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Re: Small things to increase sustainability at home

Hi all. I was wondering what small things you’ve started doing at home or in your daily life in the name of sustainability. I’ve used reusable shopping bags and produce bags for awhile, and I recently switched to shampoo and soap bars to cut down on plastic waste. Interested to hear what other people are doing to see how we can do better at home and be creative with sustainability. 

32 Replies

This is such an inspiring thread - I see some ideas I am going to adopt!  A few years ago I committed to reducing plastic, and it blows my mind what I've had to change.  For example, I grow a lot more of my own food now because almost all food - even fresh - requires plastic for transit/storage.  Avoiding dyes - everything from hair color to many clothing/home linen manufacturers - has been another focus because dye is gross for the environment and the people who work with it, but also because it moves in plastic.  The simple practice sorting my recycling at home has also made me more aware of what comes in plastic so I can actively look for alternatives.  And why on earth do restaurants still serve straws?  Infuriating!  

Great topic! Sustainability is near and dear to my heart.  I crochet, so I eliminated paper products (with the exception of toilet paper) by using reusable cloths which i make myself.  I also replaced disposable sponges by crocheting scrubbies with coated yarn.  I eliminated water bottles many moons ago in exchange for insulated reusable water bottles and a water filter.  I use a reusable kcup or my French press for coffee. I compost which has reduced my trash to the point of near extinction, yay! I switched to mineral salt instead of deodorant which is much healthier for me and lasts about a year per stick rather than a couple months per stick.  i make my own toothpaste so i don't use the tubes anymore and i super love it and my teeth are brighter, whiter, and healthy!  I switched out most household cleaner for baking soda and vinegar. I am shun excessive packaging when I grocery shop and buy bulk where reasonable.

Shaundra, you make us have smiles at your awesomeness! Being sustainable and green is also being thrifty, a win, win, win for us all and the outdoors!

My main focus has been on reducing plastic use, similar ideas to the other replies: reusable containers, cloth bags, no packaged food, bamboo brushes etc. Some other things I've tried, I now use a Castile dish soap and some vinegar mixes I store in bottles I had at home. I've also tried shampoo and conditioner bars, it takes a couple of washes for your hair to get used to them. If not, there are also companies where you can send the shampoo bottles back and they refill them for you. 

My wife and I converted over to metal reusable water bottles and copper straws.

@Sleymrzy as we approach the holidays, a new tradition in my family is cloth wrapping paper - no more paper and tape that gets used once and thrown away. Instead, we have bought/found scraps of fabric over the years and now wrap all gifts in it, holiday after holiday. When giving gifts to others, we ensure they will reuse the fabric, and if not, we take it home with us to reuse again! It has felt really good to not fill garbage bags full of wrapping paper after a birthday or other holiday.

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
Great idea!

We've been trying to live sustainably for ~40 years. The things we've done that have the biggest impact on sustainability are LESS meat, travel, driving, shopping, and remodeling. This helps the environment and frees up time for more walking, talking, reading, resting, gardening, and playing. We try to savor all that we have already, and make it last a little longer. 

I have long used a stainless steel water bottle, and take cloth napkins and flatware to work with me for my lunch. I use solar lanterns to light up my home.


We’ve been burning wood for 40+ years, so in the winter there’s no paper trash, just fuel. I avoid using slick or heavily colored paper, prefer newsprint w black ink only.