-friendly personal care products

Most personal care products have microbeads (small bits of solid plastic) that are not biodegradable and make their way into landfills and water bodies. Use non-toxic body wash, toothpaste, face scrub, and other personal care products.

18. Eco-friendly Jewelry

If you love jewelry you may want to consider buying recycled gold jewelry from now on. Recycled gold jewelry is kind to the environment and also lowers the demand for newly mined gold.

19. Invest in energy-efficient appliances for the home

How about replacing your home appliances such as fridge, washer, and dryer with new more energy-efficient ones? Appliances with ENERGY STAR ratings and logo are the best as they use less power and conserve energy in the home.

If look so save reduce your power bill check out our article on how to conserve energy.

20. Buy ethically sourced/produced food

If you want to be more eco-conscious pay attention to your food choices. Food accounts for slightly under half of an average household’s eco-footprint. Choosing ethically produced food will reduce your eco-footprint.

Related article: Interesting Facts About the Environment

Commit to Eco-Friendly Shopping Habits

21. Buy loose produce

Buy your vegetables and fruits loose to further reduce your plastic waste. Instead of buying packaged fruit and vegetables, buy them loose. You can pack your produce in small reusable bags.

22. Ask yourself, “how much use will I really get out of this?”

Do you really need another pair of shoes? How about that fancy lamp? If you want to truly commit to sustainabe living, avoid buying stuff just for the sake of it. Shop for stuff that you know for sure you need them and will be using them often and for long. This will reduce wastefulness.

23. Buy products without packaging wherever possible

Carry your reusable bags when you go shopping and buy stuff that comes without packaging and pack them in your bags. If they must be packaged, buy eco-friendly products that come in zero waste produce bags such as recyclable cardboard boxes, reusable jars or containers.

24. Buy in bulk

This is another trick to reduce waste at home. Buying in bulk is friendly to the environment and saves you money. You can buy food in bulk from food stores. Some supermarkets are now offering stations where you can refill your shampoo, soap, and other toiletry items.

25. Shop local

Local shops normally sell products loose thus promoting the use of reusable packaging. So go on support your local economy by shopping at the local farmer’s market or green grocer’s.

26. Invest in high-quality products

While deals may save you money instantly they end up being costly in the long run. Buy high-quality products that are built to last so you don’t have to keep replacing them. Every time you have to replace something you’re contributing to the amount of waste.

27. Buy second-hand

Recycling and reuse is a step in the right direction in an effort to being eco-conscious. Buying preloved items promotes the reduction of waste within a community. You also get to save money.

28. Say no to trends

Trends are exciting and very tempting. The fear of missing out is real, especially where trends are concerned. Before you jump onto the next trendy gadget or fashion ask yourself if you will want that item a year from now.

Switch to Reusable Eco-Friendly Products

29. Use reusable containers

Don’t get tired to carry a water bottle, coffee mug and lunch box with you daily. The environment will love you for it. Store leftovers and your dry cereals in reusable containers instead of plastic disposable ones. Use reusable sandwich bags for lunches.

30. Take eco-friendly bags for grocery shopping

Keep forgetting to carry your reusable grocery bag? Put one reusable bag in every bag that you take out with you and you’ll never forget again. Switching to reusable bags for your grocery shopping can make a huge impact on the environment.

31. Bring your own coffee cup

Instead of buying coffee in a paper or plastic cup every time you need a coffee fix, buy an insulated coffee mug and fill it up at home with your daily coffee. That one plastic/paper cup of coffee daily can quickly accumulate as waste by the end of the year.

32. Swap tea bags for loose leaf tea in a reusable strainer

What most of us don’t know is that tea bags have plastic in them. They may be convenient to use but they do their damage to the environment. Use loose-leaf tea instead. For more ease of use, get a teapot with infuser.

33. Replace dryer sheets with reusable dryer balls

Ditch dryer sheets for dryer balls. The balls help in conserving water and energy as they soak up more water. Your drier thus uses less time and energy to dry your laundry.

34. Use a refillable water bottle

Instead of buying bottled water all the time, buy a good quality non-disposable eco-friendly water bottle and use it on the daily.

35. Rechargeable batteries

Batteries contain extremely toxic chemicals that can cause soil and water pollution. Batteries normally end up in landfills. Reduce this waste by using rechargeable batteries. You’ll save money and the earth.

36. Stainless steel metal straws

Many eateries are replacing plastic disposable straws with usable ones. You can get your own stainless steel set of straws and store them with the rest of your reusable cutlery.

37. Repair your things

When stuff breaks try and repair it first before you decide to throw it out to avoid waste. Check if stuff is fixable before rushing to buy new ones.

38. Use what you have

Practice living an eco friendly lifestyle by always checking around your home for what you already have that can minimize wastage. For instance, if you need to store food away use empty glasses instead of buying plastic storage tins. Also, consume your leftovers instead of throwing them out, as long as they’re still fresh of course.

