50 Free Little Changes To Live Sustainably colorful socks hanging outside on a clothesline as a greener way to dry laundry

50 (FREE!) Little Changes to Live Sustainably


Introduction

So you want to live sustainably, but you don’t have much money to invest in all those zero waste swaps. Sometimes it looks like you need to spend green to be green. That’s definitely not the case!

Anyone can start reducing their footprint for free. I’ve compiled a list of 50 completely free ways to shop smarter, reduce resource use, extend the life of items you have, and reduce waste. Some of them will even SAVE you money!

Shopping

  1. Forego plastic bags when only buying a couple items
  2. Bring reusable bags shopping (any bag will do if you don’t have an actual “reusable” bag)
  3. Don’t give in to impulse buys
  4. Swap and trade with members of the community instead of always buying new
  5. Check your library before buying a new book, movie, video game, etc.
  6. Try your hand at repairing an item instead of tossing and rebuying (YouTube is a gold mine!)
  7. Ask for plastic-free packaging or reused packaging for online purchases
  8. Properly dispose of that packaging, recycle it, or return it to a UPS for reuse

Groceries and Cooking

  1. Choose imperfect produce to prevent it from being thrown out by the grocery store
  2. Skip the thin produce bag at the grocery store
  3. Plan meals to avoid overbuying/buying what you don’t need
  4. Avoid going to the grocery store while hungry
  5. Freeze and/or properly store foods to extend their freshness
  6. Skip meat once a week (or more!)
  7. Skip preheating the oven
  8. Use the toaster oven or microwave instead of the oven

In the Home

  1. Turn off the lights when not in use
  2. Utilize natural light over turning on a lamp during the day
  3. Turn off water when not directly using it (brushing, washing dishes)
  4. Flush only when necessary
  5. Put a stone/water jug in the toilet tank to reduce amount of water per flush
  6. Turn up/down heat and A/C a couple degrees
  7. Unplug small appliances when not in use
  8. Keep freezer and fridge full (use water jugs to fill in extra space)
  9. Learn to sew and mend your clothing
  10. Use both sides of the paper
  11. Donate anything you aren’t using and will not use in the future
  12. Upcycle objects you would otherwise throw out
  13. Use newspaper to wrap gifts or re-use gift bags

Cleaning

  1. Only run washing machine and dishwasher on full loads
  2. Wash on cold or warm instead of hot
  3. Air dry your clothing
  4. Use a wash rag instead of a sponge (any old cloth will do)
  5. Reuse old clothing or towels for cleaning rags
  6. Don’t shower every day (or at least take shorter showers)
  7. Shower with a friend
  8. Fill a bucket in the shower while waiting for the water to warm up and use to to water plants, do dishes, or flush the toilet
  9. Pick up litter you find outside

Out and About

  1. If it’s close, walk or bike there
  2. Don’t use the automatic doors if you don’t need to
  3. Take the stairs over the elevator if possible
  4. Say no to straws and plastic utensils at restaurants
  5. Use a reusable water bottle/bring a thermos or mug to get coffee
  6. Carry around a fork/spoon/knife from your kitchen drawer
  7. Refuse freebies and flyers, coupons, business cards, etc. (take a photo instead!)
  8. Use less paper towels (or none at all!) in public bathrooms to dry your hands

Company Choices

  1. Research companies before buying from them
  2. Contact companies about their practices and encourage them to do better
  3. Sign up for online billing
  4. Cut junk mail with optoutprescreen.com, DMAchoice.org, or contacting companies directly

Conclusion

Do you have any other free tips to share and help others live sustainably? Let’s keep this list going in the comments below!

Check out my post What More Can You Do For Our Future? for more ways to get involved without spending money.

50 Free Little Changes To Live Sustainably colorful socks hanging outside on a clothesline as a greener way to dry laundry


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