I’ve always been environmentally conscious and aware of the importance of looking after Earth. Growing up my parents would teach me about recycling, composting, and gardening. They instilled in me that litter should never end up on the ground. Reminding me to turn off the lights when not in the room and to turn off the tap when brushing my teeth.
These habits stayed with me ever since. By setting a great example my parents wired me to make conscious decisions about my consumption and purchases.
They set my mind towards sustainability and environmental responsibility. This way of thinking became very natural to me. So much that whenever I’m presented with a choice, it’s not difficult to choose the green one.
I don’t pretend that I’m perfect in any way. I’m not able to live a completely self-sufficient life. I rely on a car and I live in a block of flats that was built with non-environmentally friendly materials. I occasionally travel abroad by plane.
But I’m trying to do my part. And by sharing what and how I do it my hope is to inspire others.
I believe if each one of us started taking actions that help rather than damage the Earth, then we will be a positive influence. It doesn’t have to be a radical change, you can start with baby steps, one day at a time.
By helping the environment to stay clean and unspoiled we make the world a better place to live, now, and also for future generations.
So here are the 10 eco-friendly things I do to live a more sustainable life.
This is a pretty straightforward thing you can do. By following the local guidelines on recycling we can reduce the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills.
If your local services don’t offer food composting collection you can simply start composting food scraps in your garden. You can get a lot of composting bins on second-hand websites for a reduced price or even free. If you don’t have a garden then you can contact local gardening centers or farms and ask them if they would be willing to accept a weekly donation of food scraps. Adding compost to soil makes it full of nutrients that help plants grow better and prevent soil erosion.
Reusable Bags for Shopping
Did you know that plastic bags we use daily take 10 to 1,000 years to decompose? Shocking. I stopped buying plastic shopping bags back when I was a student in Slovenia. Instead, I used reusable bags for shopping. They were made of fabric and looked great. Around about the same time the dangers of plastic were slowly gaining traction in mass media. Soon after, the law was passed in Slovenia which required supermarkets to start charging for plastic bags. So slowly the majority of the population adopted the habit of using reusable shopping bags.
After moving abroad I learned that this law was not yet in place in the UK. However, after a couple of years, they soon followed suit. If I ever get offered a plastic bag by convenience shops (where the law of charging sadly doesn’t apply), I simply refuse to take it. I’d rather carry things in my purse than buy a plastic shopping bag.
Cycling to Work
The day that I decided to start cycling to work has changed everything. It has been an amazing experience to be able to cycle to work for the past 4.5 years. Now I understand that being able to cycle to work is a luxury.
However, sadly, I haven’t seen many people in the UK taking it up. If you work in the same town you live in, then there is no reason to drive your car to work. Getting a bit of exercise in the fresh air before and after work literally changed the way I felt. It did wonders for both my mind and my body. Not only that, but you also help the environment and save money. I recommend it to anyone who has the option – get yourself a bicycle and start cycling to work.
Reusable Water Bottle
Plastic bottles take 450 years or more to decompose in landfills. It is shocking how much plastic enters our ecosystem every day. Microplastic particles have recently even been found in the placentas.
Tap water in most of Europe is of good quality so there is no need to buy water in plastic bottles. Instead, you can buy a reusable water bottle, and fill it up whenever you need it. I don’t drink many soft drinks as I prefer water and tea. But if you want to buy specific soft drinks then you can choose the ones that come in glass bottles. You can even take the initiative and write to the company that produces your favorite drink to ask them to start selling it in glass bottles that can be recycled.
Reusing Packaging Materials
You are probably ordering things online and when they arrive they come with a lot of packaging. Instead of recycling it (as much as possible), I first try to reuse it myself. I use the boxes for storage and the wrapping materials for sending out packages. I try to order from companies that use recyclable packaging materials. You can easily find this information on their website.
Saving Energy and Water
This is such an easy way to do and I’m sure many people are doing this already. When I’m at home I switch off lights everywhere and only have them on where I really need them. If you have central heating then set it on a timer, so that it heats your home at regular intervals and mostly only when you are at home.
You can use draft excluders and radiator reflectors to ensure you make the most of your energy. The same goes for turning off the water tap when brushing your teeth and shampooing your hair. You don’t really need that extra water, it just goes to waste!
Natural Cleaning Products
Some time ago I learned about all the various chemicals that are in the regular cleaning products. I was shocked by how much they damage our health and environment. All these chemicals and hormone disruptors end up in our water system, on our skin, or even on our plate.
So I decided to gradually transition to natural cleaning products and it’s been a really good experience. This covers everything from washing powder, dishwasher products, and other general cleaning products. There are many options out there and some companies even offer refill stations. You can bring your containers so you don’t have to buy new ones. I’m really happy that I’m not using harsh chemicals anymore. My home is clean and smells nice and I know that the environment is better off as well.
Disposable period products create huge amounts of waste every day. A lot of them contain plastic which breaks down into microplastic particles that end up in our ecosystem.
The truth is that I waited so long to try period pants. I knew these existed but never could imagine how well these would work in the workplace or when doing sports. I first tried using the period cup, which worked okay but it wasn’t comfortable for me. Therefore I decided to try period pants and it feels like a new world has opened up. These feel just like normal pants and have never caused any problems. I didn’t have to wear anything else, they absorbed everything.
Growing My Own Herbs
Since I only have a small balcony I can only grow so much. A perfect choice for small balconies is growing herbs. It can be anything, from rosemary, basil, thyme, or parsley. It all goes into soups, salads, sauces, and some grow so abundantly that I can dry them for wintertime. The time I spend sowing and tending to them is relaxing and I love the feeling of working with soil with my bare hands.
Preparing Work Lunches
I was lucky that my first three workplaces had canteens therefore I didn’t have to worry about work lunches. Since changing jobs I not had to think about what to eat for lunch. Going out to buy premade lunches horrified me as they were all packaged in plastic. All these containers ended up pilling in our office bins at the end of the day. It looked really bad.
Most days I cook my lunches beforehand and freeze them in portions. Not only are my meals healthier, as I know exactly what is in them, they also taste better. Most of the time 🙂 No more store-bought salads and sandwiches.
Small Changes Make a Difference
These are just some of the things I do to contribute to a better world. I’m actively working on doing more and will write about it as I go along. The same way my parents set a good example I hope to inspire you to think about living in a move sustainable way.
I am very passionate about sustainability and nature, therefore I encourage everyone to take steps, no matter how big or small, towards leading a more sustainable life.
What are some of your routines? Share your tips!
For more on living closer to nature you can visit and subscribe to my YouTube channel Nature with Marusa
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