Up Your Recycling Game

39. Set up a bin system

A bin system is a good way to deal with your general waste and promote recycling. If you don’t have too much space in your kitchen for a sophisticated bin system, a simple plastic tub in the laundry or somewhere else out of the way will do. Remember not to use a plastic bag to hold your recycling in.

40. Recycle right

Stuff that should be recycled around the home includes plastic bottles and containers, paper, cardboard, glass bottles and jars, steel tins and aluminium cans and foil.

41. More than just newspapers can be recycled

Besides your old newspapers, you need to recycle wrapping paper, envelopes, birthday cards, and phone books once you’re done using them for their original purpose.

42. Do not put waste in the recycling bin

Make a continuous effort to always separate your recyclables and waste and put them in the correct bins.

43. Don’t forget the electronic waste

Electronic waste needs to be disposed of and recycled properly. Seek the services of electronic retailers who provide recycling bins for discarded electronic appliances.

44. Donate unused items

I’m pretty sure you have stuff around your home that you no longer want or use. Don’t throw them out, donate them instead. There are people who could use these things.

Ways To Reduce Pollution

45. Start biking or walking

If you’re eco-conscious and want to reduce carbon emission ditch the car and start biking or walking more. You can start small by doing a few errands on the weekends then keep adding to your car-free time.

46. Keep the car in shape

Have your car inspected regularly to reduce carbon emissions, maximize fuel efficiency, and increase the overall operating life of your car. A car in proper shape will emit fewer gases and toxins into the air.

47. Use public transport

The more people take the bus or train, the fewer cars there will be on the road, and the fewer emissions there will be. Another good alternative is to carpool with friends or colleagues.

48. Wash your car on the lawn

As you wash your car you rinse a number of pollutants and detergents. If you wash your car on the street these pollutants end up in the street drain and finally into streams and lakes.

But if you wash your car on the lawn the plants will soak up these pollutants and limit the amount that enters into the street.

49. Dispose of hazardous chemicals properly

These include many household products such as cleaners and paints. Don’t use your drains to dispose of liquid garbage. Take such chemicals to a local waste disposal location. Recycle plastic bottles and aerosol cans.

50. Minimize the use of insecticides, herbicides, and fertilizers

Use such chemicals only when needed. For instance, don’t spray your lawn or garden unless there’s an issue that you specifically need to deal with.

51. Switch to an eco-friendly car

If it’s absolutely impossible to do without your car but you still want to be environmentally friendly while using your car, consider getting the new clean and alternative technologies. Such cars are replacing diesel and petroleum-fueled cars.

Hybrid and electric cars, for instance, have zero or considerably reduced emissions preventing damage to the environment.

52. Try working remotely

This one isn’t for everyone as not every situation allows for remote working. However, if your job allows you to work remotely do so.

This is a really good way to reduce employees’ collective footprint. It reduces carbon emissions as there will be fewer cars on the road, and helps reduce food and plastic waste, as employees can get lunch at home.

Eco-Friendly Food Tips

53. Eat less meat

Meat is not only expensive but also harmful to the environment. Meat production is the greatest carbon emitter among all proteins. You don’t need to be a vegan, just eat more veggies.

54. Grow your own food

You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to grow your own food. Start with cherry tomatoes, salad greens, and green beans. You don’t need a garden to do this, simply grow your foods on a windowsill in flower pots.

55. Don’t waste food

So much food, millions of tonnes, is wasted every year. Buy or cook just what you need to avoid having leftovers.

56. Have your groceries delivered

Instead of having to drive to the supermarket every time you need to buy something, shop online and in bulk and have your stuff delivered at home. This way, you not only reduce your carbon emissions, but you’ll also be less likely to impulse buy which can help to reduce food wastage.

57. Eat more plant-based

Add more plant-based foods into your plate for not only a healthier lifestyle but also a more sustainably conscious lifestyle. Every little change you make will have a large impact.

58. Start a compost pile

Start a compost and compost as much as you can. Instead of using fertilizer, use your compost for your lawn and garden. Most foods that take long to decompose in a landfill, take just a couple of months in a compost pile.

59. Be particular about the fish you eat

Popular fish is overharvested so that it can make it to your plate. This affects ocean ecosystems. Try and reduce your fish intake and add more textured vegetable protein.

Eco Travel Tips

60. Seek out green options

If you love traveling and do so quite often, spend your nights in hotels that use renewable energy, and recycle or compost waste. Stay in places that support conservation such as ecolodges. Such hotels are designed to have very little impact on the environment and help support sustainable tourism.

61. Avoid animal exploitation

Be a responsible traveler and visit animals in their own natural habitats instead of zoos that hold animals in captivity. Animal rides and wildlife performances are also destroying wildlife. Don’t support this.

