Collectively, small lifestyle changes can make a huge impact on the environment–and your life. Looking for happiness and health? What’s good for the environment is also, it turns out, great for you. Here’s a collection of tips from the No Impact community.
Buy less – instead of instantly going to buy something, make it a habit to sit with the idea for a day or two to see if you can live without it – always buy used first if you must buy.
Compost your food ‘trash’
Don’t use plastic bags of any kind
Use cloth napkins and kitchen towels – but only if you buy used
Stop using ‘wipes’ and disposable cloths of ALL kinds – fake fragrance, made of paper, contain chemicals, etc.
Stop using paper towels – carry a “personal towel” and/or cloth hankie like the Japanese do to use in public restrooms, etc.
Use (used) cloth handkerchiefs instead of tissues/Kleenex
Catch your letting-the-water-run-to-get-hot water and use it to water plants, drink, etc.
Use permaculture on your land/lot – to maximize the water on your property
Stop using plastic containers to store and carry food
Take your own (local) lunch instead of using carry out and take out containers from restaurants – save money too
Use natural essential oils for home and personal fragrance instead of “Glade” type fake scent, plastic containers, etc.- they come in recyclable, glass containers and don’t pollute the air or the land fill once empty
Put wadded up newspaper in the bottom of your trash can to absorb odors. They can still be composted in most cases if you are not putting food wastes in your trash
Stop using bleach – it kills ‘bad’ bacteria, but also the good ones too
Stop buying all those stupid, toxic, specialized cleaning liquids/chemicals for the home – you only need vinegar and baking soda or one natural, concentrated bottle of Dr. Bronner’s for the entire house and all types of cleaning – including bathing.
Go “no-poo” – the hair and scalp don’t need shampoo and sometimes not even conditioner – less chemicals on the planet, fewer plastic bottles. If you must have shampoo, buy the ones that are not in a bottle (search Etsy.com)
Stop buying new cars – even the so-called “energy efficient” ones are strip mining somewhere to get the metals to use in their construction
Use hemp and bamboo and/or recycled, one-use papers – eg: toilet paper
Recycle all your construction materials when renovating your home – fixtures, wood, tiles, etc.
Buy your home construction and fixture materials from the same type of place
Stop buying lotions, fancy face cleansers, etc. and use coconut oil for lip balm, moisturizer, face cleanser, etc.
JUST SAY NO! I know that some people will look at you weirdly and still try to put your items in plastic bags, even when you tell them no, but still refuse them. Many times I had to actually take my items out of the plastic bag and put them into my own bag.
Also, if you have something that might leak and you absolutely must use one, get only ONE!
Do you really need 5 bags for a cartoon of eggs, milk and bread?
There’s nothing magical about this. But when you track your steps/distance, and keep a running log of how much you walk (or jog, or run, or skip), you both walk more and use your vehicle less. So: you’ll be healthier, and the air will be just a little less emission-filled. And you’ll be spending just a bit less on gas.
I cut up several old t-shirts into small washcloth-sized pieces. These are stacked on the back of my toilet, where the facial tissue box used to sit. I use them instead of facial tissues and instead of toilet paper (urine only!) Used ones go into the towel hamper that’s inbetween the sink and toilet, to get washed in hot water and re-stacked.
The material is MUCH softer and easier on my skin than paper products. I don’t get sores around my nose when I get a cold! And I’ve saved enough money to more than cover the cost of switching to 100% recycled newsprint toilet paper. Reusing and reducing and saving money AND being more comfortable. 🙂
My husband and I have been deeply inspired by this project! As environmentalists and struggling, wanna-be minimalists, my family set-out on an adventure to be “Fasting Consumers” this year.
The challenge: buy absolutely nothing (except for groceries, and because of your inspiration we’re trying to be very mindful of what we buy) for all of 2014.
We have two children, a 6-year-old and a 1-year-old, and we live in Toronto, ON. My blog is www.thefastingconsumer.com
Thanks for all the inspiration!