50 Simple Ways to Live Sustainably

by Christina Cannes

Sustainable living doesn’t have to be extreme. For most of us, it’s impossible to go from our current lives to a zero-waste, solar powered pod with bikes for transportation and a bountiful home garden—although that would be awesome!

Living sustainably involves doing whatever you can to reduce your waste and carbon emissions by using whatever means you have available. Basically, do the best you can with what you have and you’re a super star! Here are some ideas to get you started—remember, it’s the small steps and changes that add up.

  1. Recycle everything that can possibly be recycled—for a guide on recycling, go here.
  2. Compost, compost, compost—it’s super easy and we’ve put together a guide for you here.
  3. Complete an energy audit of your home and discover ways to save energy and water (and money)!
  4. Turn electricals off at the power point—those red lights on your TV use power.
  5. Skip the daily meat intake (especially beef) and opt for veggies and fruit instead. Cows are one of the biggest producers of greenhouse gas + they eat crazy amounts of grass and grain + many aren’t treated very well. ****
  6. Use cold water when washing dishes and clothes. Also, opt for the ½ cycle option on your washing machine and dishwasher to reduce the cleaning time, thus power and water usage—don’t worry, your stuff still gets cleaned!
  7. Make your own cleaning products using bi-carb, vinegar, water, eucalyptus oil and a pinch of salt! Wipe down surfaces using up-cycled rags.
  8. Just say no to takeaway containers—bring your own re-usable containers as an alternative (ask the restaurant if they will use your containers—we do this for sushi all the time in Noosaville).
  9. Only use the half-flush on the toilet—no matter what!
  10. Take shorter showers and use a bucket to collect water for plants and other washing (do you need to run the water while you shave?).
  11. Install water saving shower heads and taps.
  12. Install solar panels and solar hot water.
  13. Invest in cloth serviettes and towels to avoid using and buying paper products.
  14. Buy used—shop on gumtree, eBay and freecycle first. Hit up local opp shops and vintage stores.
  15. Donate all unwanted items to opp shops or freecycle or sell on ebay and gumtree. Your rubbish is someone else’s treasure!
  16. Opt for bills and bank statements to be sent via email and put a NO JUNK MAIL sticker on your post box.
  17. Determine how green your electricity provider is—can you do better? Click here to find out more.
  18. Replace all bulbs with LEDs.
  19. Never use the clothes dryer unless it’s been raining for several weeks and you have no underwear—even then, just go commando!
  20. Don’t use plastic bin bags—just throw you stuff in the plastic tub and give the bin a wash when you empty it each week. That being said, if you’re composting, your bin shouldn’t be that nasty anyways!
  21. Complete a closet audit—re-work your wardrobe so you won’t need to purchase new items. What can you sew up or re-design? Always, always, always buy from sustainable fashion outlets who use natural fibres or re-purposed materials. For a guide to sustainable fashion go here.
  22. If your outfit isn’t stained and doesn’t stink, wear it twice in the same week! I dare you…
  23. Grow your own veggies, fruits and herbs—yum!
  24. Buy from local farmer’s markets and local, independent grocery stories to reduce the distance the food travels.
  25. Adopt some chickens and use them as cute pets, egg makers, scrap eaters and fertilizer producers!
  26. Always use re-usable shopping bags—big no to plastic bags.
  27. Always use your own keep-cup for coffee and tea—say no to takeaways.
  28. Always use your own re-usable water bottle and never buy plastic water bottles.
  29. Buy in bulk and purchase items that are not packaged and wrapped in plastic.
  30. Purchase white goods with great energy ratings.
  31. Hair dryers are for people who still live in the 1980s.
  32. Facial and baby wipes are the earth’s mortal enemy (those old fashioned wash cloths work great!).
  33. If you’re printing posters, business cards or other business promotional materials, opt for 100% recycled.
  34. Buy recycled paper for your printer.
  35. Don’t buy printed magazines—read them online.
  36. Work from home if possible to avoid commuting.
  37. Opt for paperless and use scanners and email to send information.
  38. Unplug all computers and turn off the Wi-Fi before going to bed.
  39. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need or eat food that isn’t good for you—it won’t bring you happiness or make you feel fulfilled.
  40. Always ask yourself, can I walk or bike? Leaving the car at home is always best!
  41. Never use plastic straws.
  42. Borrow—if you need something ask your neighbour—don’t go buy it!
  43. Donate time and money to local environmental organisations.
  44. Feeling stressed from too much work? How about you leave that wine bottle in the fridge and go for a nice walk or a refreshing swim?
  45. Carpool to school and work or take public transport.
  46. If you want a book, check the local library, buy from a local used book seller or use a tablet or kindle.
  47. When in doubt, plant trees. Trees are awesome oxygen makers and shade-providers!
  48. Cloth nappies—you’ll save the earth and thousands of dollars a year!
  49. And for the ladies, use a menstrual cup and period underwear. Tampons and pads are a waste!
  50. Rainwater tanks—any size, any shape, just collect it!

    ***we do not claim to be doctors, scientists, dieticians or nutritionists. we support local farmers and organic food producers who treat their animals ethically and humanely.

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