There are so many easy ways to lower the impact of your lifestyle! We’ve chosen 29 of our favourite tips to share with you here, but the list could go on and on.
Hopefully, it goes without saying that we think making the switch to using plastic free solid shampoo bars and conditioner bars is one of the best ethical habits you can adopt. Still, we recognise that there’s much more to a low impact life…
If your lifestyle is already sustainable
If you’re already on board with the low impact lifestyle movement, you probably have the sustainability basics covered by now. Perhaps you’ve invested in a reusable:
- Water bottle
- Coffee cup
You might be shopping at your local bulk or refill store and using your bamboo toothbrush before bed. Hemp hats off to you, all of this is amazing… but what now?
Witnessing how far away we still are from averting the climate crisis, despite our efforts, can be disheartening. Luckily there’s always more we can do.
You can apply these low impact lifestyle tips to the way you eat, organise your home and act when you’re out and about. They won’t dramatically interfere with your daily routine, but they’ll help to protect our planet.
Low impact eating and drinking tips
- Eat more fruit & vegetables. This is the epitome of a win win low impact habit. Eating more plants is great for your health, it can soften your carbon footprint and help you reduce your plastic waste. Wherever you can, opt for seasonal, local and un-packaged produce.
- Plan your meals for the week. You’ll be surprised how much this tip will help you reduce your food waste. You’re less likely to be tempted by that last minute, highly processed and heavily packaged ready meal as well.
- Use sustainable food wraps. Have you got leftovers from last night’s lovely veggie-filled meal? Just put it in a storage container and cover it with a beeswax or a plant-based wax wrap. No need for cling film.
- Enjoy a plastic free takeaway from time to time. We are lucky to be customers of Dabbadrop. It’s an amazing service that makes irresistible plant-based curries, which are delivered by bicycle! If you just don’t feel like cooking tonight, do a little research into what’s available in your area. It’s a great way to support ethical businesses whilst lowering your impact.
- Ditch the coffee pods. This doesn’t mean you have to go without your daily caffeine kick. You can buy loose beans, get a grinder and make wonderful coffee on your stovetop with an old fashioned cafetiere. If you simply cannot abandon your espresso machine, go for biodegradable pods.
- Make your own yoghurt or oat milk. Don’t be daunted! This is so much easier than you think. It’s just a fun, money-saving, eco activity with a tasty outcome.
- Make your own lunch. It doesn’t have to be anything gourmet and think how much waste you’ll be reducing by not buying takeaway. When you just don’t have time or fancy something special, why not eat your local café?
- Don’t be greenwashed by bioplastic! If you think of bioplastic as a miracle solution to consuming without any environmental impact, think again. It might be an improvement on some forms of plastic, but producing it still requires a lot of industrial processing. Don’t be fooled by the name either: it is NOT going to be composted and it will end up in landfill eventually.
How to lower your impact at home
- Start with a ‘waste audit’. We all know that reducing is the ultimate goal, so include the recycling in your list. Taking stock of how much waste you produce on a weekly basis will show you where you can make some impactful changes at home. They don’t have to be radical at first. Just think about what you really need and what you can happily live without.
- Use bi-carb soda, citric acid, soda crystals and white vinegar as substitutes for toxic cleaning products. They work just as well; you won’t be covering your home in scary chemicals and you can buy them plastic free.
- Compost! If you have the space, you can make your own. Or, if your local council has a kitchen waste collection service, take advantage. Did you know that freezing your food scraps until collection day is a great way to stop things spoiling and smelling in the summer?
- Switch to plastic free toiletries. Don’t neglect your bathroom when you’re introducing more low impact lifestyle swaps. You can buy high quality, plastic free soap, deodorant, toothpaste tabs or aluminium tubes and, of course, solid shampoo bars and conditioner bars!
- Ditch the make-up wipes. You can buy reusable wipes or make your own from an old t-shirt. Just toss them in the wash when you’ve removed your mascara.
