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Sustainable living in everyday life

Sustainable living - 50 tips for a green everyday life

How can you actually live sustainably? We have not heard phrases such as "it's up to us" or "it's up to us now" in relation to the large Environmental problems of our time heard often enough. But how can each of us now make our everyday life environmentally friendly in a very practical way in order to really do something for our planet?

In this article I would like to explain to you why sustainability is so incredibly important and with which simple tips & tricks you can live sustainably in your everyday life.

Here is another short Table of contents for you:

  1. Definition
  2. Household
  3. Purchasing
  4. Kitchen
  5. Food
  6. Bathroom
  7. On the road & mobility
  8. Clothing
  9. Work & Finances
  10. Behavior tips
  11. Closing words

Tip: In this article you can already find many tips - but in my new book Sustainable living for beginners I'll show you step by step how you can make your everyday life more environmentally friendly. Have fun reading!

What does sustainability mean in everyday life?

Sustainable living in everyday life - definition

In the Duden dictionary, the term sustainability is defined by the words "longer lasting effect" In terms of environmental, societal and social aspects, the word sustainability means to me that all these aspects must be brought into harmony with each other in order to enable future generations of all living beings to live on this earth.

Counteracting environmental problems through sustainable lifestyles

Living as sustainably as possible for each of us is the critical piece of the puzzle to solving the biggest problems of our time. These include, for example:

Everyone can do many different things in their everyday lives to help save species and curb air pollution. Or ensure that less waste ends up in nature and food is wasted unnecessarily.

50 tips for sustainable living

So now we know that sustainable living makes more than sense from both an environmental and a societal-social perspective. In the end, everyone really does benefit from a consciously sustainable lifestyle.

Now I'd like to give you 50 tips that will make your everyday life a little more environmentally friendly in all areas.

Notice: It's not about implementing everything at once. Try them out step by step and first of all get to know the things you can do to help solve our environmental problems.

Sustainable living - Household & living

Sustainable living in everyday life - household

Especially in the household we can draw from the full when it comes to living more sustainably. Here are a few examples, although the list could be endless:

1. fill up washing machine & dishwasher

Depending on the model, washing machines and dishwashers consume vast amounts of energy and water. If you want to make washing dishes and laundry with household appliances environmentally friendly, then they should really be full before they are turned on, so that the water and energy consumption pays off for the environment and your wallet.

2. wash at low temperatures (without prewash & dryer).

The hotter the laundry, the higher the energy consumption. The 90° wash cycle is actually possible with many devices, but if you want to wash your laundry sustainably, you should do without it.

Tip: You should also avoid pre-washing and air dry the clothes after the wash cycle if possible.

3. switch to green electricity

The electricity you use in your home may be from environmentally destructive coal or nuclear power. To counteract climate change, it is worth switching to green electricity, which is generated from renewable energy sources such as wind, sun or water.

In the article about Green electricity and vegan electricity you will get more information about this.

4. use all-purpose weapon sodium bicarbonate

Baking soda (sodium hydrogen carbonate) is the secret weapon that will give you the best possible plastic free life enables. In the household, sodium bicarbonate can be used, for example, as an oven cleaner, as a bath additive or as a pipe cleaner. Since you get the agent in paper, you do not make unnecessary plastic waste and replace very many household products from the drugstore. You can read more about it in the article about the best Applications with sodium bicarbonate.

5. make dishwashing liquid from ivy itself

I have been making my own hand dishwashing liquid from ivy leaves for several years now. They grow on every corner and in every season and contain saponins that provide the foam in a short production time. How you conjure up a functional liquid from the leaves, you will learn in the post about the Making washing up liquid from ivy yourself.

6. also build furniture yourself

You think you're not talented with your hands? Even then, it's no problem for you to work on simple DIY nightstands from old oak planks to try. This way you can upcycle material that may have been stacked in the corner for several years and avoid unnecessary waste by packaging new furnishings.

Tip: Just look around a bit in our DIY Furniture Blog um. For example, I also have a Dining table self made and explain on the blog how easy it is to do.