62. Offset your impact

Book fuel-efficient airlines as you travel the world and reduce your carbon footprints. Instead of booking business or first class seats all the time, fly economy and use the price difference to support conservation. Donate to a company to invest in an eco-conscious project, such as renewable energy or tree planting.

63. Do not purchase or eat endangered species

Indulging in local delicacies and artifacts as you travel the world is lots of fun. However, you need to be mindful of what you pay for. Don’t buy food made from endangered species such as turtle egg soup or buy illegal-trade animal souvenirs made from seashells or ivory.

64. Don’t litter

Littering is one of those habits that we all should strive to quit whether at home or abroad. Throw away your trash appropriately. If you can avoid having any trash in the first place the better.

65. Take public transit

Ditch taxis and rentals for local public transportation to move around when you’re in a foreign city. This will decrease your carbon footprint considerably.

66. Reduce energy consumption

Do your best to reduce your energy consumption during your travels. Some good energy-conservation habits include turning off lights, unplugging your chargers, using water sparingly, etc.

Save Water

67. Choose efficient fixtures

We waste so much water around the home without consciously knowing. Install efficiency-enhancing fixtures, aerate your faucets, install a low-flow showerhead, get a low-flow toilet, and use energy-efficient dishwasher and washing machine to save water around the home.

68. Install water-saving showerheads

Showers, though necessary, waste so much water. Install a low-flow showerhead and reduce the amount of water used for showers. Water-saving showerheads use only 3 gallons of water per minute.

69. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge

Do you always run tap water to cool it off for drinking? You’re not alone, we all do it without even thinking about it. Unfortunately, it is wasteful. Store drinking water in the fridge in a safe drinking bottle and have it cool every time you need to quench your thirst.

70. Place a cistern-displacement device in your toilet tank

Stuff such as pebbles and sand in two plastic bottles will reduce the amount of water used per flush. Take care not to place the bottles on the operating mechanisms.

71. Use every drop. Learn to repurpose water

There are so many ways you can reuse water around the home. Rinse your veggies and fruits and reuse that water to water your garden. Redirect water from your bathroom to your toilet tank and use it for flushing the toilet. Water from the washing machine can be recycled and used to wash the car.

72. Water by hand

If you have a small garden, water it by hand instead of using a hose. Watering by hand uses 33 percent less water than hose pipes.

73. Get a low-flush toilet

Typically, a household will flush the toilet on average 5,000 times per year. Old-style flush systems use about 3 gallons of water compared to just one gallon of water for a modern flush system. So use modern low-flush systems and save water.

Related article: Eco Friendly Stats

74. Shower bucket

So much water is wasted as you shower. Place a bucket under the showerhead while you wait for your shower water to heat up. Use this water to water your plants, flush your toilet or wash your car.

75. Fix your leaks

It may just be a drop but it will add up to gallons of water lost. Fix all leaks around your home or get a plumber to do and save water.

76. Cut your showers short

The more time you spend in the shower the more water you use. Take shorter showers to save more water. Also, don’t let the water run as you soap up. Turn on the tap when rinsing yourself.

77. Don’t run the dishwasher or washing machine until it’s full

Who doesn’t love a sparkly kitchen! Putting your dirty dishes in the washer as you use them will give you a clean sink but it’s a waste of water. Instead, run your dishwasher or only when it’s full.

78. Keep an eye on your bill to spot leaks

Did your water bill not make any sense this month? No, it’s not you using more water, you probably have a leak somewhere. Check your pipes for any leaks and have them repaired immediately.

79. Water outdoor plants in the early morning

Watering your plants in the morning requires less water as the temperatures are cooler. Evaporation is less in the morning compared to evenings so less water is wasted.

80. Install a rain barrel

We lose so much rainwater that we could otherwise use. Harvest roof water from gutters and downspouts and use it around the home.

For more ways on minimising your water usage read out article on how to save water.

Eco-Friendly Energy Tips

81. Turn your refrigerator down

Your fridge consumes about 13.7% of all your home energy. Reduce the amount of energy your fridge uses by setting it at 37 degrees Fahrenheit. Your freezer should be set to 3 degrees Fahrenheit in order to consume less energy.

82. Use energy-efficient light bulbs

Energy-saving CFL or LED bulbs are the best when it comes to consuming energy used to light your home. Install these bulbs and reduce your lighting energy by around 25-35 percent.

83. Install a timer for your water heater

Install a timer for your water heater and set it to automatically turn off your heater whenever you leave home for an extended period as well as at night when you don’t need hot water. This way, you get to save energy and your electricity bill.

84. Add an insulating blanket to older water heaters

Old model water heaters lose a lot of energy through standby heat. Cover your heater with an insulating blanket to reduce the amount of energy needed for standby heat loss. You can reduce energy by 25%–45% and save about 4%–9% in water heating costs.

