27 easy ways to live sustainably in 2020 (and why you should)

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It’s time to make a tiny sacrifice and live sustainably with the planet.

Since she gives us everything we need to survive, it seems so stupid to actually say those words. Humans have come to that point.

Yosemite Valley, California
Yosemite Valley

I get it. Life is crazy busy, and your comforts and conveniences help you to manage and get through your day.

When you have immediate pressing issues like paying the bills, getting your kids to school on time, helping them solve an endless run of problems, and managing a household, figuring out a solution to another MONUMENTAL problem is just too much.

You ain’t got the stamina for it.

Sometimes, out of confusion as to what goes into the recycling I end up throwing it in the trash. (Rarely, but sometimes it just gets too much!)

We hear constantly about how climate change has gotten out of control and we’re all doomed and start to think “really, can me eating one less meat meal a week really help? Just me?”

Yes. You can make a difference. (Isn’t that powerful?)

Imagine if all the 7 billion people in the world decided to just eat one less meat meal a week? That’s a lot less meat consumed and grown and destroying our earth.

Just one less. That’s all.

One Small Step to Ripple Colossal Change

Small steps is all one needs to create a ripple of positive change and help ensure we don’t send the human species into extinction in the not too-near distance future.

Avalanche Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana
Avalanche Lake, Glacier National Park

It’s our kids and their kids that will be impacted. That matters.

I don’t believe the planet will die. She’s far too powerful and knows how to wipe us out if we get too threatening to her.

It’s probably better to look it that way so our survival instincts will kick in and do something.

I loved this from Joaquin Phoenix,

“We fear the idea of personal change, because we think we need to sacrifice something; to give something up. But human beings at our best are so creative and inventive, and we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and the environment.”

I believe in the creativity and inventiveness of humans to find another way. It starts with really small changes and coming together to do it.

I know the genius innovators will come together to help solve the gigantic problems, that are way too overwhelming for us and out of our reach.

We will hold our leaders accountable to support these initiatives and projects. And we will do the small things in our every day life that make a difference.

And if climate change ends up being a hoax at the end of the day, then we can all sleep comfortably at night knowing that the result of our actions is that we now live in a cleaner world that only all species benefit from. #nothingtolose

Firstly, how we’re using this blog to give back

We are working to do more with our platform to make a difference. Writing this post and sharing our more eco-friendly travel experiences is one way.

Union Square
Bloggers Give back with heart

Aligning with brands that support healthy planets and communities

We are PrAna ambassadors, whose clothing we LOVE, not just for quality and style, comfort and durability but also because they are a sustainable clothing brand.

We are partering with Participate Learning which are a B-Corp company committed to empowering global educators to expand opportunities for students and develop global citizenship and are committed to taking acation to help meet the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Bloggers Give Back

Another initiative we are taking on is to donate 5% of our gross profits from tourism campaigns to the local communities we visit. So we’ll find local businesses or companies doing breat things we believe in to donate some of our money back to.

It’s important to us that we give back to the communities that welcome us in. We definitely do that by sharing them as a travel destination to you all and encouraging you to visit, but we also want to do more by donating some of our profits back that they can use in real ways.

One of the biggest rewards I have gotten from the success of my travel blog is to now be in a position where I can help more.

It’s a way to use my platform in a positive way and share my gratitude.

How sustainable living can actually make your life better

So here is a list of really simple things you can do to live more sustainably in 2020. These are the small steps we have implemented over the years.

Lake MEad RV Village Nevada
RV sustainable lifestyle – easy for us when we road tripped across the United States

And guess what? They’ve not been any kind of inconvenience on our lives. In fact, they make it better.

I feel better because I know I’m taking care of something important. There is a certain kind of confidence and peace that comes knowing you are doing your best to make a difference and put the greater good ahead of yourself.

Plus, many of these things we mention will SAVE you money and time! And are so much better for your body! How great is that?

Of course, it makes sense right?

Take care of Mother Earth and live close to her nourishing ways and your body will feel better. Not rocket science but it feels like we all need to run through basic life school again to get the darn memo.

Wait a minute, I think society forget to send that darn memo in the first place to let us know the classes for living a healthy and sustainable life were on and available!

