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13 Tips for a More Sustainable Lifestyle

13 Tips for a More Sustainable Lifestyle

Here are 13 easy tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint and live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Mateos Glen Hayes


7 min read

February 16, 2023

There are plenty of strong reasons to adopt a sustainable lifestyle. Living sustainably will improve your quality of life, help you save money, reduce your carbon footprint, and leave the world healthier for the next generation. Learning to reduce our carbon footprint seems like a hefty undertaking at first, but small steps often lead to larger, more sustainable lifelong habits. Many of the changes we need to make involve adjustments to everyday habits.

If you’re looking for simple changes you can make at home right now, these 13 sustainable lifestyle examples can help you make a positive impact on the planet. Small, but important, changes like purchasing environmentally friendly products; utilizing reusable products you already have; and lowering your daily water and energy consumption can go a long way.

Ditch Single-Use Plastics 

Use a durable reusable metal bottle instead of buying bottled water in plastic bottles.

The short answer to how to live a sustainable lifestyle is to reduce waste as much as possible. In 2019, California became the first state to ban full-service restaurants from handing out single-use plastic straws unless the customer asks for one. Plastic straws are still necessary and quite useful for many people, including those with disabilities. However, there are more eco-friendly alternatives that can be adopted for the majority of situations. Instead of getting plastic straws at a restaurant or store, adopt a more sustainable lifestyle and buy reusable straws made of metal or wood. These are simple alternatives that function the same and can be washed and reused many times. 

Plastic straws are destructive to the environment because they take well over 100 years to decompose. The same goes for plastic water bottles. Instead of buying single-use bottled water, go for a durable stainless steel or glass bottle. Not only is this a cost-saving investment, but they are convenient and can be used for a wider variety of drinks. Many California-based outdoor companies offer quality reusable bottles for exactly this purpose. 

Swap Out Single-Use Paper Products 

Another adjustment to make for anyone trying to adopt a sustainable lifestyle is to stop buying disposable paper towels and napkins. Instead, invest in some reusable cloth alternatives. There are a number of materials that are used from cotton to bamboo. Cloth napkins and towels can be used many times and after a washing machine cycle, they’re good as new. You can cut down on the garbage your household produces by ditching paper products for sustainable alternatives. 

Bring Your Own Bag 

Ditch plastic bags and go with a nice reusable canvas bag for your next grocery run.

Next time you go to the grocery store, bring your own bag. According to the Earth Policy Institute, a trillion single-use plastic bags are used every year worldwide. That’s nearly two million plastic bags a minute and all of the plastic ends up in a landfill or our oceans. 

Single-use plastic bags are being phased out in California in favor of recyclable and compostable alternatives. Ditch the bag fee at the grocery store and purchase a reusable bag. Many stores offer durable reusable canvas bags perfect for those seeking a more sustainable lifestyle. Reusable bags are much larger than standard paper bags, so you can carry more but waste less.  Plus they can be pretty stylish, turning your walk back to the car into a runway show.

Make Your Grocery Runs Greener 

Although it’s a good start, making your grocery runs greener is about more than just getting rid of plastic bags. You can bring other reusable items like glass jars and containers from home. These are quite useful for bulk items such as nuts, coffee beans, and grains. These hacks come with plenty of the nice benefits of an eco-friendly lifestyle including lower costs, foodstuffs that stay fresher for longer, and a lower carbon footprint.  

You can reduce your plastic waste by only buying whole fruits and veggies rather than precut packaged ones. This might occasionally be less convenient, but it’s significantly better for the environment. You should also vote with your dollar when you can, meaning choose eco-friendly products from California brands that are committed to lowering their carbon footprint and fair trade. San Francisco’s Dandelion Chocolate and Ritual Coffee Roasters are two great examples of California-based producers that deserve your support. 

Opt For an Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaner 

While they are a great convenience for many people, dry cleaners unfortunately tend to use harmful chemicals that are not compatible with a sustainable lifestyle. Instead of using traditional dry cleaners, opt for an eco-friendly dry cleaning service for clean clothes and the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your convenience does not have to conflict with a sustainable lifestyle. There is now a range of eco-friendly dry cleaners that have sprouted up in most of California’s cities; There are more new options each year.   

