This post first appeared in our weekly Make Waves Mondays email series on March 27, 2023.
Okay friend - Earth Month is just a few days away AND it’s time for another edition of Small Change Big Impact - our monthly mini-series within Make Waves Mondays where we talk about [seemingly] small ways we can make changes in our daily lives that actually have a huge impact for the planet.
AND our new [free] Earth Month workshop series, The EcoWarrior Mindset, starts next Wednesday!
👉 If you haven’t claimed your spot yet, you absolutely should. It’s free, and even if you can’t make it live, if you’re registered, you’ll get all the replays within 24 hours.
So with all these things happening all at once, I wanted to do something a wee bit different with this month’s Small Change Big Impact.
This month, I did an audit of all the random things I do in a day to live more sustainably that I honestly don’t even notice anymore.
Living sustainably isn’t a checklist or a to-do list ❌
It’s a shift in mindset that helps us see the world as it could be.
A shift that helps us identify our core values and live in alignment with those values.
A shift that takes going zero waste from something we have to do, to something we embody.
And it’s not just for the ultra-eco-hippies of the world.
You don’t need to move to the woods and live naked off the grid to have a sustainable life.
You don’t need to sell your car and Lime scooter everywhere in the snow.
You don’t need to donate every “unsustainable” thing in your home and spend your life savings on new “eco” things.
✨ It’s our small choices, every day, that add up to the big stuff.
Here’s what this list ISN’T:
This list is not your cookie-cutter “X ways to be more sustainable in everyday life,” with things like 5 minute showers, switching to LED lightbulbs, and going vegan. We’ve all seen those lists. We know shorter showers save a ton of water. We know LEDs save a ton of energy. We know vegan diets save a ton of emissions.
We don’t need another list telling us these things.
What this list IS:
This list is a compilation of the random things I do and random things I use on a daily (or dang near daily) basis that have had real, tangible, impacts in reducing my waste - whether wasted time, energy, or money. These are small changes that help me practice sustainability without having to think about it all the time.
Because this list is specific to my life, some of the things I do may not be relevant to you. But my hope is that it will help you find your next one eco-action to try.
So once you’ve read through the list, here’s what I want you to do:
Choose ONE thing you’re going to do to practice sustainability in your life this week. And once you’ve picked that one thing, I want you to comment below and tell me what it is so I can cheer you on! 🥳
Deal?? Okay sweet 🤗
So let’s get into it, then!
60+ Ways to Practice Sustainability Every Day
🍓 Kitchen + Food
- Make my morning coffee in a French press
- Compost my coffee grounds (sometimes I use them to make a DIY body scrub!)
- Store leftover cat food in an old plastic macaroni salad container
- Properly recycle all of my cat food tins (toss the lid, rinse thoroughly and recycle the can)
- Use my dishwasher as much as possible (with eco-friendly dishwasher pods and without heated dry turned on)
- Hand wash dishes with a solid dish soap bar and a natural loofah
- Keep glass bottles of water in the fridge so I don’t have to wait for the tap to get cold
- Save veggie scraps to make veggie broth
- Don’t preheat my oven
- Store produce in Veggie Saver produce bags
- Store herbs in a glass jar of water
- Save old jars for reuse (and properly recycle any that I can’t use)
- Always choose unpackaged produce at the grocery store whenever possible
- Shop the bulk bins whenever possible (for things like dry goods, seasonings, olive oil, etc.)
- Store leftovers in reusable Tupperware, Pyrex, and mason jars
- Use beeswax wraps to wrap food and dishes instead of saran wrap or tin foil
- Always use cloth napkins
- Use reusable towels / Swedish dishcloths / unpaper towels instead of paper towels
- Reuse paper napkins I’ve accumulated instead of buying paper towels for grosser things like pet messes
- Know the difference between use by / best by / sell by dates and what they all mean
- Brush my teeth with a bamboo toothbrush and toothpaste tablets
- Wash my face with a natural charcoal face bar
- Use organic witch hazel as a daily facial toner
- Moisturize daily with a refillable facial moisturizer
- Moisturize nightly with a refillable skin serum
- Wash my hair with refillable natural shampoo
- Condition my hair with a conditioner bar
- Once a week use a refillable clarifying conditioner to remove buildup
- Shave with a stainless steel safety razor and package free shave soap bar
- Use zero waste bar soaps for hand washing and body wash
- Use aluminum-free natural deodorant in a cardboard tube
- Use locally-made calendula salve and refillable body lotion after shower
- Use a washcloth or sisal soap saver bag instead of a plastic loofah
- Use reusable period undies instead of disposable pads and tampons
- Use 100% recycled toilet paper *
- Use cotton handkerchiefs instead of tissues (that I thrifted from a local vintage shop or were handed down from my grandma)
- Use refillable mascara instead of a disposable brand
* This is an affiliate link for Who Gives a Crap toilet paper that will save you $10 on your first order. I only ever promote brands that I truly love and use personally.
- Wear thrifted and gifted clothes from friends rather than buying new
- Wear clothes multiple times before washing
- Always wash my laundry on cold with a natural, refillable laundry detergent
- Hang dry all of my laundry except undies, socks, towels, and bedsheets
- Always use at least three reusable wool dryer balls when I tumble dry my laundry
📝 Office + General Home
- Unplug electronics (including the charger itself) when fully charged
- Open my window blinds to use as much natural light as possible throughout the day and minimize turning on lights. (I hardly actually turn on my lights until it’s actually dark outside.)
- Work from home (or from my coworking space, Surge Tacoma)
- Unsubscribe from unwanted emails rather than just deleting
- Buy used books (usually)
- Borrow audiobooks from the library (I love the Libby and Hoopla apps)
- Check my Buy Nothing Group for things I need before buying new
- Use colored pencils instead of highlighters
- Use wooden dry erase markers instead of plastic markers
- Use a printer that was gifted to me from my Buy Nothing Group
- Take my empty ink cartridges to Office Depot for recycling
- Clean my apartment with zero waste and DIY cleaning products
🛍️ Outside the Home
- Use refillable, reef-safe sunscreen
- Walk to the grocery store whenever I can
- Walk to the gym whenever I can
- Always carry reusable straws and utensils with me
- Always keep a compact shopping bag in my purse
- Keep shopping bags (including produce bags) in the car
- Run errands on delivery days (adding stops to my optimized delivery route reduces and nearly eliminates my need to drive the rest of the week)
- Carry a reusable water bottle with me everywhere I go
- Use what I have first (for example, I use a mason jar to water my houseplants instead of buying a watering can)
- Let things come to me at the right time (I don’t buy something as soon as I think I want it. If I’ve gotten by this long without that thing, I probably don’t need it right away. But if I come across one in a thrift shop at some point, then I’ll bring it into my life.)
- Invest in sustainable stocks
- Contribute to my Buy Nothing Group before donating, recycling, or throwing something away
- Wrap gifts in reusable organic cotton furoshiki wraps
- Take my recycling to the recycling center. Especially since I live in an apartment, my building’s recycling bins are typically full of contaminated recycling or wish-cycling. Taking my recycling directly to the recycling center ensures that the things I’m taking are making it to the proper bins with minimal to no contamination.
So, friend, what’s the ONE THING you’re gonna do this week to be more sustainable? Comment below and tell me what it is so I can cheer you on! 🥳
(And then go sign up for our free workshop series, The EcoWarrior Mindset, to continue building on that momentum!)