Let’s be realistic: When talking about being friends with nature, we all know we have our little sins. Do you leave the tap running while you’re brushing your teeth? Are you addicted to buying fast fashion and things you actually don’t need? Whatever the “sin”, we are all sinful.
The good news is that even if you are not ready to undergo a complete eco-friendly life change, there are plenty of easy and practical habits you can adopt that will exert a beneficial influence on the planet without hindering in any way your everyday life.
We created the 40 Ways to be Friends with Nature Guide consisting of easy, smart and useful tips that any lazy activist can follow!
1. Take a rest from fast fashion
No matter how hard it is, try to stay away from fast fashion for a few months and consider investing in organic and/or sustainable clothes. Elizabeth L. Cline, the author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, provided a list of ethical merchants of stylish and sustainable clothes on her website. That’s a good place to start from!
2. Reduce your water usage
Turn off the water tap while you are brushing your teeth, use the washing machine only when full (use cold water – it saves energy), don’t buy bottled water – filter your water, try to wash the dishes by hand a few days a week, try to scrape the dishes instead of rinse them before putting them in the dishwasher.
3. Get rid of the coffee stirrers
One research points out that Americans use 138 billion stirrers and straws a year. Here’s a smart alternative: Pour the milk and sugar first, then pour the coffee and it should mix everything up well. And what if you are adamant about stirring the coffee you brewed at home? Use a straw of pasta 😉 Once used, the straw can be cooked or even thrown away without making us feel too guilty.
4.Fix your clothes and shoes
Don’t throw away your worn out shoes, find a cobbler that will clean and repaint them, and fix the heel and the sole. The same goes for clothes – a good tailor can do wonders!
5.Learn about the Greenpeace Fashion Detox Manifesto
Here’s something you may want to read and sign to support the Greenpeace Detox campaign which tries to urge consumers to confront brands and insist on toxic-free fashion. (A good news: a few companies, including H&M and Marks and Spencer, adopted the green chemistry design and leave out some of the hazardous substances.)
Empty Your Wardrobe took part in the #WorldRecycleWeek by donating the clothes that couldn’t find a new owner at our third event. Here are a few fun photos of this moment:
6. Start walking more or riding a bicycle
Even if it is for just a few streets, walk or ride instead of taking a taxi, car or metro train. In some countries there are bike sharing projects for people who don’t have a bicycle.
7. Turn off and unplug
Simply turn off all lights before you walk out in the morning and unplug the appliances you don’t use during the day and night – especially the personal and office computers.
8. Do you need to wrap a present?
Create a unique wrap by using old newspapers, magazines or a recycled-paper shopping bag. It is not only eco-friendly, but it also looks awesome.
9. Not ready to become a vegetarian?
Try a meat-free diet 1, 2 or 3 days a week. Also, try to reduce the resources you use up. According to one research, it takes 750 ml of water to produce 1 kg wheat, and 100,000 L of water to produce 1 kg of beef. A big difference, isn’t it?
10. Start using a digital calendar
This way you waste less paper. And instead of scattering notes everywhere use your phone reminders or an application for the purpose.
11. Change the electric bulbs
Another research states that if every American household changes one ordinary electric bulb with an energy-efficient one, the reduction in pollution will be equivalent to the removal of 1 million cars from the roads.
12. Buy food from local farms or farmer shops at least once a month
This reduces the emission of greenhouse gases produced during the goods transportation.
13. Regulate the thermostat
Change the temperature to a few degrees higher in summer and a few grades lower in winter.
14. Pour a little vodka in the vase water
This prolongs the life of the flowers in the vase and it really works!
15. Use second-hand furniture and appliances
Think about buying the expensive things, like a bicycle, stereo, computer, TV or another major buy, from a second-hand shop. There are many Facebook groups where people offer their old possessions in good condition. The website OLX is a good place to start from.
16. Enough with the wire hangers already!
As wire hangers have no value for the recycling programs, ask the dry cleaning if they don’t want them back to reuse them.
17. Pay the bills online
Honestly, it is so much easier to register and pay the bills online!
18. Learn about the Slow Fashion Movement
At first, the idea was to sieve the mass fashion manufacturers out, but as it developed, slow fashion can now be useful when buying clothes outside the trends which last longer and are customisable. Of course, it won’t hurt to try and live by the fundamental concept of the movement: buy less clothes less frequently.
19. Invest in reusable shopping bags and coffee cups
Use reusable cups for your morning coffee and daily water intake. Bring your own shopping bag to the grocery store. Some of us even take it further and sip from ceramic coffee cups on the way to work ;).
20. Consider changing the shower head with a low flow one
The new models use less water and have the same pressure.
21. Decorate with a twist
Beautify our home with flower pots to freshen the air, or use old blankets, silk shawls or old clothes to make pillow covers for your living room.
22. Use less paper napkins
At the café or restaurant take the number of napkins that you actually need instead of grabbing dozens.
23. Read online
Your favourite newspapers, magazines and books are available online. It’s cheaper reading this way. However, we do think that there’s nothing better than feeling the pages of a favourite book, so we can make an exception for a few books.
24. Get rid of the unneeded paper mail
25. Sell or exchange clothes online
Many websites, Facebook groups or even live events provide such opportunities.
26. Cut in halves the cotton pads, make-up sponges and face towels
You will not only waste less but double them in number.
27. Take care of yourself
If you know you are addicted to a certain type of products, you should invest in better quality goods which will last longer, instead of buying a heap of cheap stuff that will wear out fast and will soon have to be thrown away.
28. Use a laptop instead of a desktop computer when at home
It saves energy, because it uses batteries and it’s not plugged in all the time.
29. Search on Google How to make your own detergents?
Just try, you’ll be surprised.
30. Use cold instead of hot water
This has a great impact. Also, nowadays washing machines give the same result even with cold washing. Try drying the clothes on a rack. Not using a tumble dryer can save up to 60% of the energy used for the washing.
31. DIY heat pillows
Wondering what to do with all the socks which lost their twins? If you have body pains, fill a sock with beans or rice and heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Voilà! Heat pillows!
32. Rent or buy a hybrid car
If you use rent-a-car services, take a hybrid model. We’ll talk about their advantages another time, because it’s a long story.
33. Exchange books and magazines with the neighbours
If the building allows it, organize a spot where books and magazines can be left or exchanged.
34. Throw away batteries the good way
Why don’t you recycle the old batteries? The number of containers for the purpose is ever-growing.
35. Buy digital tickets
For everything possible, because in our country at most events the paper version is still preferred…
36. Turn the old-fashioned into fashionable
Before throwing out the worn-out jeans consider turning them into great and trendy short jeans. You can also turn a t-shirt into a cool short top, or shorten a long skirt.
37. Use non-toxic nail polish
There are brands which manufacture nail polish that doesn’t contain formaldehyde, ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, nitrocellulose, acetone and heavy metals. Zoya, Butter London, Aquarella are a few of them.
38. Whiten your teeth with banana peels!
It may sound weird, but use banana peels to whiten your teeth! Rub your teeth with the inside of the peel and leave for 10 minutes. Then use a dry brush to clean your teeth. If you do this a few times a week, you will whiten your teeth as if you used a whitening toothpaste from the pharmacy.
39. Double the usage of butters and oils
Do you know that extra virgin coconut and avocado oils are highly nutritious for the skin and hair? If you have some at home, why don’t you try them instead of a face cream or hair mask?
40. Take care of your pets in an eco-friendly way
For example, use canvas or hemp leash for your dog instead of one made of artificial materials.