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Sustainable Living: A Guide to An Eco-Friendly Lifestyle
Grandson helping with kitchen waste for composting
Purpose

Sustainable Living: A Guide to An Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

Start protecting our planet today!

When you think of the term "eco-friendly," saving every shred of plastic and spending lots of time managing your recycling bins may come to mind.

However, living an eco-friendly life doesn't necessarily have to mean going to extremes. Being more environmentally conscious can start with small changes and adjustments to your daily habits. 


Knowing where to start can be half the battle when it comes to living an eco-friendlier lifestyle. With information constantly changing and evolving the conversation on the best methods to live more sustainably, it can be hard to keep up. 

Here's a look at how to live an eco-friendlier lifestyle – why these changes help and how to start implementing them in a manageable way. 

1. Evaluate and monitor your purchases

How many times have you purchased a bag of lettuce or meat that was on sale with the best of intentions, only to forget about it and throw it out when it's spoiled days later? Impulse shopping can feel inevitable – it can be hard to turn down a good price on an item that we don't necessarily need but might use down the line. However, the more often we purchase what we don't need, the more we're contributing to waste. 

One way to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle is to make a conscious effort to avoid impulse purchases. Get clear on the products your household uses most often and take note of things that have remained on your shelf. From there, it'll be easier to curb impulsivity when shopping. 

monitoring purchases
(Getty)

2. Invest in eco-friendly energy 

Small changes like switching to eco-friendly lightbulbs and appliances can go a long way in preserving energy. Investing in smart plugs is also an easy way to automate energy use – programming them to shut off when not in use such as at night or when you're away from home is not only beneficial for the environment but can help cut costs on your energy bill as well.

3.  Recycle

Recycling is likely the first thing that comes to mind when you think about how to live more sustainably. While recycling does require additional effort and learning upfront, once you're in the habit of recycling it's a fairly straightforward process. Learn about your town's recycling policies and schedule, and make sure to follow protocol for recyclable materials and how to separate them, 

4. Reduce plastic use

Even if you're recycling plastic materials, avoiding the use of plastics when possible can be beneficial to the environment as well. Whether you're bringing your own bag rather than relying on plastic ones when shopping, making a conscious effort to purchase goods that are packaged in recycled material or foregoing the use of a plastic straw, being mindful of plastic use helps benefit the environment. 

reusable straw
(Getty)

5. Start composting

Composting is an environmentally friendly way to turn food waste into fertilizer. If you have a garden, starting a compost pile to fertilize your plants with is an easy way to keep your garden thriving without having to pay for fertilizer while also helping the environment. That's a triple win. If gardening isn't your thing, it’s likely that your town may have a community composting pile that you can contribute to. 

6. Eat less meat and dairy

The less animal products we consume the better it is for the environment. Making this lifestyle change can be challenging, so start small. Adopting a "meatless Monday" routine or aiming to make at least one meal out of your day meatless is a great place to start. With so many meat and dairy alternatives on the market, there are plenty of options to help fill the void. 

7. Don't use disposable products

Disposable products can make cleaning up easier. But relying on plastic utensils and paper plates constantly can really add up – and can add to environmental waste. When possible, opt for reusable products to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. 

8. Reduce water waste

Monitoring water consumption helps benefit the environment – and certain changes can help cut your costs and expenses as well. Instead of purchasing bottled water, consider investing in a water filter for your home. This helps limit plastic use and also provides a more cost-efficient way to stay hydrated. To help manage water use, consider investing in a low-flow showerhead. If you live in a home with a large family you'll be surprised at the difference switching out showerheads in your home can make toward your monthly water bill. 

9. Cut down on vehicle use

biking to work
(Getty)

Depending on where you live, having a car is likely a necessity for commuting to work and running errands. However, finding small ways to use your car less can make a big difference for the environment. If you drive to work, consider carpooling with a coworker who lives nearby. Even doing so once per week can have an impact. Consider using public transportation when it makes sense and see if there are opportunities to walk or bike to destinations during the week. For example, if you're visiting a friend who lives within walking or biking distance, take advantage of this and bike or walk over when the weather permits. 

10. Borrow instead of buy where possible

When you get down to it, we only use many households, gardening and even entertainment products a handful of times. Renting or borrowing when possible helps cut down on consumption and eliminate waste. Before purchasing a new snowblower or carpet cleaner, evaluate how often you use this device and whether or not it truly makes sense to own rather than borrow. You may find that doing so even has cost saving benefits for your household overall. 

Summary

Protecting our planet is important now and for future generations. The habits we adopt today can make our world a better place in the long run, so it's important that we all do our part when possible to help improve the environment. Adopt eco-friendly habits and stay up to date on best practices for sustainable living. There are plenty of resources and non-profit groups like Green America dedicated to furthering these efforts and continuing to educate others. Start with small changes and continue working toward an eco-friendly lifestyle. 

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