It’s never too late!

Let’s do this together.

Many of the products I list can be taken with you on your travels!

We’ll also be listing new products and cool eco-travel experiences and products we come across each month in our monthly wrap, so mump in our virtual suitcase so you dont miss them.

[newsletter]

Easy Starting Steps For You

I know this may be overwhelming, and even though you want to be more eco-conscious, you just can’t find a way to implement with everything else goin on in your life.

Here are a few easy steps to follow:

  1. Acknowledge and love Mother Earth as your ultimate provider
  2. Make the intention to start living in a way that nourishes her so she can nourish you
  3. Commit by choosing just one thing to implement.
  4. Choose small and manageable. Choose something you know you can easily implement without too much hassle or sacrifice. You don’t want to launch into the biggest sacrifice ever all you will FREAK out and run back to your old ways. Small gradual steps will help you see how valuable and enriching this is.
  5. Choose something that is manageable for your finances – even something that will help you save money. There’s nothing more motivating for a human than to save money.

I think I started with reusable drink bottles and it has grown from there and will keep growing because now I love this lifestyle and FEEL so much better when I live it.

Easy Sustainable Living Choices

Mormon Row, Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park

I’ve tried to list the following easy ways to live more sustainably according to products and small steps first and evolving into more lifestyle choices including travel styles AND some cool services you may never have heard of but will make a massive difference.

1. Don’t wash clothes until dirty

It’s so easy to throw your clothes in the laundry that really don’t need washing.

I have gotten in the habit of wearing my clothes on multiple days. I’m often sitting around just tapping on the keyboard so not making them dirty in any way.

It’s better for your wallet and the evironment if you launder less often. Maximse the wear of your clothes.

2. Use Laundry Wizard– no detergent needed!!

This was one of my favorite recent finds – a way of washing laundry that involves no chemicals!!

It doesn’t harm the environment or yourself AND saves you loads of money!! It’s BRILLIANT!!

My head still can’t wrap around how it works, but I’ll tell you after a few months of using it – it works!

It uses bio-ceramic technology to change the pH level of the water in your washing machine to increase the alkalinity and remove dirt & stains naturally.

So you reuse it over and over. I told you the world was full of innovative geniuses who can make our lives easier and protect the planet!!

Absolutely perfect for travel as it’s small and light enough to pop in your luggage and it will last you for 1,500 washes – which is about 3 years of washing.

Can you believe it? $40 for 3 years of laundry. Get your Wash Wizard here and buy one for your friends.

Now, if only they had one of for the dishwasher! Do they?

3. Dry Less and Use Dryer Balls

Forget those dryer sheets – they are full of bad things for your body and the environment.

Keep your clothes soft (and wrinkle free) by throwing in a dryer ball made from wool.

You can even drop your favorite essential oil into it (lavender is good) to give your clothes’ that sweet smell reminding you of another wonderful gift Mother Nature gives us – sweet smelling flowers. Check out these dryer balls. 

And of course, your BEST option is to dry your clothes naturally. Much better for your clothes too. One of the things I miss about Australia is the Hills Hoist (clothes lines) in our backyards.

It makes drying clothes in the sun much easier and is a common Aussie practice (although we do have the weather to make it easier).

We currently use clothes horses to dry them, although I hate having them cluttering up the house over the winter months.

4. Use eco-friendly cleaning products

I love the eco-friendly cleaning products we use.

With the essential oils in them they smell so good. Devout eco/ health conscious people will make their own using essential oils, so seek out those recipes.

It will save you money and so much better for your health. We get a lot of our products (including beeswax wraps below) from Thrive Market (an online membership discounted site for lots of organic products.)

5. Swap plastic wrap for Beeswax wraps

This easy, reusable way to wrap your food is growing in popularity – beeswax wraps are great. You can buy them in various sizes and after a cold water wash they can be used again. Say goodbye to zip lock bags.

These are the only brand we have used so far that are worth the price. I’ve tried others that are just useless but these ones are the Bees Knees.

