Being eco friendly is about making small changes that will have a big impact. We have listed 7 simple steps to living sustainably. They are an overview of the type of changes you can make for maintaining a sustainable lifestyle is about loo. We all want to look after the earth’s natural resources and we can do that by reducing our negative impact on the environment. Check out our sustainable living steps below:
Table of Contents
Audit your carbon footprint
The first step is probably the most important and focuses on a key question: how do you know what you need to change to be eco-friendly? You might recycle really well or you might use public transport rather than a car. The point is a sustainable lifestyle can be achieved once you know which parts of your life are contributing to the climate change.
Once you know how your current lifestyle is affecting the planet, you can start making some of the suggested changes below. An added bonus of sustainable living is that you save money by consuming less and reducing waste. One of the best ways to find out how you can reduce your carbon footprint is by completing a carbon footprint calculator.
There are lots of calculators to choose from e.g. a plastic waste calculator and an ecological footprint calculator to name but a few. This is both a blessing and a curse. Having more than one way to calculate your carbon footprint can be confusing. On the flip side, the fact that some calculators are specific means you can target specific changes to make a real difference.
Related article: carbon footprint calculators review
Energy bills – reduce energy consumption
Most of our energy comes from gas or coal-powered stations in the UK. 51% of the UK’s electricity last year was produced using gas. You may be fortunate enough to have solar panels for producing your energy and hot water. Even if you don’t have a renewable energy source and cant do much in the way of changing how energy is supplied, you can you can reduce your impact on the planet.
Making practical changes such as turning off lights when leaving rooms or turning down the thermostat by one or two degrees will save energy and more importantly, money. You can make even further savings by changing light bulbs to LED lights. Other simple actions such as switching off standby appliances like your TV, can save you around £40 per year.
For more detail: How to make your home eco-friendly
86% of the world’s water is salty and cannot be used for drinking, irrigation or industrial processes. The remaining freshwater is equally divided between groundwater and surface water. Of this, almost two-thirds is locked up in glaciers and snowpack, so it is important that we use water as efficiently as possible. There are many ways to save water. You can fit water-saving showerheads, fix leaky taps and use grey water in the garden. Being mindful about our water usage will help you save money too.
Some people are concerned about tap water quality. There is no reason why you can’t filter it first instead of using plastic bottles. If you use bottled water regularly e.g. when going to the gym, then you will already know that it makes sense to use a reusable water bottle instead of taking water eencased in single use plastic.
Other small actions include using eco friendly cleaning products. Using products that take the environment into account helps avoid water pollution. Making changes like this, not only helps reduce your carbon footprint but also helps biodiversity too.
Adjust your diet
Yep, you guessed it – you need to eat less meat. Adding more fruit and vegetables saves you money and helps reduce your impact on the environment. Even ‘meat-free’ Mondays can help reduce carbon emissions.
Buying local produce will also reduce the fossil fuels used to transport food to your local shop. Reduce the food miles and we reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere. Ideally, you need to eat organic food to avoid harmful pesticides. And eating food that’s in season theoretically is cheaper. Ultimately, any diet changes will depend on what food is available, dietry needs (and affordable food items) where you live.
There is no need to go fully plant-based; just by reducing your consumption of animal products (meat and dairy), you can avoid having a significant impact on the environment. If you do need to eat meat and dairy products, try to source items that use sustainable production methods e.g. free range eggs
If you have the space and time, you can significantly reduce your environmental footprint by growing your own food. This is a really eco-friendly way of saving money and helping the planet! You can also help your garden by composting any plant-based leftovers from preparing food.
Avoid food waste
Food waste has a significant carbon footprint so consider actions that reduce wasting food like freezing leftovers. There are times where we waste food unnecessarily e.g. ordering too much at a restaurant or over consumption at Christmas – planning ahead can reduce food waste, save money and reduce carbon emissions from waste.
For more detail:
Refuse new and reuse old plastic
It is impossible to be plastic free as we all have plastic items in our home – there are micro plastics in our water and in the air we breathe. Plastic is used in so many products these days: kitchen utensils, shampoo bottles, storage tubs… the list is endless. Throwing them away does not make the situation any better.
Alternatively, you could commit to sustainable living by reusing the plastic you have as much as you can. Then commit to reducing plastic waste by avoiding new plastic items, especially single use plastic. Instead, opt for items in recyclable or biodegradable packaging to reduce waste.
Choose quality over quantity. Before buying anything, think about whether you really need it. Often we buy things because they are on sale or because we think we need it. Try and question your motives for buying something and remember that quality lasts longer than quantity. Alternatively look at ways to hire or borrow items. If you really need to buy something, buy refurbished items or products made with recycled materials. As a last resort buy sustainable products that are part of the circular economy so items can be reused, repurposed or recycled when you no longer use them.
Avoiding waste is a key action. We have all been guilty of buying unnecessary items for a moment’s satisafaction. A good example is paper waste. Products such as paper towels or wrapping paper are convenient but are ultimately unnecessary. Many new items come surrounded single use plastic packaging – most of the time, it is simply unnecessary.
Clothes is another area of waste. Instead of buying new items, you can buy clothes from sustainable clothing outlets, vintage shops and charity shops (or thrift stores). You may turn your nose up at buying second hand goods but there have been plenty of stories about designer gear found in charity shops that would have cost thousands if they had been bought new. Lots of charity shops like Oxfam even cater for the designer gurus so these shops are worth checking out.
Whenever you buy anything, don’t forget to take a reusable bag. Many shops offer paper bags these days but these still add to waste (even if they are recyclable).
Travelling can have a big environmental impact and a significant contributor to air pollution. If you can, take public transport or cycle instead as it helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Flying is particularly environmentally damaging, especially air quality, so try to avoid short-haul flights if possible. If you do need to fly, offset the emissions from your flight. There are lots of sites that enable you to offset your carbon emissions with tree planting.
Making eco-friendly changes to your day to day life might seem daunting, but it’s not as hard as you think! All of these steps are doable so creating a more sustainable lifestyle is achievable. Being environmentally conscious by eating less meat and finding ways to save energy, save water and reduce waste can help you have a sustainable lifestyle.
You don’t need to make huge changes, just be more mindful about where you spend your money and what you waste. Following these 7 steps to becoming environmentally friendly helps preserve the earth’s resources for future generations. If you want more great tips, check out our other sustainable living posts.