Every year, I pledge to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. I raise my right hand and pledge to reduce, reuse, recycle and never leave the water running while I brush my teeth. And every year I make a solid effort, but nobody’s perfect. Because let’s be honest, convenience and cost outweigh our good intentions sometimes and all of the “greenwashing” marketing out there can be hard to sift through (Seriously, is everything toxic?).
But making an effort to incorporate more eco-friendly practices into our daily lives is still an important goal for me and my family. The key, for me, is to begin with small changes and make more once those become habits.
Here are some simple swaps I’m using to get on a greener path. Pick one, two, or however many make sense for you and how you live:
- Ditch the dryer sheets.
Throwing in a dryer sheet with every load is something you probably do on autopilot by now. Wool dryer balls give the same results and can be reused hundreds of times. Of course, you can also save electricity by line drying your clothes whenever you can.
- Pass on plastic bags.
Be honest, how many free-with-purchase/attendance tote bags have you collected? Keep a stash in your trunk or close to the front door so they’re always ready for shopping runs.
- Be pickier about paper products.
For essentials like toilet paper (early 2020 flashback coming in hot) and other paper products like disposable kitchen towels, I try to choose biodegradable or recycled options. Organizations like Who Gives a Crap also help you give back with every roll.
- Look for reusable beauty alternatives.
How many cotton balls do you go through during your daily beauty routine? Probably more than you think. I switched to a washable makeup remover made from cotton to remove my makeup and apply lotion.
- Rethink your cleaning products.
All those plastic bottles of household cleaner you go through in a year add up to a lot of single-use plastic. Make the switch to reusable plastic or glass options you just fill with tap water and a premade cleansing concentrate and boom, you’re ready to clean.
- Consider composting.
Food scraps don’t have to be food waste (or stink up your house). No matter the type or size of your home, there are a range of composting containers to help you get started.
- Store your food differently.
Have you noticed reducing single-use plastic is a big theme here? There are some great silicone options I grabbed to replace those food storage bags in my cupboard. They come in all sizes and can just be thrown in the dishwasher. They’re also great for packing toiletries or delicate items while traveling.
- Jar it up.
Building on the last item, glass mason jars are for more than artisanal cocktails and barn chic wedding decor. They’ve been used for eons as food storage, with good reason. I use them to store leftovers, homemade dressings, smoothies, and more.
- Get more done on foot.
One of the biggest ways we negatively impact the environment is by driving. Make an effort to walk when handling your errands and you’ll cross items off your to-do list while getting some exercise.
- Recycle, recycle, recycle.
This is the one everyone already knows but it bears repeating. In addition to recycling metal, glass, plastic, paper, and cardboard, think about the unused items in your home. Clothing, bedding, home decor, that fitness DVD you bought from an infomercial you’re tired of cursing your way through … a lot of these items end up in landfills when they could be donated or sold to someone who will give them a second life. Earn some green by being green? That’s a win-win.
And while we are trying our best, I also look to support businesses that are producing less waste and producing items in a more environmentally friendly way.
What are some of your favorite eco-friendly tricks and swaps? Share them with me in the comments.