29+ Eco-Friendly Hacks for Sustainable Living


| LAST UPDATE 06/05/2023

By Abby Wall

As our planet needs us more than ever, more and more are using eco-friendly alternatives in their daily routines. Here are some simple tips to reduce your carbon footprint and living a greener lifestyle.

Vegan Wax Wraps

This DIY hack only takes a few minutes and quickly eliminates everyday plastic use. TikTok user @roxythezoologist shows her followers how to make easy vegan wax wraps as an alternative to Saran wrap.

DIY Sustainability Hacks environmentDIY Sustainability Hacks environment
TikTok via @roxythezoologist

With just a few supplies, you can create your very own vegan wax wraps that last a couple of months. First, melt down a pot of soy wax, then spread it over a piece of cotton fabric and pop it in the oven for just five minutes, and lastly, hang it up to dry. And just like that, you have a sustainable alternative to wrap your food!

DIY Plant Pot

There's nothing better than having a home full of greenery! Whether you're in it for the aesthetics or for your love of nature, you might as well keep it lush. TikTok user, @sevenjamay, gave us a short tutorial on how to make the ideal plant pot that's cute and eco-friendly!

DIY plant eco-friendly hacksDIY plant eco-friendly hacks
TikTok via @sevenjamay

The sustainable TikTok user transformed an empty milk container into a plant pot in just a few minutes! All she did was cut the container in half, peel off the label, give it a little clean, and gently pull down the edges to give it a two-toned look. Pile up with soil and put your favorite plant inside!

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Say Goodbye to Paper Towels

Disposable paper towels are not only wasteful, but they're also expensive! Eventually, buying roles of paper towels begins to add up, so why not be eco-friendly and cost-efficient at the same time and invest in reusable towels? Replacing paper towels with kitchen towels or any reusable towel is simple!

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Instagram via @tsitesmains

Swap out the paper for cloth or microfiber towels made from cotton, bamboo, linen, or synthetic materials. These are designed to be used multiple times and can be washed easily. The production of paper towels actually requires tons of energy and water and can be found sitting in landfills taking forever to decompose.

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Sun Dry Instead of Tumble Dry

Using clotheslines may seem old-fashioned, but in reality, the old-time drying method is not only more eco-friendly but also has many benefits for your clothing! Besides cutting down on electricity costs, using nature's natural dryer promotes energy conservation and protects the environment by saving fossil fuels.

Eco-Friendly laundry Sustainability HacksEco-Friendly laundry Sustainability Hacks
Instagram via @maltadoors

Besides its apparent eco-friendly effects, using a clothesline helps preserve the longevity of your clothes in general. It has proven to be more gentle on the clothing, rather than being tossed around in a dryer one too many times, ruining your favorite top! Not to mention, also produces fresher-smelling clothing.

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Go Solar

For those that can install solar panels in their homes, switching to using the sun's radiation as their primary source of electricity is a great way to make an eco-friendly change. Using solar energy does not produce greenhouse gases and requires minimal water for maintenance, which ultimately transfers to a lower energy bill!

solar power Sustainability Hackssolar power Sustainability Hacks
Instagram via @ymina0827

Anyone, anywhere with sunshine, can use solar energy. It's beneficial in regions with little access to electricity sources and helps improve the overall lives of millions of people who do not have immediate electricity access. Additionally, it helps create jobs in clean energy!

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Bamboo Toothbrushes

Switching to a bamboo toothbrush is just as effective as using the traditional plastic toothbrush but has proved to be a lot more eco-friendly. The sustainable alternative is biodegradable and compostable, two major positives for the environment!

bamboo toothbrush Sustainability Hacksbamboo toothbrush Sustainability Hacks
Instagram via @wegrowgood.co

The handle of this toothbrush is made from bamboo, which is both strong and eco-friendly and can last for months! Plastic toothbrushes may end up in the ocean, which could harm marine life. However, since bamboo is biodegradable, it breaks down safely and can be recycled or reused.

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Bulk Shopping

Whether you're buying for yourself or a family of five, shopping in bulk is another easy way to save resources and cut down on overall waste. Whether you're buying cleaning products, groceries, or everyday household items, do it in bulk!

