Sustainability | Renewable Energy

10 Simple Eco-Friendly Changes

10 Simple Eco-Friendly Changes to Make in Your Life This Year

By Cora Gold


As climate change awareness increases and consumerism shifts to green, eco-friendliness is a priority for many people. Fortunately, adopting sustainable habits may be easier than you think. Here are 10 simple at-home practices to help the planet in 2024>>>

Eat Less Meat

According to experts, a plant-based diet is the most environmentally friendly. Vegetarian and vegan diets emit 74.9% fewer greenhouse gases than diets with animal protein. Land and water use are also much lower. Even if you’re not entirely ready to give up meat, there’s a 30% difference in emissions between high and low meat-eaters.

Adopt a Minimalist Mindset

Learning to live with less is a simple, eco-friendly change to make this year. Go through your belongings and donate, sell or discard items no longer needed. You can also reduce landfill waste by consigning antiques, furniture and other unwanted items.

Reduce Single-Use Plastics

The plastic crisis is at an all-time high, with global production reaching 400 million metric tons annually in 2021 — double since 2000. Unfortunately, plastic may take decades to hundreds of years to decompose.

Start living more sustainably this year by reducing your use of single-use plastics, such as water bottles, plastic straws and grocery bags. Opt for reusable and biodegradable alternatives instead. When it comes to utensils, skip the disposables, even if it means more dishes to wash. If you’re throwing a party or planning an event, you can rent reusable products like flatware to avoid throwing plasticware away at the end of the night. 

Compost Leftovers

Gardening is a great way to reduce food waste, lower agricultural emissions and save money on groceries. However, every successful garden requires nutrient-rich soil.

You can buy a compost bin for under a couple of hundred bucks or build your own. Then, fill it with leftover produce scraps and yard waste. Remember to turn it every two or three days so the soil can aerate and continue composting.

Buy Local Produce

Stop by your local farmers market in 2024 for fresh, seasonal produce grown nearby. Buying fruits and vegetables from local farmers boosts the regional economy and reduces food transportation emissions. Local produce is also healthier for you, reaching your plate shortly after harvesting. 

Mix Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions

Commercial cleaning products might kill bacteria throughout your house, but wreak havoc on the environment. Dangerous chemical compounds get washed down drains, polluting aquatic ecosystems and drinking water sources.

A much greener option is to make a homemade cleaner using a one-quarter cup of vinegar, two cups of distilled water, a couple of teaspoons of baking soda and essential oils. 

Dispose of Waste Properly

Americans generated 292.4 million tons of trash in 2018 — 4.9 pounds per person daily. About 32.1% of that is recycled or composted. One of the reasons the percentage is so low is that many people are confused about recycling.

Educate yourself on which products are recyclable, and ask about your local recycling rules and regulations. If needed, create a chart to remind yourself what products you can put in the recycling bin. 

Take Alternative Transportation

Do you live near your workplace or grocery store? Reduce your carbon footprint with alternative transportation instead of driving your car. You can lower your travel emissions by 75% when you ride a bike during quick trips. Other ways to lessen your transportation impact include carpooling or taking the city bus to work.

Upcycle and Repurpose

Do you have a pile of old clothes you hope to eliminate? Thrift stores won’t take anything too worn out. Instead of throwing clothes in the trash, give them a second life as dust rags and storage wrapping.

Other ideas to upcycle and repurpose old items include:

> Using empty paint cans to store tools in the garage

> Decorating shoe boxes to keep your arts and crafts

> Preserving dry pantry items — such as cereal and rolled oats — in glass jars

> Sewing denim jeans into tote bags

> Using wood pallets to create boxes, tables, a vertical garden or a headboard

Choose Non-Toxic Beauty Products

A 2022 study from the Plastic Soup Foundation showed 90% of beauty products contain microplastics. Microplastics are difficult to filter, take a long time to decompose, and harm humans and the planet.

Research personal care brands to discover which have adopted eco-friendly manufacturing and safe ingredients. Then, begin swapping out your current products for non-toxic ones. 

Everyone Can Live Sustainably

Small changes make a significant difference in the environment. Before you know it, changing your behaviors to eco-friendly habits will become the norm. Start gradually and work your way toward a sustainable lifestyle.

About the author: Cora Gold is a sustainability writer who aims to live a healthy, low-waste lifestyle. Read more from Cora in Revivalist magazine, LinkedIn and Twitter


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