Going green doesn’t have to mean completely overhauling your lifestyle or giving up everything you love. There are many small, unconventional changes you can make that have a big impact while still allowing you to enjoy your favorite habits.
I used to think living sustainably required drastic alterations like going vegetarian or giving up driving. However, after doing extensive research, I’ve discovered many unconventional, creative ways to be eco-friendly that don’t require huge sacrifices.
In this article, I’ll share 7 easy, unconventional tips for going green without feeling deprived. I was able to implement all of these in my own life without much trouble at all. Read on to find ideas that work for you!
1. Opt for Eco-Friendly Nail Polish
Painting my nails is one of my favorite weekend rituals, so I was thrilled to find sustainable nail polish options. Many mainstream polishes contain toxic ingredients like formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP).
Instead, look for polishes made with plant-based ingredients like corn, potatoes, and wheat. Most major beauty brands now offer at least one green nail polish line. I like Deborah Lippmann’s Gel Lab Pro line, which is vegan, cruelty-free, and 7-free.
With quality green polishes widely available, you can show off cute nails while avoiding nasty chemicals. It’s a simple swap that makes a difference!
2. Bring Reusable Bags Everywhere
Plastic bags are one of the worst environmental offenders. The solution seems simple – bring reusable bags grocery shopping. But forming a new habit takes time.
To ease into this, I put reusable tote bags in my car, work bag, and purse. That way, I’m prepared at the grocery store, mall, or any other shopping situation.
It takes forgetting your reusable bags once with a cart full of items to learn this lesson! Now I have them everywhere so I’m never caught unprepared. This ensures I consistently skip the plastic.
3. Switch to Rechargeable Batteries
Disposable batteries contain heavy metals and toxic chemicals. They also pile up in landfills. A better option is switching to rechargeable batteries.
Upfront, rechargeable batteries are more expensive. But over time they pay for themselves since they can be used over and over. Look for rechargeable AA and AAA batteries, which can replace disposables in many household items like tv remotes, toys, and controllers.
I prefer Panasonic Eneloop batteries. Though pricier, they hold a charge for up to 10 years when not being used. The investment is worth it for reduced waste!
4. Have a “No Buy” Month
Rampant consumerism takes a massive toll on the environment. Everything we buy required materials and energy to produce, not to mention the impacts of shipping and packaging.
To combat this, I started instituting “no buy” months where I cannot purchase anything non-essential. At first, I managed to go a whole week! Now I can make it a month.
It’s shocking how much impulse spending happens out of habit. A “no buy” challenge breaks the cycle. You become more aware of unnecessary purchases that promote waste and pollution. I think twice before buying something now.
5. Opt Outside Instead of Binge Watching
Nothing beats binge-watching your favorite shows. But spending all weekend inside has environmental costs when you could be outside enjoying nature instead.
To balance my couch potato tendencies, I instituted a “1 show per 1 hike” rule. For each tv episode I watch, I also have to spend equivalent time exercising or appreciating nature.
Some ideas are going for a hike, strolling through a park, or just sitting outside reading a book. Not only is this beneficial for my health, but it’s also increased my connection to the natural world I aim to protect.
6. Do a Monthly Plastic Audit
Plastic waste is a huge problem. But it often goes unnoticed since disposal happens out of sight, out of mind. To stay aware, I started doing monthly plastic audits.
For this, collect all your plastic waste for a month. This includes items from your recycling bin, like bottles, containers, and packaging. When you see the actual quantity of plastic piling up, it’s very eye-opening!
My monthly audits keep me accountable. I think harder before making purchases with excessive or avoidable plastic packaging. And I look for plastic-free alternatives when possible.
7. Have a “Meatless Monday”
Animal agriculture strains natural resources. But for many people, completely giving up meat is unrealistic. An easy fix – have a designated “Meatless Monday” each week.
Initially eliminating meat one day per week took some adjustment. Now it’s second nature. Going meatless just one day reduces my carbon footprint while still allowing me to enjoy meat in moderation.
“Meatless Monday” is an easy concept to implement. You can find ample meal ideas online. Quick options are some of my favorites, like grilled cheese sandwiches and veggie pasta dishes.
Minor tweaks to your daily habits can drastically slash your environmental impact. The key is identifying changes that are convenient and realistic for your lifestyle.
I was pleasantly surprised at how simple choices like swapping nail polish, carrying reusable bags, and taking monthly plastic audits added up to significant green living improvements. Best of all, I didn’t have to overhaul my lifestyle or give up cherished activities.
What unconventional, easy eco-friendly changes can you try today? You may be amazed at the difference small adjustments make when sustained over time. Our collective efforts create waves of positive change.