When I ask people what their biggest struggle is with sustainable living, the response I most commonly hear is “convenience.” Convenience is king, and many eco-friendly living tips can have the tendency to require a bit more effort. It’s not always conducive to raising kids, working a demanding job, or being a pet parent.
Sometimes you just need to use a disposable, or throw your banana peel in the trash instead of the compost, or use plastic bags because you forgot your canvas ones at home. There will always be moments when convenience wins, and I’m here to remind you that that’s okay.
You don’t have to do everything. You are not required to adopt an eco-friendly routine that doesn’t work for you. Pick and choose which pieces of conscious living make sense for your life. To help you up, I’ve rounded up nine eco-friendly living tips that you may actually find to be more convenient than what you were doing before.
9 Sustainable Living Tips That Will Make Your Life Easier
1. Buy sustainable toilet paper in bulk online
Most toilet paper is made from virgin wood pulp (hello deforestation!), comes in plastic packaging, and takes up a lot of space in your grocery cart. Who Gives a Crap offers a sustainable and convenient alternative—eco-friendly toilet paper delivered to your doorstep. They offer bamboo and recycled TP options, which come packaged in recyclable and compostable paper.
To make things even easier, they also have a subscription option. When you first sign up, the longest amount of time it’ll allow you to select between shipments is 16 weeks, but you can easily extend that in your account settings if you think you won’t need more by then. I personally order the 48-pack of recycled toilet paper, and have found that it lasts my boyfriend and I about nine months, which means I only think about buying toilet paper about once a year.
Oh and P.S. 50% of their profits go toward building toilets in developing countries. (Shop Who Gives a Crap, use code MOSTLYECOMORGAN10 for 10% off your first purchase over $45).
2. Swap cotton balls for reusable cotton rounds
Cotton balls are a staple in many households—they’re great for removing makeup, nail polish, applying toner, and probably dozens of other things I’m forgetting. But they have a dark side—they’re single-use. Enter, reusable cotton rounds. Buy them (or make them) once and they’re yours forever. They can perform all the duties of a cotton ball, but instead of throwing them away, throw them into a mesh laundry bag to wash and reuse. (Shop reusable cotton rounds, or learn to make them yourself).
3. Transport your groceries in laundry baskets
If loading groceries into your home often takes multiple trips, then this tip is for you. When checking out, instead of piling your groceries into store-provided bags, load them into laundry baskets you bring from home or cardboard boxes that could use a second life.
Not only does this save you the time and effort of bagging, but when you return home you’ll have one or two easy-to-carry boxes to bring inside instead of several bags.
Of course if you walk to the store, or are buying for a larger family you may find that bags are still easier, which is completely fine. As always, choose the eco-friendly living tips that work for you, and don’t worry if you can’t do them all. Some tips will work better for certain lifestyles than others, which is okay.
4. Use nearly spoiled produce to make smoothie bombs
Tired of throwing away unused spinach and avocados? Before they spoil, throw them in the blender instead. Add in water or plant-based milk along with any other produce you have that is nearing expiration, like apples or bananas. Next, pour your concoction into an ice cube tray. Once frozen, use to make smoothies throughout the week. Just blend one or two cubes together with a banana and a liquid of your choosing. This’ll allow you to prevent food waste, spend less time cleaning spoiled food out of the fridge, and you’ll have easy-to-make smoothies.
5. Swap laundry detergent for laundry sheets
Liquid detergent in plastic bottles can be messy and wasteful. Laundry detergent sheets are a different story though. Your detergent is condensed into one small post-it-sized sheet that you just toss into your washing machine. No mess, and no plastic waste.
My favorite brand of Laundry sheets is Kind Laundry. Their sheets cost $19.95 for a pack of 60, which comes to 33 cents per load, but unless I’m doing a giant load I usually just use half a sheet. That shakes out to 16 cents per load (and I won’t name names, but that’s significantly cheaper than some of the other zero waste laundry products out there).
Most importantly though, they actually work. I’ve found them to be just as effective as the conventional detergent I was using before, but without the hassle and clean-up. (Shop Kind Laundry, use code MOSTLYECOMORGAN for 10% off).
6. Use plastic-free soap
Instead of buying new hand soap every few months, or trying to funnel the contents of your large plastic refill bottle into the minuscule opening of your hand soap dispenser, you can opt for Blueland’s hand soap tablets. They come in compostable wrappers and all you have to do is fill up your soap dispenser with nine ounces of water, and drop the tablet in.
The result is low-waste foaming hand soap that works great. Plus each refill tablet costs two dollars or less (!!!) and to make things even more sustainable, buy the tablets in bulk to reduce shipping emissions.
One final pro-tip: instead of buying Blueland’s soap dispenser just use one you already have or grab one from your local thrift shop. (Shop Blueland Hand Soap).
7. Swap your plastic loofah for an eco-friendly alternative
Of all the convenient eco-friendly living tips out there, this may be one of my favorite. Swapping my plastic loofah for a washable exfoliating cloth kind of changed my life—buying loofahs was no longer a thing I needed to do (nor did I have to keep them for an insanely long time pretending that they’re totally not brimming with bacteria…)
Unlike a regular washcloth exfoliating cloths create a great lather, so you can still get rid of that dead skin and successfully shave your legs without getting razor burn (hoorah!). (Shop Exfoliating Cloths, $7.99, use code MOSTLYECOMORGAN for 10% off your first purchase).
8. Make your own salad dressing (and prevent food waste)
Instead of throwing out your last bit of jam (or painstakingly cleaning out the jar so you can add it to your already cumbersome jar cabinet), use it to make salad dressing. Just take your almost empty jar and add one part red wine vinegar and three parts oil. Shake it up and then drizzle on your next salad for a sweet berry flavor. Store in your refrigerator for up to two weeks, and cross “salad dressing” off your grocery list. You can check out this tutorial for step-by-step instructions.
9. Swap your paper towels for sustainable Dream Cloths
Lessening my reliance on paper towels was something I avoided for a long time. I always felt that some things like bathroom cleaning, food messes, and pet accidents required a disposable clean up method. And honestly, you’ll probably still find me using the occasional paper towel to clean up behind my dog, but for everything else Dream Cloths has it covered.
Dream Cloths are a paper towel alternative from Who Gives a Crap (yes the same folks that make my toilet paper). Their sponge-like clothes can hold up to 13X their weight in water, which makes them great for cleaning up all types of messes, and once they’re soiled just throw them in your washing machine or dishwasher.
Dream Cloths have greatly reduced my reliance on single-use paper towels, and the fact that they can so easily be washed and reused make them the perfect tool for cleaning all over the house. (Shop Dream Cloths, use code MOSTLYECOMORGAN10 for 10% off your first purchase over $45).
Craving more eco-friendly living tips? Sign up for The Eco Edit and join hundreds of other pro-planet enthusiasts who are passionate about bettering the world through small, sustainable steps.