7. flower meadow instead of mowing the lawn

By not mowing your lawn every week, but giving nature a little leash, you promote biodiversity in Germany. Because where there are more insects, there are also more birds. Turn your garden into a Paradise and forgo the noise and fuel consumption of the lawn mower and enjoy the time in the quiet natural garden instead.

Tip: In the article Sustainable gardening you will learn exactly how to make your entire garden a mecca of biodiversity.

Sustainable shopping in everyday life

Sustainable living in everyday life - shopping

Nowhere do you create as much waste as when you go shopping. What's more, you usually buy more than you actually need. So there's a lot of potential to make your everyday life a little more sustainable. Use the following tips to make your life even more sustainable:

8. shopping with cloth bag or backpack

Nowhere generates as much plastic waste as regular grocery shopping. There are many unnecessary plastic packaging like plastic bags, which can be sustainably replaced by a forever reusable and washable jute bag. You can also just go shopping with a backpack. Just grab a basket at the supermarket and put your groceries in it at the end. Done - a first important step towards an environmentally friendly and plastic free shopping.

9. fruit & vegetable nets instead of plastic bags

Through the acquisition of Fruit and vegetable nets it really is incredibly easy to avoid waste in the supermarket. Remember those free plastic bags in the produce section? Yeah - with the nets, you'll never need them again.

10. glass instead of plastic

A good example of this tip for sustainable living in everyday life is milk and yogurt in a jar. In (almost) every supermarket you can get both in deposit jars, which you simply return after use. In this way, you can be completely in the spirit of the Zero Waste Lifestyle avoid a lot of garbage.

Notice: When spooning the yogurt out of the jar, make sure that you carefully scoop out the contents. The more roughly you do this with a stainless steel spoon, the more likely it is that micro-cracks will appear, invisible to the eye, which will unfortunately render the jar unusable. This is why you will find the recommendation to "use a plastic spoon to scrape out" on many jars.

11. avoid microplastics & palm oil

Microplastics in the sea is one of the biggest environmental problems the planet is currently facing and will face especially in the future. It is caused by the decomposition of large plastic particles, but especially also by our cosmetic products in the bathroom. This is because sewage treatment plants unfortunately have difficulty filtering out the particles. In addition, for Palm oil rainforest destroyed - because it's simply in hundreds of items we buy and consume every day.

Please use the App CodeCheckwhich you can use to scan a shower gel, for example, to find out in seconds whether it contains any substances of concern.

12. plan purchasing according to need (food waste).

A more than sensible tip to live sustainably is to give yourself a targeted Reduce your food waste. Make an exact plan with the things you really need. For example, check your supplies beforehand so that you don't end up with too many bananas or kiwis that you might not be able to eat before they go bad.

Tip: Feel free to check out our post about the Food longer shelf life make. In this way, we reduce the problem that 82 kg of food per capita ends up in the trash in Germany every year.₂

Sustainability in the kitchen

Environmentally friendly in the kitchen

A lot of energy is consumed here and a lot of waste is produced. So there's a lot of potential in the kitchen to make your life even more environmentally friendly.

13. metal coffee filter instead of paper

There are such Stainless steel coffee filterthat allow you to bypass unnecessary waste from paper disposable filters. Just wash them and reuse them again and again.

Notice: Disposable coffee capsules in particular do not belong in a sustainable everyday life. This creates 8,000 tons of plastic waste every year. What's more, you pay the equivalent of €70 per kilogram of coffee. You certainly wouldn't spend that without this industry marketing ploy, would you 😉 .

14. cooking with lid on it

If you want to boil water in the saucepan in an environmentally friendly way, then you should put a lid on the saucepan. This requires less energy and the water will boil much faster than without the lid. Use this tip to make cooking in the kitchen more sustainable in the long run.

15. let warm dishes cool down before putting them in the refrigerator.

Did you happen to just enjoy a hot soup and now have way too much left over? Normally, you would probably put it in the fridge right away so you can enjoy the rest the next day. In principle, that's a good idea - but for the sake of sustainability, you should let the soup cool down first so that the refrigerator needs less energy to maintain its usual temperature.

