19 Ways to Improve Your Green Living Lifestyle

Struggling with ideas on ways to improve your green living lifestyle!? In this post, we’ve rounded up 19 ways we have improved our green living lifestyle. From changes to our food and gardening habits to household improvements to baby related product swaps, we cover a range of green living lifestyle ideas. 

Last Updated on November 30, 2022

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Our family’s goal is to live big, but leave a small footprint on our environment. We do the best we can, and so can you by making some changes!

So below are 19 ways we improved our green living lifestyle!

Food and Gardening Habits

Raise your hand if half of what’s in your trash can is food waste aka food scraps or old leftovers. Here are some ideas on ways to improve your green living lifestyle when it comes to food and a garden.

  1. Composting – I have to say it is amazing how much food waste ends up in your trash can and then the landfill. Which is horrible for our environment! This is one of the biggest impacts we’ve made to live greener. We literally have one bag of trash every 2-4 weeks now because almost everything is composted or recycled! There are various composting options out there, you just have to decide what works best for your lifestyle.
    • Composting Bins or Pile – This is what people typically think of when say you compost at home. This is fairly budget friendly as you can DIY a compost pile at home or buy a fairly budget friendly compost bin tumbler. We bought this compost tumbler in the beginning and it worked well (when we found someone who’d compost for us though, we made the switch!)
    • Curbside Composting Pickup Companies – We live in Kansas City, Missouri and we use this wonderful curbside composting pickup company called Composting Collective KC, which is a curbside compost pickup. We literally just collect our compost in a bin in our kitchen for a week, and then place it out on the curb like you might with recycling for pickup. Look in your city if there are any curbside compost pickup companies as they are a lifesaver and make composting so easy for you!
    • Countertop Composter – If you want to take your food waste and turn it into compost quickly at home, there are countertop composters like this Vitamix FoodCycler. It takes your food scraps and compost it in hours! It’s an investment, but you also get the convenience of not having to go outside or turn a bin, and get all the compost right then and there.
Compost bin for curbside pickup
Our awesome curbside compost pickup! Just put all your compost in the bin, they pickup and then make compost with your food waste!
  1. Grow Herbs and Veggies or Re-grow Food – If you don’t have a whole lot of space or land, then you can always do a container garden! We started just using a random assortment of pots we had to grow herbs and attempt to even grow tomatoes in. This worked great for the sunny spot on the deck. You can even DIY it and build your own planter box like we did! It gave use more space with a clean sleek planter box that fit our style.
Green living lifestyle through re-growing food
Re-growing some green onions and lettuce!
DIY planter box to grown herbs and veggies in for a better green living lifestyle
Growing veggies and herbs in our DIY Planter Box
  1. Reduce food waste with meal planning – Reducing food waste is a wonderful way to improve your green living lifestyle. Less food in the landfill and we reduced our food waste by meal and recipe planning. No, not meal prepping, where everything is done ahead of time. Just planning what meals we are going to have each week and only buying food for those.

    For over 5 years, we’ve used a meal and recipe app called Platejoy that generates recipes for us. It can be personalized in a lot of ways! Some of the key ones we love that help us save money and reduce food waste are below. You can also read here in more detail on how it helped reduce our food waste and live more sustainably.

    If you decide to go the Platejoy route, you can use our code BIGLIV10 to get $10 off your subscription!
  1. Eat Less Meat – Many of you might know that red meat and poultry production is quite bad for the environment. You can cut down on your carbon footprint by eating less meat! We aren’t ready to go full on vegetarian or vegan yet. However, to lessen our impacts, we consciously make the choice to eat less red meat and chose 1 or 2 vegetarian meals each week. It’s just one small step to improving our green living lifestyle!
  2. Buy Local – The distance your food travels matters! Firstly, the longer distance likely the more emissions produced to shift it. Secondly, the nutritional value of fruit and veggies only lasts for a short time. We go to a local deli now to buy our Italian lunch meats and cheeses. Best part is they’re given to us wrapped in paper so we can compost or recycle it instead of throwing away the plastic that those typically come wrapped in!

    Also, supporting your local small businesses is always a good choice!
Local deli with meats and cheeses
Yes, they’re wrapped in plastic, but at least they aren’t individually packaged and re-wrapped in plastic. If your local place wraps in plastic, ask if they have paper or bring your own!
  1. Shop little and more often – Remember how I said we use a recipe meal planner?! This makes us consciously only buy what we need for those meals and only for that week. So much less food sits in the fridge and goes bad if you only have what you need. Also, buy less things in bulk from your big box stores unless the shelf life is long. Otherwise, the two-for-one deals just go to waste if you throw out the second one!
  2. Make your own baked goods – bread, bagels, tasty treats – All your bread products and baked goods tend to come in plastic bags. Those bags are usually not accepted as recycling in most places. So we decided to start making more of our own baked goods at home. This way we reduce the number of plastic bags, and we get fresh DELICIOUS bread or bagels.

