17 Eco-Friendly Changes to Make in Your Home
If you know me or you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am always trying to make changes in my life that are eco-friendly. It is a fact that we use WAY too much plastic in our every day lives, landfills are overflowing, and our eco-systems are being destroyed. Not only will these changes make your home more eco-friendly, but it is good for the environment, you will save money, and your home will become clutter free. By 2050, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish. That’s crazy! Every tiny step helps, and these are a few things I have been changing in my day-to-day life.
Eliminate Plastic Straws
This has been the EASIEST change for me. I bought a pack of aluminum straws and I keep them in my drawer at home and use them whenever I would normally go for a plastic straw.
Keep one in your purse to use when you are out of the house.
If you are at a restaurant, ask for no straw (~ most states are now making it a law to not give a straw unless asked for, and Starbucks has pledged to be completely straw free by 2020).
BYOB: Bring Your Own Bag
This has also been an easy change for me. Buy a pack of re-usable grocery bags and bring them with you every time you grocery shop. Most states are now charging for bags - and some stores give you a discount if you bring your own bags.
You can also bring your own bag when shopping for things other than groceries. Every time I shop I bring one bag and just ask them to put it in their so I don’t go home with 5 different bags from Sephora, H&M, Forever 21, etc.
Buy From Companies That Use Recycled Materials
You can find this on the labels of products, it will say “made with 100% recycled materials”. That shows that the company cares and buys recycled items to make their products, instead of making their own plastic, etc.
Ditch Plastic Water Bottles
This was always easy for me because we never had plastic throw away water bottles growing up, we always had re-usable water bottles. A lot of families buy water bottles in bulk at the grocery store, and this can be easily eliminated. Buy BPA free water bottles (I prefer glass) or my favorite: Hydro Flask. I travel with them and bring them with me when I leave the house, I never buy water!
Eliminate Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets are something that you probably use often, and don’t realize that there is an alternative. Buy these wool dryer balls and dab on essential oils, and throw them in the dryer with your clothes. I personally like this better, my clothes smell better and feel softer, and I don’t use 100’s of dryer sheets every year.
This applies to moms (obvi), but diapers are something that you can eliminate from in your household. My sister did this with her first and I never realized how easy it was until I saw her do it. You have a bunch of cloth diapers, cloth diaper covers, and then you rinse them with this attachment in the toilet. Not only are diapers hella expensive, but they are also not eco-friendly. Obviously you can’t do this every day or when you are out of the house (or traveling) but using cloth diapers can save you so much money and help you become more conscious of every day waste. Think about it this way: we don’t throw away every pair of underwear we use after each use. Your baby doesn’t have to either :-)
K Cups: Reusable K Cups
I prefer to brew a pot of coffee, but I know a lot of people have Keurigs at home. And most offices have Keurigs or single use coffee makers. Buy these reusable cups and put your own coffee in them! It eliminates using 20 of them a week, and I prefer the fresh coffee taste anyways.
Reusable Coffee Cups
Majority of people in the world have their own reusable coffee cup selections at home, especially if you are on the go a lot. But, you can bring your own to most coffee shops and they will give you a discount! I have this one in my Amazon cart right now, it’s super cute and minimal.
Eliminate Single Use Plastic
This is hard, but small changes will become habits. I use a bamboo hairbrush and not only do I prefer it over a plastic hair brush - but it’s more eco-friendly. Most products have non-plastic options now, even toothbrushes and razors. If an item comes in glass or plastic, buy the glass.
Silicone Baking Mats
This is a replacement for aluminum foil. I don’t even use aluminum foil because I usually just spray down whatever pan I need, but I know sometimes a meal needs to be covered. Buy these mats and put your cookies or meat on them next time you cook!
Buy Beeswax Paper
This is something I discovered a few years back, and I LOVE the idea. It is a replacement for plastic wrap. And in my opinion, it works so much better. I hate plastic wrap. HATE. It never sticks and it seems pointless to me. I always put my food in a container. But these are reusable and they stick to anything. You can also throw your leftover bread or sandwich around them and use it like aluminum foil. Buy them here, or make them yourself here!
Shop Second Hand
The only 2 couches I have owned in my adult life were purchased on Facebook Marketplace. They were both barely used and in great condition. I am a firm believer in buying used items. There is no need to buy a couch for $3k when you can find the same one locally for half the price, just gently used.
Majority of the clothes I buy, I buy online used. I use the apps Poshmark, Mercari, and Depop (follow me on the apps @carolineripa). If you are looking for a specific brand or item, just search on those apps and buy them used. You can also sell on these apps - which is another thing I do.
Shop at thrift stores, you would be surprised at what you will find. I have to be in a certain mood to go digging through a smelly thrift store, but when I do, I always find cool things. One of my best friends is the queen of this, and she has found items such as Prada and Kate Spade, and one time found a brand new pair of those Spanx leather leggings everyone is obsessed with.
Also, donate clothes and items you do not use. Some stores will give you money or store credit in exchange for your items, so it’s a win-win. Look up the local second-hand stores near you and ask!
This goes for farmers markets and local stores. Buying local not only helps the local economy but it supports small businesses, and in the long term, helps the environment. Most local businesses use local goods and make their products locally!
Cancel Magazine Subscriptions
Every magazine now has online blogs and newsletters that can be sent to your email. There is no need to buy a magazine that will be thrown away in a week anymore, you can read that same article online. It is good to support companies that you love, so instead of buying the New York Times everyday, subscribe to their online website. Most subscriptions are fairly cheap, just like a magazine subscription would be.
Opt In To Paperless Billing
I have not gotten a bill in the mail in years, because every credit card or water bill, etc is subscribed to the “paperless” method. That means I get everything via email or their website. This helps me organize every bill online, and I never worry about “losing” a bill.
Unplug Items Are You Aren’t Using
A lot energy gets wasted by items staying plugged in. I always unplug any cosmetic items (hair dyer, curling iron, etc) when I am not using, and the same goes for kitchen items such as toasters and mixers.
Turn off your computer at night - not just sleep mode. It saves energy and saves battery on your device.
Use The Marie Kondo Method
If you live in a cave or don’t have a Netflix subscription you probably have not seen the “Mario Kondo Method” going around. She has a New York Times bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, and a Netflix documentary came out recently called “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”. Her idea is to minimize what you own and only keep things that “bring you joy”.
Go through your junk drawers, desk drawers, bathroom, closets, etc. Get rid of anything expired, old, you don’t use, or doesn’t “spark joy”. Do you have a sweater in your closest that you haven’t worn in years? Donate it. Most homes are filled to the brim with stuff. Stuff you don’t need stuff that doesn’t make our lives better, easier or happier.
I hope this list inspires you to make some changes in your home! Nobody is perfect and I am still learning everyday how to eliminate waste where I can. My worst habits are how many paper towels I use, how much water I use (I like long showers and I keep the water on when brushing my teeth…oops), and I am obsessed with using makeup wipes - I haven’t found a reusable option I like. Any small change is a change. The Europeans have been doing majority of this for years - we’re just a little behind, but that doesn’t mean we can’t catch up! What are your favorite eco-friendly changes to make in your home? Tell me in the comments below!