16. do not preheat the oven

In the future, don't run the oven for a few minutes without putting in your baked potatoes. This may take a few seconds longer, but you can further reduce your unnecessary electricity consumption. Put your dishes in the oven as soon as you turn it on to save energy and money.

17. pre-boil and transfer small amounts of water in the kettle

A sensible tip for more sustainable living is also to boil smaller amounts of water in the kettle. For example, to prepare a portion of pasta. Boiling water in the kettle consumes significantly less energy. Only with larger quantities of water is it worth boiling in the saucepan - then you can again Save energyby placing a lid on the pot.

18. washable kitchen towels

Do you want in your everyday life Save paperto become even more sustainable? Then you can say goodbye to your paper towels in the kitchen, because they can be easily replaced with equally absorbent, but washable cloth towels.

Notice: The same applies, of course, to Cloth handkerchiefs and Linen napkins.

Nutrition tips for sustainable living

Environmentally friendly living in everyday life - nutrition

If you want to live sustainably, you can't avoid the topic of nutrition. This should be sustainable for your own body but especially for our environment. Here you get the best tips for a sustainable diet.

19. reduce your meat consumption

Few things make your everyday life as environmentally friendly as not eating meat or animal products in general. One kilogram of beef actually consumes a total of about 15,500 liters.₄ In addition, forests are being cut down for arable land for animal feed (soy meal) and cattle pastures - this particularly affects the tropical rainforest. Due to the Start into a vegan life you make your everyday life much more sustainable in one fell swoop. Especially because there is no animal suffering - as for example through the common practice of the Chick Shredding.

But even a vegetarian lifestyle contributes enormously to making your everyday life environmentally friendly. How you can easily become a vegetarian, you will learn here.

Tip: Look the fittingly with pleasure the articles about the Connection between nutrition and climate and a sustainable diet an.

20. save food with food sharing

Do you already know Food Sharing? As a member, you can save food from bakeries, supermarkets, or restaurants that would have otherwise made its way to the trash can. At the time I wrote this article, Food Sharing has already successfully saved 23,783,554 kg of food from the garbage can.₅

21. make your food last longer

By storing bread in a closed bread box or homemade beeswax cloth instead of the usual plastic cling film, you can extend the shelf life of food in a simple and sustainable way. You can find out more about this at Making food last longer.

Tip: I have written you a detailed article about the Freezing without plastic written. You can also use these tips to live as sustainably as possible.

22. plant food yourself (+ bee friendly!)

Whether in the kitchen or in the garden - many Herbs and other plants are wonderful to grow at home. In this way, you save on packaging waste and, on top of that, you ensure good air and a constant supply to season your food as desired.

Fact: Did you know that insects generate a global economic value of 150 billion euros through the essential pollination of crops?₆ Why not see how insect-friendly your garden or balcony really is? For a little inspiration, check out the article on Creation of a bee friendly garden.

23. drink tap water

Compare with pleasure once Water in plastic bottles with tap water. The water from plastic bottles is not only 250x more expensive₇, but also causes suffering in other parts of the world. The privatization of water sources is one of the reasons that food companies like Nestlé exposed to great criticism are.

Tip: Tap water is already at your home, so you can save yourself the unnecessary lugging of water bottles. Even on the road, you can use the Refill app to have your own water bottle refilled at participating businesses.

24. food from the region instead of from overseas

A nice glass of apple juice is usually more sustainable than a freshly squeezed orange juice. Because apples naturally grow here in Germany, too, and are regionally available. Ideally, your fruit should even come from a meadow orchard near you, which also promotes biodiversity. If you don't want to give up your orange juice, you can still contribute to sustainability by buying fair trade juice.

Sustainable living in the bathroom

Sustainable living in everyday life - Bathroom

In the bathroom, we use far too many disposable products these days, creating tons of waste. Here's a little inspiration to make everyday life in the bathroom more sustainable.

25. showers instead of baths (saves electricity and water)

Shower instead of taking a bath and keep it as short as possible. This will save you a lot of water and, above all, a lot of energy needed to heat the water.

