It’s easy to feel helpless when it comes to helping the environment. People tend to get caught up in the idea that our actions don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, so why bother? But the truth is, if we all just made a few small changes, we could make a huge difference. That’s not idealism, that’s a fact. Plus, there are so many ways to be more eco-friendly that require little to no effort. Sure, you might need to rethink some of your habits, but you don’t have to rearrange your whole life or quit your job and live on a commune to make a real impact. You don’t have to be perfect. Just be a little better. Here are 40 easy, simple, fun, money-saving, and truly effective ways to start:
1. Use washable rags/hand towels instead of paper towels.
2. Bring your own bags to the grocery store.
3. Buy produce when it’s in season. Preferably at the farmer’s market or directly from a local farm, if you can!
4. Use your heat/AC sparingly and remember to turn it off at night or when you’re gone.
5. Don’t flush your pee. Sounds gross, we know, but if you’re drinking enough water your pee should be pretty much colorless and odorless — not worth wasting water flushing every time!
6. Shop at thrift stores or vintage boutiques.
7. Grow your own herbs, fruits, and veggies. Even the most cramped apartment has room for a little container garden.
8. Host a clothing swap.
9. Turn off the light every time you leave the room.
10. Leave your car at home. Carpool and combine trips when possible.
11. Make your own household cleaners with vinegars, baking soda, and essential oils.
12. Hang your clothes out to dry instead of using the dryer.
14. Try to make your own makeup.
15. Recycle. If your workplace doesn’t recycle, ask them to. Keep asking.
16. Get your clothes tailored or repaired instead of throwing them out.
17. Try the no shampoo thing. Or just wash your hair less.
18. Take shorter showers. If you’re in a relationship, shower together.
19. Quit shopping at fast fashion stores.
20. Buy food in the bulk section at the grocery store, in reusable containers. You’ll save money this way too!
21. Bring a reusable mug to the coffee shop.
22. Use natural bug repellents instead of buying toxic ones.
23. Sign up for paperless billing.
24. Become BFFs with Craigslist.
25. Those foods you usually buy pre-made at the grocery store? Learn to make them at home instead.
26. Ride your bike.
27. Take a minimalist approach to your wardrobe instead of running out and buying every single new trend.
28. Anytime you can use candles instead of turning on the light, do it. Bonus: romantic vibes!
29. Learn to sew.
30. Support small, local businesses instead of national chains whenever possible.
31. Make homemade gifts for birthdays and holidays.
32. Don’t upgrade your smartphone every single time they come out with a new model.
33. Get a bus/public transportation pass and use it.
34. Make meatless meals at least a few times a week.
35. Exercise at home or outside instead of going to the gym.
36. Use coconut oil instead of lube (not to mention a ton of other things).
37. Wash out and reuse plastic food containers for storing food, craft supplies, household cleaners, etc.
38. Stop using face wash with microbeads in it. Make your own instead!
39. Shave in the bath instead of the shower.
40. Don’t give up. Nobody’s perfect. It’s great to care about this stuff. It’s great to want to do a lot. It’s even better to just do as much as you can.