- Switch to plastic free period products. Period plastic is one of the worst environmental offenders. Thanks to all the amazing period pants, menstrual cups and organic, plastic free sanitary brands out there it’s one of the most easily avoidable too. Find what works for you. And, if you haven’t come across her yet, make sure you follow the inspiring Ella Daish who is leading the campaign to #endperiodplastic
- Swap to renewable energy. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to renewable energy suppliers and price comparison sites these days. Or, if you have the space and the sunshine, you could look into generating your own energy by installing solar panels.
- Lower that thermostat by 1 or 2 degrees and put on that jumper. You’ll save energy and money and appreciate hot chocolate even more.
- Cold wash your clothes. This is another money and electricity saver. If you have a lot of garments made from synthetics, get yourself a Guppyfriend. It’s a simple but brilliant invention that will stop your clothes from releasing microfibres.
- Hand wash instead of dry-cleaning. A typical drycleaner will use a lot of chemicals and solvents to get your clothes feeling as good as new. Tackling that stain yourself will prevent pollution and be much cheaper. On the occasion when you really need to get something professionally dry-cleaned, ask them to leave off the plastic bag.
- Give unique upcycled accessories as gifts. Some brands are so skilled and inventive with what they reuse. Lower your impact by choosing bags, wallets and belts made from old truck tarpaulins, bouncy castles or even fire hoses.
- Decorate your space with low impact homeware. Need a new couch? Get yours reupholstered. A new table? Find a second- hand one. A new rug? Most carpet shops have offcuts for sale that you can have professionally edged.
Tips for staying green when you’re out and about
- Take your reusable cutlery on holiday with you. Keeping your impact low whilst you travel is easy with a little planning. Your cutlery won’t take up space or weight in your suitcase, and you can avoid accepting those flimsy, polluting plastic knives and forks.
- Buy clothes second-hand, or from a sustainable fashion brand. Hopefully this tip goes without saying. The environmental and humanitarian ills of the fast fashion industry are countless. Slow fashion is the way to combat it.
- Walk, run, hop, bicycle, catch the train or take the bus. Giving your car a rest is one of the best ways to lower the impact of your lifestyle. Once it’s become a healthy habit, you’ll enjoy it too.
- Reduce your paperwork. You can save so many trees by changing to online statements and subscriptions, saying no to flyers and junk mail and using an electronic business card app. Besides, who doesn’t want less admin?
- Just say no. It’s easy to compromise your low impact lifestyle by passively accepting items you don’t need. Get used to politely declining every time someone tries to give you an unnecessary object or something made from single use plastic.
- Speak up and challenge those in charge. When you see a superfluous piece of plastic in a shop, ask to speak to the manager. Plastic umbrella bags are one of my pet hates! If enough customers comment on it, something will be done about it.
- Support campaigns for change. You don’t have to be face to face with someone to have a meaningful impact. There are some trailblazing campaigns like #switchthestick, #plasticfreetravel and #sackthesachet that are fighting for a greener future. Your support will help them achieve their goals.
- Spend your money wisely and don’t underestimate the power you have as a consumer. Whenever you decide to pay for a more ethical item or service, you’re decreasing the demand for unethical products and upping the popularity of lower impact ones.
- Don’t just try this at home! Do you work in an office, a shop or a factory? Do you get frustrated by your colleagues’ unsustainable habits? Rather than sitting in silent judgement, look for creative ways to reduce waste and make planet positive changes in your workplace. It could inspire and encourage others to lower their impact. The team at Coffee & TV have worked hard to eliminate single use plastic from their office.
Keep the low impact lifestyle tips coming
There’s really no limit on how many low impact lifestyle tips you can introduce into your daily routine. As we said, this is not an exhaustive list, so we really encourage you to get creative and think outside the box.
If you’re looking for some more inspiration, ideas and tips there are plenty of other excellent resources out there. We love How to Save the World for Free by Natalie Fee, the Age of Plastic Podcast, by Andrea Fox and online zero waste shop and information hub, Kempii.
I’ve actually been on the Age of Plastic as a guest. If you’re interested in KIND2, then listen to my conversation with Andrea about how to build a plastic free beauty brand.
We also recommend you download CogoUK. It’s the ultimate low impact lifestyle app that helps you do everything from tracking your carbon footprint to finding the most sustainable retailers and brands.
Haven’t started your plastic free haircare routine yet?