Tip: Try also calmly more often, cold to shower. This will allow you to Strengthen defenses and also mastered the first challenge of the early morning.

26. make your own toothpaste or use toothpaste tablets

Did you know that you can also simply use a natural toothpaste without Microplastics and without plastic packaging? Have a look at the How to make toothpaste yourself an. To avoid garbage, you can alternatively also click on Toothbrush tablets set. You can get them, for example, in a jar or in paper in an unpackaged store or on the Internet.

27. use cotton pads made of fabric

You can achieve your goal of living more sustainably in the bathroom primarily by doing without disposable products. Make-up removal pads, for example, create masses of disposable waste every day, which can be replaced by such reusable and washable cotton pads can be avoided in the long term.

Tip: It's best to get several cotton pads so you can wash them all together.

28. shampoo & shower gel as bar soap

Almost every week, unnatural shampoos and shower gels create unnecessary packaging waste. Therefore, simply switch to vegetable bar soaps. Here you will find a suitable Bar soap for hair and a Bar soap for the body. For safe transport you simply take a Soap bag, an old tin can or you get yourself another alternative.

Living sustainably - mobility on the road

Sustainable living in everyday life - On the road bike

Technological progress ensures that our means of transport emit fewer pollutants. However, the increase in traffic is undoing the progress and further driving the environmental problem of air pollution. Accordingly, here are a few valuable tips that you can use to make your life more environmentally friendly.

29. ride a bike more

We humans are made to get around physically. Riding a bike promotes your health and emits no CO2 off. So just get on your bike more regularly and use the perhaps slightly longer riding time to relax.

Tips: Do you already know the car free lifestyle? Many people are giving up their cars altogether and using more sustainable means of transportation instead. But even with a car you can be environmentally friendly on the road - for inspiration take a look at this article about sustainable driving.

30. use public transport

The number of cars on German roads has increased by 18% between 1995 and 2017.₈ For cleaner air, fewer emissions and less time in traffic jams, you should therefore rely more on public transport such as the bus, the streetcar or the subway. This is a very important tip if you want to live a sustainable lifestyle.

31. train & long distance bus instead of car and plane

For longer distances, you should prefer the long-distance bus and especially the train for an environmentally friendly lifestyle. There are no hidden costs like with a car and your journey from A to B emits significantly less CO2 off. According to the Climate Protection Portal, aviation accounts for 2.55% of global CO2 output involved.₉

Tip: It is not always possible to avoid the flight. In a separate article, you will therefore find out exactly how you can fly as sustainably as possible can.

32. carpooling

If you rely on your car, you can also carpool or join an existing carpool through portals like BlaBlaCar. In this way, you avoid unnecessary double trips and reduce the per capita emissions of the individual car trip.

33. coffee2go in the thermo cup you bring with you or on site

In Berlin alone, around 460,000 Coffee2Go cups are consumed every day.₁₀ Many believe that the cups are made exclusively of cardboard. But in fact they are also made of plastic and are therefore difficult or impossible to recycle. Such a cup is a disposable product that is only used for a few minutes. For a more sustainable everyday life you should get yourself a Coffee2Go reusable mug or enjoy your coffee on site in the café.

Tip: You'll even get discounts at some cafes if you bring your own mug!

Wear sustainable clothing

Sustainable living in everyday life - clothing

While we in Germany spent 18.58 billion euros on clothing and footwear in 1970, this figure had risen to 77.78 billion euros by 2018.₁₁

In fashion prevails the Fast Fashion - there are no longer just two collections with "spring-summer" and "fall-winter". Instead, a new trend is proclaimed almost every week. Logically, this behavior has social and environmental consequences. With the following tips, I would like to make your everyday life more sustainable in terms of clothing.

34. second hand fashion shopping

Second-hand clothing had a dusty, bad image for many years. But now that the problems caused by fast fashion can no longer be hidden, many people are starting to rethink. A valuable tip for more sustainability in your everyday life is to go to one of the passionate second hand stores in your area or to buy used and still good looking clothes e.g. at Kleiderkreisel or eBay Classifieds to buy. This way you also value the resources and the effort of making clothes immensely.