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Instagram via @act.low.waste

By purchasing in bulk, you are automatically lowering the number of trips to the market, which results in lower energy costs and, potentially, finances. Bulk packaging also means fewer packages and, therefore, less wasted plastics. So make sure to stock up on your next trip to the market!

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Zero-Waste Scratching Sponge

Making your own plastic-free sponge for cleaning is just one of many ways to have a zero-waste kitchen. We all know disposable sponges don't last very long, but what we don't know is that they can also "shed microplastics," according to sustainable-living advocate Addie Fisher, which ultimately harms the environment.

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TikTok via @_domei

For those looking to create their own plastic-free sponge, TikTok user @_domei shows us how to make one by using netting from a grocery store fruit bag. She simply cuts it up and layers them together into the shape of a sponge before sewing it together, and just like that, you have the perfect kitchen tool to remove dirt.

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Glass Containers

Besides being more environmentally friendly, using plastic food containers causes a lot of waste and can ultimately be harmful to your health. A lot of plastics can contribute to chemicals in our food source, whereas using glass containers eliminates that possibility.

Eco-Friendly glass containersEco-Friendly glass containers
Instagram via @twiceuponatimevt

They are easier to clean, more durable, and can be reused a lot longer than plastic can! Plastic can be used again, but each time it's used, its quality starts to diminish, whereas glass has a longer lifespan. So why not invest in something that will last longer and help the planet?

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Upcycle Mason Jars

Glass produced from recycled glass reduces related air pollution by 20% and related water pollution by 50%. Recycling glass reduces the space in landfills that used bottles and jars would otherwise take up. Using glass for recycling means there are fewer glass objects lying around in the landfill or bin.

recycle jars Sustainability Hacksrecycle jars Sustainability Hacks
Instagram via @fo0odforfun

By reusing glass products, there would be fewer glass objects around the landfill, which is better for our universe. You can easily transform an old jam jar into a drinking glass, flower vase, leftover container, and more. It's all about getting creative!

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Recycle Bin

This one may sound pretty obvious to some, but a quick, easy way to keep a sustainable household is to have a recycling bin in your kitchen! It's easy to use and does wonders when it comes down to trash and landfill. Simply mark your bin as "recycle," and voila!

Eco-Friendly living recycle binEco-Friendly living recycle bin
Getty Images via Peter Dazeley

If you are looking for a little extra cash, you can exchange your recycled materials at a loyal recycling center too! Overall, it's a great and easy way to keep a green household, and it keeps the dumpster from constantly overfilling - we've all been there.

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Chemical-Free Cleaning Products

There are plenty of natural cleaning supplies on the market, but why spend money when you can simply rummage through your cupboard and make your very own cleaning potion at home? Everyday household products such as club soda, rubbing alcohol, baking soda, fruit peels, and lemon juice can be used to get your home into tip-top shape!

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Instagram via @calicraftedinfusions

So, the next time you are due to scrub down your sink or clean your window, just combine some everyday products into an eco-friendly cleaning solution. For example, combine water, rubbing alcohol, essential oils, and natural dish soaps together to create the ideal all-purpose cleaning solution.

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Eco-Friendly Packaging

Who knew you could request companies like Amazon for eco-friendly packaging? TikTok user @getwasteed messaged Amazon's customer care support team to ask them if they could send all future items in plastic-free boxes to cut back on waste, and they did!

Eco-Friendly sustainable packagingEco-Friendly sustainable packaging
Instagram via @hipmothership

Many online brands are consciously switching to environmentally friendly packaging to promote less plastic waste. These packages are made from recycled materials and help brands cut back their carbon footprint. It also could increase sales and customer base, all while improving the brand's overall image.

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Make Your Own Milk

There's nothing like a splash of oat milk with your cup of hot coffee in the morning! Everyone has their favorite alternative milk brand, but why not try and make it yourself? Not only will you save some major cash, but it will help you reduce your carbon footprint.

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Instagram via @thatemilyjane

carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases created by everything we do, from transportation to consumption and household energy. A significant aspect of the carbon footprint is what we eat, so why not cut back where we can? Just blend some oats, honey, vanilla, and water together for the perfect eco-friendly oat milk!