6. Reusable zip lock bags

I know how valuable zip lock bags are. I curse every time I open my drawer and see them no longer there. Ugh they would be so handy now! I do use brown paper bags and glass containers instead,  but zip lock bags are still in a league of their own.

And then this week an ad appeared on my Instagram about reusable zip lock bags and they are on their way to me!

See the more you intend to take small steps, the more things appear, and you wonder how you never knew about these things that saved you money and helped the environment!! Check out these ones here. 

I’ll update this post once I determine how great they are – just throw them in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.

7. Reusable Steel Straws

We have loads of stainless steel straws now in our home. We keep forgetting to take them out with us, but typically we refuse single-use plastic straws anyway.

I LOVE establishments that offer sustainable straws. Italy is making them with pasta, some with bamboo and others offer up the steel ones.

Who thinks they make drinks taste so much better anway? Hell yes.

8. Reusable drink bottles

Salt flats at Badwater Basin, in Death Valley
Salt flats at Badwater Basin, in Death Valley

This is probably your easiest starting point that is the most effective AND will save you money

I know this may be a concern when traveling to countries where the water is not safe to drink and you want to reach for single use plastic bottled water just to be sure.

You can’t be sure. Because sometimes those bottles have been filled up secretly with just the crap. Ask my sister who learned this lesson quick.

This one by Grayl comes highly recommended for good filtration and removal. Don’t skimp out on having something that will clean your water and keep you healthy.

We love our hydro flasks sports water bottle. It keeps the water cool for hours. See more here. We use this for everyday, or travel in trusted water source areas. We don’t like using plastic anything so am yet to find a stainless steel bottle that adequately filters.

I now get cranky, and feel like I’ve landed on Mars, when I’m in places where I can’t refill my own water bottle.

What is this place? I drink up to 5L of water a day. I can’t not go out without my water bottle and fill it up.

Like our recent visit to the Hurricanes hockey match in Raleigh.

Bloody canes charged me $5 for a water that only harms the environment. Should have just bought the glass of wine.

9. Take fewer showers

If you’ve not been very active, this is actually easy to do and will save you time!!

We learned this traveling full-time in the RV where we had to conserve water so carefully – and it was 30 degrees and I just could not handle walking over to a cold, dirty public campsite bathroom.

Not showering was a much more attractive offering. You can also purchase shower heads that reduce the amount of tap water out of the faucet.

10. Wash your Hair with Hairstory

I have been searching for the right eco-friendly, chemical free shampoo and conditioner for years and have never been satisfied. Then I found Hairstory

I’ve been using it now for several months and love it. It takes a few weeks for your hair to get used to it and recover from normal shampoo and conditioner damage but then it works so well.

My hair feels a lot healthier as the oils are longer stripped out by nasty shampoos.

It cleans without detergent and doesn’t strip away your protective barriers. It’s detergent-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, synthetic fragrance-free and is laced with a string of nourishing oils and ingredients, including aloe leaf juice, jojoba seed oil, evening primrose oil, sunflower seed oil, and peppermint oil.

You can cleanse, condition, detangle and repair hair with ONE product, which is great for conservation.

But now I know I love it, I will join the join the New Wash Club to receive reusable aluminum bottle and our refill pouches.

The $40 price tag may have you gasp at first, but my small bottle is still going strong and I’ve been using it for several months now.

If you no longer having to buy shampoo and conditioner that you have to use a lot of – especially conditioner – it’s actually a good deal if you work it out that way and will save you a lot of money over the year.

I only wash my hair once or twice a week now as well.

11. Women: Use Menstrual cups

Menstrual cups will save you a TONof money and help reduce SO MUCH wastage for our planet.

It felt a little daunting for me to change over as I didn’t quite get it at first.

But, once I switched I did and wish I knew about them 20 years ago. I’m so happy I can start my daughters with them from the beginning.

I got these organic ones. 

12. Return product programs

Are there programs available where you can return your used products. We just came across this with Best Buy. We wanted to buy a new printer as our one was terrible with ink. We discovered if we brought in our old printer, we could get $30 off the new one!

Win win win.

13. Just Croon: Reusable Makeup removers

just croon makeup remover wipes
Just Croon makeup remover pads

These were my favorite recommendation last year for my travel gifts for her guide.