35. buy well combined timeless clothes

Your closet doesn't have to be overcrowded and cluttered. Instead, you can selectively buy clothes that are timeless and can be easily combined with each other. This creates an overview, makes you happy and saves a lot of money and, of course, resources.

36. exchange, sell or give away superfluous fashion

Of course, fashion is also perishable. In the spirit of sustainability, you can then swap unwanted items of clothing with others, or put them on Zero Waste Apps like eBay classifieds sell or give away. Because someone else might like the T-shirt or dress. In this way, you value the material and labor that went into a garment and ensure that one less garment had to be bought and produced from scratch.

37. value and care for existing clothing

Save your wallet by cherishing the clothes that are already in your closet. Appreciate the fact that you can call such beautiful, different pieces of clothing your own and consider that others do not enjoy this luxury problem. Don't throw away a sweater right away if it has a hole - but learn from the sustainable lifehacks of our grandparents and repair garments easily.

Living Sustainably - Work & Finance

Making everyday life environmentally friendly

Whether your behavior in the professional life (look times in the sustainable job portal or just your checking account - all of these things have an impact on how sustainable your life actually is. Here are some tips to help you manage your finances and documents in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

38. current account with an environmentally conscious bank

The money you place with a bank may be used by the bank for its own investments. In return, you receive something in the form of interest, for example. But what the bank actually does with your money is uncertain with many conventional banks. For example, banks such as Commerzbank or Deutsche Bank support the cotton trade from Uzbekistan, where child labor is the order of the day.₁₂ It is therefore worth taking a look at the investments made and, if necessary, changing banks.

Tip: I have a detailed Comparison of sustainable banks -there you can get a picture of sensible alternatives.

39. insure green

What applies to banks naturally applies to insurance companies. They, too, make investments with the money they hold from you. Look closely at what philosophy a company follows. A truly sustainable, statutory life insurance should, for example, reward a meat-free lifestyle and itself 100% with green electricity.

40. digital instead of printed

Manage your documents with digital folders and do away with paperwork. This way, you can access your documents from anywhere and carry less with you.

Tip: You can also easily download bus tickets or city planners on your phone. I use this, for example, especially when I'm trying to get around, Travel Zero Waste to live.

41. recycled paper instead of new paper

Avoiding paper altogether is very sustainable. But that's not always possible. If you must print something, then you should at least use recycled paper. This way, existing material is reused without having to cut down another tree.

42. switch off computer instead of economy flame

Even in standby mode, your laptop still consumes some energy. If you know that you won't be sitting in front of the computer for the next 5 minutes, you can switch it off directly in an environmentally friendly manner. This also applies to all other technical devices in the household.

43. use a sustainable search engine

A search engine provides you with answers to your questions every day. But Google is repeatedly criticized for its high power consumption, tax tricks and data storage. There are definitely sustainable alternatives to Googlethat create additional value for our society and the environment from your daily search queries. For example, the operators of the search engine Ecosia.org a tree for about every 45th search query.

Tip: You should also plant a tree yourself in your spare time and watch it grow. Let your next apple grow into something for the future.

Tips for sustainable behavior

Sustainable living in everyday life - Behavior

There are some things you can't buy. These concern, for example, your inner attitude and your personal behavior in everyday life. Now you can find out which tricks you can use to lay the foundation for a sustainable life.

44. make things yourself

You don't always have to buy everything new - it's expensive, makes a lot of waste and you often don't know what's in it. By making things yourself, you're usually contributing to the most sustainable life possible. Here are a few things you can easily make yourself from natural ingredients:

Tip: At DIY Blog of CareElite you are welcome to be inspired to the areas of household, personal care, food and also furniture.

45. reuse instead of 1x use

A nice example of this tip is the straw. I use a plastic straw in a cocktail for about 15 minutes - then it ends up in the trash. A Glass straw I also use for 15 minutes - however, I can wash it off afterwards and at the next, plastic free party reuse.

Fact: Hardly any disposable product has as many sustainable alternatives as the plastic straw. There are, for example, glass, stainless steel or even Bamboo straws. By the way, even more sustainable is the complete renunciation of a straw.