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Save Those Scraps

Instead of throwing away those vegetable peels and scraps from dinner, put them aside and save them for a rainy day! Keep the scraps in a compostable approved bag and use them as needed. Most commonly, people turn their leftover scraps into a delicious veggie stock!

vegetable scraps Sustainable cookingvegetable scraps Sustainable cooking
Instagram via @that_thermomixing_life

It may not seem like a big deal to throw away leftover food, but over time landfills continue to grow with wasted foods, which could be reused in another capacity. According to a waste study in 2016, food is the most common substance found in the trash, so wasting less can directly affect landfills and lessen fossil fuel usage.

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Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

Something so simple as switching your light bulbs can help households save both money and energy. With lighting taking up about 8% to 15% of the average household activity budget, switching to LED, Smart, Dimmable, or CFL Light Bubls can help reduce costs while being environmentally friendly.

energy-efficient sustainable light bulbsenergy-efficient sustainable light bulbs
Witthaya Prasongsin via Getty Images

Replacing incandescent bulbs with high-efficient ones requires no electricity re-arrangments and, on average, saves the home $225 per year. Energy-saving bulbs use less energy (as the name suggests!), produce less waste, and have a more durable and longer-lasting product. Not to mention, they're much safer!

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Bamboo Straws

Many coffee shops have already hopped on the bamboo straw trend, and so can you! Plastic straws are among the biggest contributors to plastic waste in the world. Since they're not recyclable, they can end up in the ocean, posing a danger to fish, marine mammals, and other creatures.

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Instagram via @cheers.boo

A lot of places have even banned using single-use straws, either at a regional or national level. Some businesses have eliminated plastic straws entirely, enforcing bamboo or metal straws only. These alternatives are reusable, easy to clean, and can last for quite some time.

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Reusable Bags

We're all guilty of having that drawer of plastic bags. But in reality, one of the easiest ways to make that eco-friendly life change is to use reusable shopping bags. Each trip to the supermarket requires a minimum of one plastic bag, so why not use the same reusable bag time and time again instead of racking up plastic bags?

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Instagram via @labels.by.robyn

By using reusable bags and fewer single-use plastic bags, you can help reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the oceans and landfills. It's as easy as keeping a few reusable bags in the trunk of your car or in your bag, so you always have one ready to go!

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Reusable Water Bottle

Every year, 50 billion single-use water bottles are sold in the US, and a large amount of them end up in landfills or floating around the oceans. Plastic bottles harm marine life and pollute beaches, so why not invest in a multiple-use water bottle and help reduce plastic pollution?

Resuable bottle environment friendlyResuable bottle environment friendly
Instagram via @murasakisports_kuzuha

By investing in a reusable water bottle, you not only save an average of $2 on a water bottle, but this also helps reduce your carbon footprint. Reusable water bottles are safely made and reliable. And, depending on the brand, they can keep your water cold for hours on end! So, why not make the switch?

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Water Filters

Now that you have your reusable water bottle handy, investing in a water filter is another great way to help our planet. Water filters are easy to install and provide healthy, clean water without getting any plastic involved. So where do you start?

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Getty Images via Denis Shevchuk

Begin by looking for an eco-friendly water filter, and after that, you're ready to go! Drinking water daily is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body, so why not make it healthy for the planet? Water filters help with single-use plastic bottles and cut back on fossil fuel consumption.

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Growing Your Own Herbs

This low-maintenance, eco-friendly life hack is a huge win for you as a consumer and for the environment! Eating what you grow is the definition of sustainability, so why not give it a try? Growing your own herbs is a lot less intimidating than it sounds - all you need is soil, seeds, pots, and some sunlight!

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Instagram via @from_scratch_mag

Not only are store-bought herbs pricey, but if they are not taken care of properly, they die relatively quickly, contributing to the world's food waste problem. Even without outdoor space, herbs can successfully grow on the windowsill with a little sun, water, and love!

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Turn Off the Water in the Shower

On average, showers last about eight minutes, with a water flow of 2.1 gallons per minute, totaling up to 16 gallons of water per shower use! In the US, people use over one trillion gallons of water each year on showering alone, so how can you help cut back on your personal shower water use?