These reusable make up remover pads are vibrant, soft and remove your make up with water. I sometimes have to add a bit of jojoba oil for extra help if needed. There is an exfoliating one as well as a general soft one.

Throw them in the laundry and hang them out to dry! Buy your Just Croon here.

14. Buy local

Coconut Grove Farmers Market, Miami
Support local businesses

I 100% understand the convenience of Amazon. Our hectic lives lead us to purchase on there too much and we even recommend people to buy stuff through them on this site.

I get it and we aren’t going to cut Amazon out of our lives just yet.

And you can find products from small businesses on here, which is what we do. So it’s not bad from that point of view.

We also try to order multiple things at once and get them delivered in one package rather than multiple, which you can select in the ordering stage. It does mean they may come a few days later.

We are doing our best to be more conscious about and change where we purchase.

We want to support local businesses and small businesses more (online and offline). We love shopping at local farmers markets and do when we travel.

I am SO tired of corporate greed and monopolizing. We’re feeling that squash by Google lately as they attempt to drown out all bloggers voices so they can reap all the profits turn their $5 billion profits into 6.

UGH. So I’m supporting bloggers more and more online.

Small and local businesses are way more inspiring and they need all of our support, otherwise our world will become monotonous and controlled by just a few powerhouse companies.

Whenever we travel, we seek out local businesses: markets, boutique stores, small company tours, and independent hotels and restaurants.

We leave Starbucks as the place to visit when we’re in Seattle, where it’s truly local.

You will find way better stories and experiences when you do it how the locals do it.

15. Buy sustainable

Look for companies and products that are sustainably produced and made, are energy efficient. The best way we can enforce change is by making things the norm. We do that with how we spend.

Stay clear of Monsanto – look for non-GMO products, buy organic and environmentally friendly.

Investigate companies you use for your travels from transport to hotels and tour providers –

How are they taking care of Mother Earth and local communities?

I know this is tough, but it’s worth the extra research.

2020 is the year we do a much better job of this and inform you of those companies we find through our travels. We’re making a much more conscious effort.

As mentioned, we buy PrAna clothing – actually almost my entire wardrobe is PrAna. I LOVE their style, durability, and mission.

We just bought an Eco printer, which I had never heard of before.

But, they’re designed to use less ink and plastic wastage.

When we see options like this now, our family agrees it has to be where our purchasing power goes. Thankfully, it was on special so we snagged a great deal.

It was actually a good price regardless, and the cost of ink replacement is way less!

16. Consider Vegetarianism or Veganism (or just eat less meat)

vegan christmas
Vegan Christmas

I see you clutching that burger tightly to your chest refusing to give it up! You NEED that protein right?

Actually you don’t. Watch Gamechangers on Netflix.

Plant based diets are trending as more and more people are seeing not only health benefits, but are recognizing how important it is for the health of the planet that we consume less animal products.

I was vegetarian for 6 years and have switched to almost veganism for the past 4 months (we even had a Vegan Christmas and Thanksgiving and it was delish!!)

My health is much better when I don’t eat meat and it took a dive down the hill (including loads of weight gain) when I switched back to meat in 2013.

Plus, it’s so much easier for parasites to get into your body through meat. And parasites are little bastards that wreak havoc on your body and most the time you dont know they are there so how can you get rid of them?

But, I fully respect your decision as I know veganism may not be right for you, and we are all built differently.

It is much harder if you have dietary restrictions – I totally get that.

It’s why I’m not 100% vegan when I walk out of my house. I am social and do like to eat out. I would much prefer to eat wild salmon or grass fed beef over gluten, soy, or corn, the last two being mostly genetically modified so extremely bad.

Unfortunately a lot of vegan food has these as replacements, so I tend to stick with dishes that just have vegetables – no tofu or fake meat.

If veganism, or vegetarianism is not for you, then plan for at least one day a week where you go meat free.

YES that does make a huge difference to the planet. HUGE. And you body will love you for the break.

I am in love with the vegan food we are making lately. So delicious, so nutritious and pretty simple and easy. And not as expensive as you think.