    Don’t feel like you have time to do this!? Guess what, there’s always time if you schedule for it. We make batch of bagels every weekend for the next week’s breakfast now. It’s a behavioral change and you have to make it part of your routine. PLUS, you reap the benefits of tasty fresh baked goods and the yummy smells that drift through your home!
Blueberry bagel dough sitting on baking sheet.
Fresh blueberry bagels are awesome BTW! Here’s our blueberry bagel dough ready to bake!
  1. Plant native to minimize watering – Native plants are the way to go, and a great way to improve your green living lifestyle. A native plant is a plant that is naturally occurring to a particular region or ecosystem. Native plants typically require less watering as the plant is already used to your region’s climate and rainfall amounts.

    If you live in Missouri or Kansas, then Deep Roots KC is a great collective that can help you find and plan your garden with native plants! Also, usually there’s a local botanical garden or major nursery that has more information about native plants in your region. I love to use Missouri Botanical Garden’s Plant Finder when I’m in search of plants. They even have a checkbox for Missouri natives!

    Each state and city has a ton of resources and even incentives for people to plant native. A little research goes a long way and can even save you money!
  2. Make a rain barrel for your plants – You might have a lot of plants now if you’ve started a garden of any scale. Plants require watering typically, especially in our Midwest climate! Paying for extra water in the summer months sucks. But guess what!? You can harvest and collect rainwater to water your plants instead of getting water from a hose and increasing your water bill. The easiest solution is making a rain barrel. The rain barrel can collect rainwater from your house’s gutter system. Check out our DIY Stacked rain barrel plans!

Yay FREE water!

Household Improvements

Beyond the plants and food outside or in your kitchen, there are other household improvements you can do. Some are large investments, while others are minimal investments. Both are impactful, so do what you can! We made the decision to do all of these as we worked towards our family goal of decreasing our footprint on the planet.

  1. Switch to LED lights – Most people nowadays have made the switch to LED light bulbs for their houses or apartments. However, there are still instances that you find old incandescent lights. We bought a flipped 1973 house that had a mix of incandescent and LED lights, and switching out the incandescent lights was one of our first projects after moving in. It’s important to make the switch as LED lights last longer and use typically 75% less energy making them better for the environment and also your wallet!
So many types of LEDs now for cheap and they last for so long!
  1. Insulate your attic – The most cost effective thing you can do to reduce your home’s energy footprint is to make sure your home has proper insulation in your attic. This goes a long way to reducing your heating and cooling! New homes are insulated to a Code specific requirement, but even that is often less than is recommended by the Department of Energy. Most of the US needs 13-14″ of insulation while the Northern Zones need 16-18″. If you find that you don’t have enough insulation, you buy insulation from most hardware stores and rent the machine to blow it into your attic. It’s a dusty job and it will take you and one to two other people an afternoon, but it makes a huge difference!
  2. Switch out your Windows and Doors – If you have old windows and doors, then changing them out is another great way to make a difference in your home’s energy efficiency. This is especially true if they use single pane glass or don’t seal well so that you can feel a draft in the winter. If your windows and doors already seal well and are at least double pane, then this improvement isn’t likely to save you money in the long run. Everything in our home needed to be replaced! We changed out all of our doors ourselves, but none of our windows were standard sizes. We had Thermal King Windows custom make and install all of our windows. They were a bit pricy, but their triple pane windows are fantastic quality!
  3. Solar Panels – Installing Solar Panels can reduce or even eliminate your energy footprint (if your utility company allows) and will generally pay for themselves over the course of their life. This especially true if you save a several thousand dollars and install them yourself! You read that right. Installing Solar Panels yourself! Read our Going Solar Series about our journey to getting solar panels at home.

    It was by far one of the biggest projects we took on and we had to learn a lot about electrical code, but ultimately it was pretty straightforward thanks to the team from GoGreenSolar. They sold us our kit along with the custom plan and instructions we needed. They even help you apply for permits and everything else you need to get your system up and running.
Install solar panels to improve your green living lifestyle
DIY installed Solar Panels on our roof
  1. Electric car – You can reduce your emissions by making the switch to an electric car. We bought a used electric car and I LOVE it! As every year passes, the electric cars get better in efficiency and battery life. There’s a wide-range of options out there too. Whether you want to go full luxury style Tesla or a standard Nissan Leaf, it’s better than gas vehicles.
  2. Bidet – Okay, I’m sure the memories and memes of the Great Toilet Paper shortage of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic will live on forever. But seriously, you’d never get into that situation again when you could have a bidet and cloth wipes. We bought this bidet, which has just enough options and a good price range for us. Squeaky clean tushies here and saving money on TP! Make the swap as it’s really not that weird!
Improving our green living lifestyle by having a bidet
Yes, a bidet! It’s really not that weird. You shower to clean away all the germs, so why not give your booty a shower every time you use the restroom!?