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Annette Riedl/picture alliance via Getty Images

First, start by cutting down on your shower time! A practical shower can be taken in under five minutes, shampoo and conditioner included! By turning off the water when it's time to shampoo, you'll want to get out of the shower faster, ultimately saving water!

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Reusing Shower Water

As long as we're talking about showering, let's dive deeper. Besides cutting back on shower times and turning off the water when you're shampooing, an eco-friendly solution to water waste is to actually save the water you're not using for other purposes!

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Getty Images via DanBrandenburg

What does that mean exactly? Simply leave an empty bucket on the floor of the shower and let it capture all the access water, and reuse it to water your plants or garden. Not to mention, you can save on your water bill and help reduce your personal yearly gallon water usage!

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Sustainable Period Products

On average, a menstruating person uses between 5,000 and 15,000 tampons and pads in their lifetime. Not only is this an expensive investment, but using these disposable products eventually lands in landfills and oceans. The plastic applicators from tampons can also take decades and decades to decompose!

 Eco-Friendly menstruation period Products Eco-Friendly menstruation period Products
Instagram via @itsyourgirl.erin

These products contain chemicals that harm the environment and our bodies, so what is the solution? Invest in sustainable menstrual products! Nowadays, women have the option to use period underwear, menstrual discs, and menstrual cups, which are a lot more environmentally friendly, and last a whole lot longer than a box of tampons.

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Saftey Razors

Time to ditch your disposable razors and invest in reusable safety razors! By choosing a more sustainable razor, you can reduce your environmental impact and save a lot of money instead of constantly purchasing new razors. With the safety razor, you can just replace the blade when needed instead of the total product.

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Instagram via @sustainablah

The blade itself can be recycled a lot more easily than the whole plastic razor, which takes time to break down due to its mixed materials. Safety razors are long-lasting and durable and will help reduce your total plastic waste. Plus, you can even make your own shaving cream with coconut oil, essential oil, and shea butter!

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Using Cold Water

Something as simple as switching to cold water to wash your clothes can go a long way! Using cold water to wash your laundry works just as well as hot water, and in some cases even better, and is 100% better for our planet. By using cold water, less power is used, which also means a cheaper electricity bill!

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Getty Images via Cris Canton

Cold water is also a lot more beneficial when it comes to cleaning clothes. It's much gentler and less likely to ruin your clothing, whereas hot water can be harsher on fabrics. You can even use eco-friendly laundry detergent to make the most out of your sustainable living habits!

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Switch Off

Something that may sound so simple could actually go a long way. A quick way to keep things green is simply turning off the light when leaving a room! Phantom energy, or standby power, is wasting power consumption from devices that are plugged in but aren't actually being used.

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Getty Images via westend61

By unplugging your phone charger when it's not being used or unplugging the coffee machine after making your morning cup, you can easily help set back your electricity bill and the wasted amount of energy used daily. It may seem small at first, but it's one of the easiest ways to help our planet Earth.

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Eating Leftovers

Another simple task that eventually goes a long way is as plain as enjoying your leftovers! Maybe you made too much rice or brought leftover Chinese food home; instead of throwing it away, enjoy them the next day! You'll be saving money and the environment.

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Instagram via @kokenmetchannt

Forgetting about leftovers is way too common. But by simply eating leftovers another night during the week, you can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using already obtained resources. Not wasting food is at the top of the list when it comes to being more environmentally conscious.

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Bike or Walk

Depending on where you live, switching your mode of transportation can do wonders for the environment! Besides gas prices being exorbitant, driving less helps create less air pollution, which results in fewer fuel emissions that are heating up the atmosphere.

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Instagram via @sara.vaz03

By deciding to walk or cycle places, you are automatically helping environment efforts by staying green and cutting back on gas prices. So, if it's possible, hop on a bike or walk to your favorite coffee shop next time you need an oat milk cappuccino.

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Fashion Forward

As they say, think twice before you buy; this sentiment is especially true when it comes to shopping for clothes! When it comes down to it, you're doing the planet and your wallet a favor by shopping locally or at thrift stores instead of consistently investing in fast fashion.

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Instagram via @maddychurm

Fast fashion is one of the leading problems of polluting clean water, so why not invest in a few good pieces from your local thrift store instead? And, if you're feeling extra creative, you could always upcycle clothing you already own into completely new pieces.

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