I trust the recipes from the following sources:

17. Walk and bike instead of drive

family friendly bike ride on the Stowe Recreation Path in Vermont New England (3)
We love exploring on bikes

Up until we lived in the US, we were so good at this. But we lived in areas that had a good public transport system, which gave us no reason to drive.

We LOVED our 20-minute walk into downtown Dublin from our apartment.

We love adventures in the outdoors so often look for those biking and walking experiences when we travel.

In cities, it’s often faster and better than dealing with traffic and hectic subways. I almost walk everywhere in New York City.

Sadly, it’s hard for us to operate without a car in Raleigh, as there is no public transport system and we dont have much in walking distance, except for a brewery 20 minute walk away!!

18. Travel more locally

We love local travel experiences. It’s usually cheaper and easier and will leave a smaller footprint.

19. Choose more sustainable ways to travel (and make it purposeful)

Salt Creek Trail Death Valley
Salt Creek Trail Death Valley

We don’t want to recommend cutting out air travel, as we are well aware of the impact this can have on communities whose economy relies heavily on tourism.

Plus traveling to foreign destinations is how we widen our perspective and become more tolerant, compassionate beings who want to improve the world because they love it so much.

Travel helps evaporate fear, and fearlessness is what we need more of to bring the world closer together.

When you do travel to foreign lands, support the local economies so the people benefit AND offset your carbons when you do fly.

Although we have not taken many cruises, we’ve decided as a family not to do that anymore due to the negative impact on the environment.

We’d rather get on the ground and immerse ourselves in a community anyway.

And if you are traveling in an RV, like we did, put on some solar panels for renewable energy. It’s awesome and will save you loads of money adn allow you to camp in many stunning locations for free!

20. Compost Now

Berry picking
Berry picking

Composting is something we’ve wanted to do, but have never had our own house. We still don’t – only short-term renting.

That’s why were excited to discover Compost Now. It’s the service for those who don’t want to or can’t compost themselves.

Once you register, the company drops off composting bins to you. You fill them up and every week they pick them back up and turn your food scraps into nourishing soil!

If you want, they can bring you back that soil to use in your own gardens, or you can donate to be used somewhere else. It’s such a handy service.

Register here to get 2 free weeks.

It is a paid service, but put it under your donation expenses for the month. You are giving back to the environment and the health of humanity.

We have already diverted 55lbs of food wastage after just two weeks. This will produce 28 lbs of rich compost, and avoids releasing 7 lbs of methane at the landfill. It’s enough to offset 314 miles driven by a car, or like parking it for 1.1 weeks.

Even better, the compost can grow 6 tomato plants, yielding 30 delicious tomatoes.

Veganism means loads of compost material!! I AM SO HAPPY this is going to something nourishing for the earth which comes back to all living things. Favorite find ever.

21. Offset your Carbon footprint

Offset Earth is a recent find of ours. They plant trees to help offset your carbon footprint.

I love how it is set and forget. You estimate what your footprint is each month and then make an automated monthly payment.

Check in to your account and see how many trees you’ve planted each month. It is such a thrill.

offset carbons
Yeah! Love those trees
reduce carbon footprint Offset Earth
Wow! Making a difference

These are the small, yet hugely impacting things you can do. Small steps matter. Every. Single. Time.

That feel good energy only helps the planet and everyone living on it even more AND raises the collective conscious so we become even better humans.

Just like the Compost Now, put it under your monthly donation expenses.

Money Principle: What you send out lovingly comes back to your multiplied.

Ways that we intend on improving this year (and more sustainable ideas)

Logan Pass, Glacier Nartional Park, Montana
Logan Pass, Glacier Nartional Park, Montana

These are some areas we struggle with and have the intention to improve this year

22. Simplify and consume less

Before purchasing, we need to ask,

Do I really need this? Is it just a bright shiny object that will eventually end up in the waste basket? Does it serve a purpose? Will I truly use it? How will this possibly burden my life?

Have these conversations with your children as well. Teach them the importance of pausing before you buy and considering if it’s really worth it.

We don’t need as much stuff as we’re told to, and usually most of it ends up burdening us as we have to maintain them and find a space for them.