Baby and Toddler Product Swaps

Becoming parents jolted us into reality, especially when it came to how much waste is created by a little one! A majority of the baby market is disposable products and plastic items. Here are some of the product swaps we made to help improve our green living lifestyle.

  1. Cloth Diapers –  Babies go through a TON of diapers, which means if you’re using disposable diapers a TON goes to the landfill and takes around 500 years to decompose!!! For us, it made sense to go with a more environmentally friendly option of cloth diapers. We personally love the Mama Koala ones and all the cute pattern options. Or the ALVABABY cloth diapers for older little ones. Also, cloth diapers will save you money over time!
Drawer full of cloth diapers to help improve your green living lifestyle
Cloth diapers forever and for the win!
  1. Cloth Baby Wipes –  Just like disposable diapers, disposable wet wipes pile up in our landfills too. So we made the swap to cloth baby wipes and you can read up on our cloth baby wipes epiphany here. We now use OsoCozy Flannel Baby Wipes to clean up the little one’s tushy!  We also use them for tissues or to clean up little messes instead of paper towels. Multi-purpose items are always great!
cloth baby wipes for green living lifestyle
Oso Cozy Cloth Baby Wipes | Great for more than just baby tushies! Also good for tissues and paper towel replacements!
  1. Wooden or Second-hand toys – Toys are the go to gift for little ones, but so many of them are all plastic and can’t/won’t be recycled.
    • Wood – The simple truth is wooden toys are better for various reasons, but mainly because they will biodegrade, unlike plastic toys. One of our favorite subscription boxes for our little one is the Panda Crate by KiwiCo. KiwiCo’s toys are tailored to the child’s age range (FYI, they have boxes for all ages ranging from infant to16+). The Panda Crates have these lovely bamboo wood toys with non-toxic paint that our little one LOVES to play with!

      Also, think about bigger toys or recreational items too! We got our little one this awesome wooden Balance Bike by Kinderfeets for his first birthday! He loved it from day one and it’s adjustable, so he’ll use it for a long time! It’s great for indoor and outdoor use. The other benefit is the company uses sustainable birch wood and every bike purchased helps plant another tree.
    • Second-hand or Hand-me-down toys – These are great as well because even if they are plastic then at least they are being reused and staying out of the landfill! Also, over time, children get bored of toys, so you could definitely do a toy swap with other parents and it’s like having a new toy without buying it or having the old toy go to the landfill!
Kinderfeets Balance Bike sitting on tile floor. Another way to improve your green living lifestyle
Kinderfeets Balance Bike | Leon has been riding it since his 1st birthday!
A variety of KiwiCo's Panda Crate wooden toys laid out on countertop. Wooden toys to improve your green living lifestyle
KiwiCo’s Panda Crates come with a lot of wooden toys and really help with developmental skills. They’re cute too!

Internet Searches

  1. Ecosia search engineThis is a search engine my hubby found where your searches help fund tree planting. Yes, it’s not google and the search results algorithm is different, so you might get something different than if you “Googled” the exact same thing. But hey, I still find the info I need and get to help benefit the planet by funding tree planting! Also, did you know that every search requires electricity on a server somewhere? Ecosia powers all of its searches with clean energy. Couple that with their tree planting, and they are a carbon-neutral company!

    P.S. The home search page has a tree counter, which is so fun and makes my heart happy every time I see it! Also, if you signed in on the site, it can track your number of searches and how many trees you help fund!
green living lifestyle
Ecosia Home Page – It typically takes about 45 searches to fund a tree planting

Bonus Green Living Lifestyle Tips

Search for Sustainable Industry Jobs – Another way to improve your green living lifestyle could be to get a job in the sustainable industry. Many job search websites, such as Jooble, specifically have categories/searches for sustainable-related jobs.

Spread the Word & Make an Impact – We can make a positive difference in this world if we all make some small changes, but the absolute biggest thing we can do is spread the word. Turn ripples into waves!

Tell a family member, friend, or neighbor about what you’ve learned and help them to make the change too.

Or better yet, work to change the policies that affect all of us. Email or call your congressman. Sign a petition. Participate in a rally or join a protest. Anything you can do to show the decision-makers in our government that this is an issue people care about can ultimately lead to greater and broader changes for the future!

Sustainable Living

Make sure to check out some of our other sustainable living and green living posts for more tips!

Any change you make to your lifestyle that helps the environment, no matter how small, helps push the overall needle towards a healthier planet and the environment we live in! Leave a comment if you have made any of these changes. We’d love to hear from you. Also, if you have any other suggestions for improving your green living lifestyle!

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.

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