10 Sustainable Swaps for Everyday Simplicity

A few small, easy changes to your everyday habits can make a big impact on your environmental footprint

Shira Gill
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Shine On

One of the most impactful things you can do for the planet is use less energy. The great news is that just by switching out your regular old light bulbs with energy-efficient, long-lasting LED bulbs, you can reduce your environmental footprint as well as your monthly energy bill. A win-win!

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Dress for Eco-Success

Clothing has become so inexpensive and “disposable” that textile waste has reached an all-time high, and discarded clothes are clogging our landfills at an astounding rate. You can do your part by steering away from “fast fashion” that you plan to discard after a few uses. Instead, invest in well constructed, ethically made items that can stand the test of time. Second-hand stores or buy-sell-trade shops offer opportunities to upgrade your style while decreasing your environmental footprint.

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Ditch the Plastic

Looking to make your kitchen a bit greener? Plastic containers get warped and discolored over time and can also leach chemicals into your food. No good! A simple swap from plastic to glass food storage containers will keep you healthy and your ingredients fresh. Looking for a stylish and sustainable fix? The pantry set from is a great go-to solution.

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Pack a Greener Lunch

When packing snacks or lunches, provide a great alternative to plastic snack containers. When you need a disposable solution, ditch the Ziploc bags in favor of wax or parchment bags, which can be composted.

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Make a Sound Investment

While easier to clean, the coating on many non-stick pans contains chemicals that off-gas when heated and leach into your food. Try investing in a set of 100% stainless steel alternatives. High-quality pans aren’t cheap, but most households can get away with owning one good set. A seasoned cast iron skillet is the ultimate non-stick pan, costs less, and will last you a lifetime.

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Shop Wisely

Friday Apaliski, founder of , suggests looking out for the “Safer Choice” label when shopping for cleaning products. This is an EPA certification and is the easiest way to ensure your cleaning products are safe. Friday also suggests using vinegar and baking soda for all of your cleaning needs--both are inexpensive and as green as they come!

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Handle with Care

Washing and drying clothing and linens on high heat uses a ton of energy and is tough on your garments. Try doing laundry on a cooler setting and hanging clothing to dry. The sustainability gurus at suggest switching to eco-friendly powder detergent and non-toxic wool dryer balls as an alternative to dryer sheets. The environment, and your clothing, will thank you.

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Make a Conscientious Compromise

Love to entertain? Reduce waste by curating your own “party box” complete with sustainable, reusable party décor. For occasions when you need to use disposable napkins, plates, and utensils, ditch the plastic and go for compostable disposables.

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Spend Less

Don’t buy, borrow! Whether you need a formal dress for a single event or an extra folding table for an upcoming party, consider borrowing (or swapping) with a friend or neighbor. Clothing swaps and toy exchanges are also a great way to get what you need and streamline your home without spending a dime.

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Consider a Minimalist Approach

The single best way to reduce your environmental footprint? Limit your consumption and get intentional with future purchases. Be the “gatekeeper” of your home and decide what your family truly values and wants to invest in. Remember that just a few small shifts can still make a major impact on both your home and the environment.

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Tips from a Pro

Shira is the founder of , a boutique lifestyle brand with a “less is more” philosophy. She offers on-site and virtual home organization and styling, as well as online resources and inspiration to help you design a clutter-free life. Follow Shira on or her for weekly tips and inspiration.