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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

Love it! I do the same. No drinks, no food if no re-usable container. Great idea!

Hi @Sleymrzy !  I never really thought about being sustainable until reading your post.  Upon reflection, it turns out that I appear to be doing a lot of small things, that, hopefully, add up.  I have a compost bin in my back yard that gets all my organic waste.  The resulting compost goes into my vegetable garden every spring.  I mulch my grass clippings and pruned tree limbs.  I recycle everything that is deemed recyclable, including returning plastic shopping bags that I occasionally use to the store's recycle bin designated for them. I donate the clothing I've outlived or outgrown to local charities.  Very little ends up in my trash can.

I shop on REI's "Used" site and Patagonia's "Worn Wear" sites.    I grocery shop as locally as I can; local beef, local eggs, local farmer's markets, local breweries and brewpubs. 🍻.  I avoid bottled water and carry a water bottle almost everywhere I go (except to the brewpubs 😁).

Good topic!  Thanks for bringing it up!

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

At home outside, our yard has been transformed to native butterfly / bird friendly plants with only a very small part containing grass. Indoors, we mostly clean with vinegar and water, trying to stay away from chemical cleaners.   

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I'm trying to eliminate pesticides and fertilizers in my front and backyard.  Using a bat box in the trees to take care of mosquitoes.  Using bird feeders/bird baths to bring more birds back to the area.

REI Member Since 1979

We've converted all light bulbs to LEDs. We're seeing a significant reduction in our power bill every month. LED prices have come down substantially these days. They're also now available in all bulb sizes and a wide range of color temperatures. There's no longer any reason not to switch.


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I made a couple of small shifts that are making an impact in my plastic recycling. First, I switched to tap water in a stainless container over individual plastic bottles. Cut my recycle in half with just that. Second, I bought a refillable coffee filter k-cup and use bulk coffee instead of the individual plastic cups. Saves 3 little cups per day. Little changes x many people = big results!

Great idea, didn't know about these. We have a pod unit at work and this would be a great way to raise my coworkers conscientiousness on this subject. 


We also do the things many others have mentioned; LED bulbs, composting, no single use water bottles, etc. 

Over the past couple of years we've converted our landscaping to native plants requiring much less irrigation. 

We live in a hilly area making cycling tough on our 70 year old and knees.  We recently added 2 e-bikes to the 'fleet' that we use mostly to do local errands; groceries, hardware store, and the like.  Our car sits idle for days at a time while we get more exercise.

Not sure if this qualifies, since I've always considered it a perk and a convenience more so than being intentionally sustainable, but I work from home 2 days a week.  

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

After reading through this thread (thanks for starting it, BTW), I realized there are a lot of little things that we've incorporated into our daily lives over several years that count: switching all our lightbulbs to LEDs, converting part of the backyard to a pollinator garden, carrying cloth shopping bags along whenever we get our groceries or do a Target run, shopping more often at the local farmers markets, using our water bottles when traveling, making my coffee at home and using a travel cup, composting all our yard waste for later use in the garden, buying fewer clothes in favor of using just a few really well-made pieces that will last. My husband and I also changed how we do Christmas gifts with each other: we've eschewed more useless stuff in favor of giving each other good books and experiences (like concerts or movies) as gifts.