46. repair instead of throw away

Repairing is a quality that many people have thrown overboard in the context of our throwaway society. In doing so, it broadens one's horizons and helps to reuse existing things from natural resources for as long as possible. Rare earths from smartphones for example, which are mined under conditions that are hazardous to health, for example in the Congo.₁₃ It is also sustainable from an ethical perspective to value the work and the material.

Tip: I can give you the Book the culture of repair if you want to learn more about fixing things.

47 Questioning one's own consumption

To live sustainably, you also need to question your own consumption. "Do I really need this shirt - or is this an expensive and unnecessary impulse buy right now?" - it's always worth taking a closer look.

Just try something live more minimalist and limit yourself to the things that are really important to you. This creates order, saves money and above all natural resources.

48. start & support actions (petitions, CleanUps etc.)

Our society is getting louder. We no longer accept everything as it happens. Social media in particular help us to quickly bring people together in one place and demonstrate - locally or digitally on the Internet. For example, petitions help us to raise our voices and get many people involved.

For a sustainable everyday life I can also give you the tip, calmly times organize a CleanUp on the beach yourself, to collect the garbage. This is good for the soul and the environment.

49. don't always say "yes" to everything

If you want to live sustainably, you have to learn to live more often. Saying no and rejecting things. For example, if a flyer or a free ballpoint pen is offered to you in the pedestrian zone. Even with a "Please do not post advertising" sticker on your mailbox, you are rejecting unnecessary waste - and that makes your life a little more environmentally friendly.

Tip: At Unsubscribe from advertising by mailLearn how to never get unwanted mail again!

50. read books quiet digital

What applies to city maps and documents of all kinds also applies to books. If you consume more of them digitally, fewer trees have to be cut down for you - and that makes your life a little more sustainable again. But I also understand completely if the smell of a freshly printed book and the haptic turning of the pages are somehow part of it for you. Nevertheless, just try an eBook reader and gradually try to enjoy more books digitally.

Setting an example of sustainability in everyday life

Environmentally friendly - More sustainability in everyday life

I hope that the sum of tips for an environmentally friendly everyday life has not overwhelmed you. Please think of sustainable living as a really long-term learning process that you go through step by step. No one expects you to implement all the tips perfectly right away. But sometimes it's just good to have at least heard them before.

Do you have any tips, suggestions or questions about this article about living as sustainably as possible? Then feel free to leave me a comment at the end of the post.

Stay clean,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS: As you can see, especially waste reduction is a big topic for sustainable living. If you want to learn more about it, I can give you my Online Course 30 Days To Zero Waste to the heart. Have fun!

References:
₁ https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/Nachhaltigkeit

₂ https://www.welthungerhilfe.de/aktuelles/blog/lebensmittelverschwendung

₃ https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dr8xstuX0AEyqC-.jpg

₄ https://waterfootprint.org/media/downloads/Hoekstra_and_Chapagain_2006.pdf

₅ https://foodsharing.de/statistik

₆ https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800908002942

₇ http://trademachines.de/info/abgefuelltes-wasser

₈ https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/daten/verkehr/emissionen-des-verkehrs

₉ https://www.klimaschutz-portal.aero/klimakiller-nr-1

₁₀ https://www.duh.de/becherheld-problem

₁₁ https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/161570/umfrage/konsumausgaben-privater-haushalte-in-deutschland-fuer-bekleidung-zeitreihe

₁₂ https://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/unternehmen/usbekistan-deutsche-firmen-profitieren-von-kinderarbeit-a-724956.html

₁₃ https://www.monda-magazin.de/leben/kinderarbeit-smartphone-kongo-kobalt

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you actively support my work with CareElite.de, because I get a small share of the sales revenue. Thank you for your support and best regards, Christoph!

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Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

11 thoughts on “Nachhaltig leben – 50 Tipps für einen grünen Alltag”

  1. Hi Christoph,
    great article, very many tips and suggestions.
    Thank you very much & green greetings from greenlife.blog,
    Richard.

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