I get so overwhelmed and annoyed when I see so many storage facility places taking up so much land everywhere. Typically places to store people’s stuff they rarely use.

Let’s use less and spend more of our money and time on moments and memories and treasured connections with others.

This is a constant daily task for us despite always living quite simply. I’ m grateful for a 22 year nomadic life that has forced me into simple living. My memories are extraordinary.

But, now we are living a more permanent life, I know we have to be super diligent. It so easy to get sucked into consumerism and an even bigger challenge when you have kids.  Shield yourself!

23. Waste less food

Ugh. I hate our food waste more than any other. Food wastage is a massive concern for environmental health and I don’t think our family is doing a good enough job with it.

We forget about leftovers and don’t check our fridge properly before shopping so end up with an abundance of produce we don’t use and then have to get thrown out when we discover them molding on the bottom of the drawer.

I’m going be an honest parent here – the girls are terrible with this and I’m STRUGGLING to get them to stop wasting food.

Savannah in particular is the fussiest eater in the world. I’m not exaggerating.

We’ve recently found out she’s a super taster, which means she tastes things 5 times greater than anyone else and can get extreme anxiety when it comes to tasting new food.

I wondered why she’d just nibble at new food and I’d have to tell her to put it on her taste buds to really taste it. But, that’s not a pleasant experience for her. That means she wastes a lot of new food, taking nibbles, scrunching up her face and refusing to take another bite.

I put on oodles of weight traveling because I’d hate the food wastage and eat her helpings. Now I can’t eat her wastage with all my dietary restrictions so it goes to waste.

We’re learning and now only buying what we know she’ll eat. It’s like 5 things.

And the most annoying thing is you’ll find something she likes and then one time you get it and something is slightly different about it and she’ll never eat it again.

We also used to be really good at having the girls share meals when eating out but now Kalyra is a little older she doesn’t want to do that. She’s usually pretty good at eating food and is very conscious about how it affects the planet.

It’s a constant conversation though.

At least we are composting now. But still, not good.

24. Taking reusable bags to the supermarket

Something so freakin easy is the hardest thing in the world to us. I don’t know why we cant get our shit together with this.

We used to be really good about it in Australia. It bugs me to no end.

Even when we keep them I the car we get to half way through check out and remember we dont’ have them and it’s too late to run and grab them!

We say no to the plastic bags, but still, paper bags aren’t that much better.

25. Reusable coffee cups

We’ve reduced our coffee consumption a lot since we’ve stopped traveling, but one thing I do want to start this year, is taking our own reusable coffee cups to cafes.

Can you imagine, with the coffee addiction the world suffers, all those coffee cups going into land fill each year?

It’s disgusting and I am an unconscious lazy, contributor to that.

Some cafes even offer you discounts for doing it.

My research tells me it also very welcome, but to make sure your cup is clean.

I was shocked to discover how common it is for people to pass over a dirty cup to a barista to fill. That’s really a thing? Just rinse it out at least and be respectful of the person making you a coffee.

Just writing this post, inspired me to immediately.

26. Avoid more plastic

An excruciatingly painful thing to do! But we’re doing our best.

This is one of the MASSIVE problems I hope the genius creators work to solve – what can be created that replaces plastic but doesn’t hurt the environment or us.

Because plastic is so hard to avoid. I am in awe of those who can do it. I know Rob from 2 Travel Dads is doing a great job of this.

We also have healthy cookware – Xtrema and GreenPan (no nasty chemicals Always good for you and the environment) We’d also be good to reduce our dependence on paper towels!!

27. Sell our F250 truck

rv trip ford 250 big bend national park
Sell the Beast!

We loved our Beast – our Ford F250. We needed it to to tow our travel trailer through the rugged mountainous terrain of the US.

But we did use solar energy for a largest part of our trip so kind of balanced it out. And we did offset our carbon footprint from it.

But, it’s time for it to go. I hate how bad it is for the environment. Churning up those fossil fuels and contibuting too much to greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s also expensive for fuel AND a pain to drive and park in the city. The Beast is a Beast.

What can we add to the list? What are some of the ways you are choosing to live more sustainably?