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Buy Green Products 

Choose green beauty and fashion products from environmentally conscious companies that are committed to free trade and use sustainable materials.

If you’re stuck wondering how to live a sustainable lifestyle, take an audit of the products you purchase. Think about how you can make more environmentally conscious decisions. Go through your wardrobe and look for eco-friendly fashion brands. There are plenty of ways to lower your carbon footprint by shopping for green consumer goods. From buying natural skin care products and non-toxic nail polish to purchasing ethically made shoes and eco-friendly swimwear, there are many products perfect for a fashionable sustainable lifestyle. 

Make Your Takeout and Food Delivery Game Greener 

Refrain from using plastic utensils, and opt to reuse and recycle takeout bags and containers instead of throwing them in the trash.

We all like to grab some grub for takeout or get a pizza delivered from time to time, but this can unfortunately be bad for the environment. However, mindfulness can save the day and make your food deliveries greener. Even something as simple as not getting plastic utensils and straws, reusing takeout containers when you can, and recycling as much as possible can make an impact

Skip the grocery store lines, save money, and have fresh veggies straight from your backyard with your very own vegetable garden.

Give Your Home a Green Makeover 

There are loads of expensive and flashy ways to make your home greener like solar roofs and wind turbine systems. However, you can also greatly improve your sustainable lifestyle with simple and affordable eco-friendly home improvements. Something as simple as installing LED bulbs can drastically reduce energy usage. Plugging any holes or gaps in windows and insulation can provide a nice increase in thermal efficiency.

Start a Vegetable Garden 

Skip the grocery store lines, save money, and have fresh veggies straight from your backyard with your very own vegetable garden.

Why get all of your fruits and veggies from the grocery store when you have the resources to grow healthy eats right in your backyard? A vegetable garden can not only save you money but also cut down on food waste. Aside from giving you the benefits of an eco-friendly lifestyle, a vegetable garden will reduce your carbon footprint by cutting down on grocery store runs. If you don’t have a backyard, you can still create a great herb garden on a window sill or in a flowerbox as a start. 

Bring Your Faucets up to Spec

A poorly maintained faucet can waste up to eight gallons of water a day—200 gallons a month—lost from dripping. A loose faucet is therefore more than just an annoyance. It’s also an easily avoidable source of waste. Simple regular maintenance is enough to save big on your water bill. You can save more water by having shorter showers and turning off the tap for those 20 seconds you scrub your hands with soap.

Root Out Power Vampires 

An old home tends to have a lot of “power vampires,” meaning old appliances that burn a lot of energy even when they aren’t in use. We’re talking coffee makers, microwaves, old televisions, and even unused phone chargers that are left plugged in. Controlling these power vampires means it's time to smarten up with your appliance setup. 

To keep your wasteful appliances in check, consider investing in some smart wall outlets. These monitor power usage and help you root out the energy vampires lurking in plain sight. Smart wall outlets can also be controlled remotely via your smartphone and programmed to turn off certain appliances when they are not in use. This way you don’t have to remember to unplug a power guzzler every time you’re not using it. 

Get Rid of Your Car 

California has some of the best-developed commuter rail networks in the country, making a car-free life easier.

The single biggest change you can make in your life is to ditch your automobile for good. Cars and the infrastructure that supports them have a massive negative impact on the environment and our health, to say nothing of how expensive they are to run and maintain. Use carpools with your coworkers, car-sharing programs, public transit, and your bicycle instead. This is a cost-effective way to travel and it’ll help reduce your carbon footprint.

Of course, living a sustainable lifestyle in a car-dependent society without one isn’t always possible. There are some areas in even California where it’s not feasible to sustain a car-free commute. Buying an EV is the next best thing and has a better impact on the world than other vehicles. Plus, this way you can still go on an eco-friendly California road trip from time to time. 

Go Paperless

Everything from receipts to paperwork is going online today, and it makes a lot of sense considering how much paper is wasted every year. Digitized paperwork is also significantly easier to keep track of since you won’t have to go riffling through a pile of papers just to find one document. Instead of having hard copies of everything, simply go paperless with emailed receipts and PDF scans of important documents. 

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