20 Ways to Make Your Life More Sustainable (right now!)

So you want to live a more sustainable/low waste lifestyle, but you don’t know where to get started. This is completely normal! Sustainability as a concept can be broad, hard to follow and super intimidating, so I’m going to provide you with a few simple tips that you can do TODAY (or this week because hey, procrastination is alive and well even during a pandemic).

  1. Get yourself some tote bags. I’m sure many of you already have these at home, but it’s time they left your coat rack and made their way out into the world! Here are a few I’ve been using lately: https://baggu.com/collections/reusable-bags, https://www.filt1860.fr/en/9-net-shopping-bag
  2. Instead of plastic bags and containers, use reusable baggies and glass containers to store your leftovers or to go sandwiches: https://amzn.to/2T8lsVv
  3. Reduce food waste by making a list before you to go the grocery store. This seems so simple but we’ve all been guilty of just “winging it” and coming home with 3 bags of chips when you already had 2 in the cupboard.
  4. Download these apps: Good on You – a great sustainable fashion app that rates clothing brands based on how ethical they are for workers and the environment https://goodonyou.eco/ and Think Dirty – a clean beauty and skincare app that makes you rethink everything on your bathroom shelf. Bonus: you can scan all of your products and see how “dirty” or “clean” they are! https://www.thinkdirtyapp.com/
  5. Challenge yourself: try and only buy thrifted or previously loved clothing for a month! I wouldn’t recommend in person shopping too often during the pandemic, so if you can’t support local, here are some online shops to try: https://www.depop.com/, https://www.thredup.com/
  6. Use Dryer Balls! Goodbye heavy synthetic scented dryer sheets. These are the ones I use and they put a smile on my face every time I take the little sheep face out of my pile of clean clothes: https://amzn.to/3m6CEY5
  7. Visit a zero waste store! Don’t forget your mason jars and a bit of patience. If you are in Toronto, my faves include Unboxed Market and Bare Market.
  8. Bring your travel mug and water bottle everywhere you go! Nobody wants to buy plastic water bottles or those “devil in disguise” coffee cups coated in plastic. I’ve used a Keep Cup for the past few years and no complaints! https://amzn.to/349ywjL
  9. Turn off the lights and unplug your small appliances! You’ve heard this since you were 8 years old, you get it.
  10. Use fibre cloths instead of paper towels. This is usually where I lose people, but honestly it’s not as tough as it sounds! Just buy about 20-30 cloths (those Frank brand ones at Canadian Tire are nice and cheap!) and keep them in a drawer that’s quick access for spills. Just give it a try! I’ll be the first to admit that we still buy the occasional roll of paper towel just to have on hand, but we use it much less with the cloth option.
  11. Stop “Wish-cycling”! The easiest way to describe this is the black take out container you stood over the garbage thinking about for 5 minutes before opting to recycle it. This is NOT recyclable! But, this is also NOT your fault! Unfortunately, we are taught “reduce, reuse, recycle” from a young age but we aren’t taught how to do these properly or effectively. Look up the recycling rules in your area on your town or city’s website. Bonus tip: if you don’t clean all of the food out of your recyclable item (ie: leaving peanut butter in the container) it will go to the landfill – sad but true! Toronto’s waste app: https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/recycling-organics-garbage/towaste-app/
  12. This may only apply to certain readers, but switch to e-billing! The paper waste is just madness, madness!
  13. Switch to recycled toilet paper (at least some of the time). I can’t lie, this is a hard one because we all love to indulge in a soft brand, but in the words of Dwight Schrute, “don’t get me started on how coddled the modern anus is!”. Oh, I found a cross stitch of this quote for your bathroom, you’re welcome: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/786943673/dwight-schrute-quote-coddle-anus-cross?ref=landingpage_similar_listing_top-1
  14. When you get to the produce section of the grocery store, whip out your mesh product bags! These are a great way to avoid one of life’s most horrible tasks: opening the plastic bags in the fruit and veggies section. Here are the ones I use (only down side is they make your veggies a bit soft, so make sure to take them out of the bags before you put them in the crisper drawer of your fridge): https://amzn.to/3j8KZbD
  15. Empty your email inbox! I know a lot of us have that sad old Hotmail account that is just collecting dust and American Eagle promotions from 2004, so please, CLEAN IT OUT! All of that cloud storage space uses energy which creates C02 emissions. If you’d like to read more about this here’s a link: https://carbonliteracy.com/the-carbon-cost-of-an-email/
  16. Save your veggies scraps and freeze them! This makes for a great broth starter whenever you’re looking to make a quick soup.
  17. Meatless Mondays! I spent a few years as a Vegan (opinions not needed) and I have been a Vegetarian for the last 8 years. I recently decided to add fish back into my diet, but I mainly eat plant-based as a personal choice. My partner eats meat, but we try and keep it to a minimum for environmental reasons. See if you can lessen your meat intake! It’s all about personal preference, but if you like a challenge this is for you.
  18. Walk or bike when you can and try to drive less! This one should be easy peasy right now during the pandemic, so walk that extra 30 minutes and get out into nature!
  19. Collect rain water to water plants! Obviously, going into fall/winter right now you won’t be watering your garden, but you can still collect rain in a container and bring it in to nourish your house plants.
  20. Use beeswax wraps and reusable bowl covers! The beeswax ones smell so yummy and they are great to actually wrap the food itself (I often wrap half an apple in these) since they are all natural. Use the silicone bowl covers as an alternative to plastic wrap or aluminium foil. Here’s what I’ve been using: https://amzn.to/34a3aJW, https://amzn.to/34eCbgq

Hope you enjoyed these tips! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at info@sustainablesyd.ca or send me a message on Instagram @sustainablesydb.


2 thoughts on “20 Ways to Make Your Life More Sustainable (right now!)

  1. I made a post similiar to this but geared toward the kitchen. You have a some great tips in here I didn’t mention. Stop wishcycling stood out to me. I hate seeing the wrong items in the recycling bin. Now I want to make a new post so I can make sure to mention it. I also didn’t know about the energy waste of email accounts. Thanks for sharing!


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