85. Turn off incandescent lights when you are not in the room

Make it a habit to switch off lights as soon as you leave a room. Incandescent bulbs are especially high consumers of energy so keep them on for as long as necessary and turn them off when not in use.

86. Save money with solar energy

Switching to solar energy may be expensive at first but over time you get to save so much money compared to using electricity and gas. Solar energy once installed is actually almost free and environmentally friendly.

87. Shut doors and close curtains

It may seem pretty obvious and mundane to do this but yes it helps to conserve energy around the home. Shut doors and curtains in areas you’re not using even during the day. Also, always cool or heat just the rooms where you spend the most time.

88. Set the water heater to the lowest comfortable setting

You don’t need to set your water heater at a high degree, especially if you’re just a few people in your home. The recommended setting is around 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

89. Turn off all appliances and electronics, not in use

Turning off appliances and electronics not in use is another everyday habit that will save you a lot of energy. You can also use power strips that efficiently distribute energy to your appliances when in use wasting less energy.

90. Wash clothes in cold water

You don’t need to wash clothes in hot water. This is just a waste of energy. Use the cold setting on your washing machine and you’ll save around $115 every year. You can put that money into better use.

91. Air-dry dishes and clothes

Yes, a dryer means less work but it also means more energy and higher electricity bills. Let your dishes air-dry instead of using your dishwasher’s drying feature. Hang your clothes outside to dry.

92. Clean or replace air filters

Air conditioners and heaters use a lot more energy if the air filters are dirty. Keep a regular cleaning and replacement schedule to ensure the filters are always clean and working properly.

93. Install motion-activated light switches

You don’t need lights to stay on all the time, especially in areas that are rarely used. Increase energy efficiency by installing motion-activated light switches in such areas. Kids may often forget to switch off lights when they leave a room so motion-activated lights will be a perfect solution.

Other Eco-Friendly Tips

94. Consume less

We accumulate so much waste through our consumer habits. Many of us are guilty of buying stuff just because they look good at the moment. To truly live an eco-friendly lifestyle, practice buying just want you NEED. The less you consume, the less there will be to waste.

95. Eliminate single-use

A lot of the plastic we use around the home and office is for single use. A lot of plastic utensils, paper napkins, and plastic water bottles end up in the trash. Where you can, replace everything you use once with reusable items.

96. Ditch the paper towels

Paper towels are quite convenient for drying your hands but a huge problem for the environment. 571,230,000 pounds of paper is thrown in the trash each year. Use sponges and washable cloths instead.

97. Plan your meals

This is a smart trick to reduce food wastage. By planning your meals before you start making them, you’ll know exactly what to buy and avoid having excess food in the fridge that may go bad in a few days. This habit will also encourage you to cook at home more and avoid takeout.

98. Bring your lunch to work

Just like you pack lunches for your kids, pack yours for the office as well. As notes, disposable lunches generate 100 pounds of trash per person each year. Pack your lunch and reduce trash.

99. Go paperless for all your bills

We live in a digital era where almost everything we need is available on our phones or computers. Cancel all your paper bills and bank statements and instead subscribe to receive them online.

100. Go digital

An employee uses on average two pounds of paper every day. So many people are still using too much paper even though we are in the digital era. Take notes on your laptop instead of a notepad. Use email instead of paper when communicating with your colleagues.

101. Use the cloud instead of memory sticks or external drives

The cloud has made our lives so much easier when it comes to accessing files and documents. Ditch the old school memory sticks and external drives that cannot be recycled and save all your files on the cloud. Google Drive, iCloud and Dropbox are good file storage and sharing services.

102. But an e-reader

Are you a book hoarder? Did you forget about the last couple of copies of Reader’s Digest? Clearly, you don’t need them. Donate old books and magazines to your local library.

103. Clean with bamboo fiber cleaning cloths

Microfiber cloths contain non-recyclable microplastics that are harmful to the environment. Clean surfaces and floors with bamboo-fiber cloths which are more eco-friendlier.

104. Stop junk mail

Take a look at your mail and weed out all the subscriptions you have that you no longer need. All those envelopes that you throw out without even opening need to stop coming in the mail. Cancel them.

105. Buy recycled furniture

Stores are now stocking beautiful furniture made from recycled wood, or other eco-friendly materials. You don’t need to go to a big brand furniture store to buy something beautiful for your home.

So you see, being eco-friendly doesn’t have to be so difficult to make it an everyday reality.

This list may seem overwhelming but we just want you to see all the possibilities. Choose a few things that are doable for you. It doesn’t matter how many you choose as long as you get started today!

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  Stella - Writer

Stella is a writer and mother from Thika, Kenya.

Her love for nature and the beautiful Kenyan outdoors has inspired Stella to consciously make an effort to lead a more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle.