7 Tips for Eco-Conscious Living Without Sacrificing Comfort and Style

You know the importance of recycling more, to bring your own bags on shopping recycle logotrips, to walk more and drive less.  You certainly have heard of the language:  Eco-friendly.  Go green.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

The environment has been a hot topic in recent years.  In the more than forty years since the first Earth Day was held, however, it never occurred to many people that their actions could lead to environmental consequences…until now.

Hurricane Katrina.  Superstorm Sandy.  Record-breaking hot weather.  Major flooding.  Strong tsunamis.  Record snowfall.  Destructive tornadoes.

You don’t need to be a climatologist to know something is out of whack.

But instead of focusing on dire environmental predictions and the damage that has already been done to the planet, we can still win this environmental ‘fight’ by making small changes in our own lifestyle.  You do not need to take drastic measures or compromise aesthetics and comfort in order to make a difference.

Here are some of our favorite eco-conscious choices that can make a real impact.  They are small things we all can incorporate into our daily living.

Ditch the Paper Towels

The next time the kids and the dog are tracking dirty foot and paw prints into the laundry baskethouse, instead of reaching for recycled plastic bin to organize reusable towels for another wasteful sheet of towel, buy a well-designed recycled plastic bin (I prefer the Container Store’s stylish Curver Eco Life bin) and stash a dozen neatly-folded lint-free towels, ready to use and toss into the laundry bin.

Rid the Disposables

Kids’ birthday parties.  The backyard BBQ.  The school picnic.  The food may be different at each event, but chances are the food is served using disposable (and unrecyclable) paper plates, cups, and cutlery.  Cut down on the garbage by using compostable bamboo plates, wrapping sandwiches in cloth napkins, and reusing BPA-free cups and utensils.

Collect Rainwater

Instead of using your own tap water, invest in a plastic rain barrel (or buy a Home Depot orange bucket) to collect rainwater for garden use.  When it is time to hydrate the garden plants, pour the collected rainwater into a watering can and use.

Join a Freecycle Group

Instead of sending usable items to the landfill, Freecycle members can post donatable items that others can reuse or look for items they want, all for free.


Help take a few cars off the road.  Use to locate someone who has a similar commute as you and sign up to share the ride.  You will not only cut down on emissions and save on fuel costs, you may even gain a new friend.

Say No to Coffee Cups

The next time you head to Starbucks for a caffeine fix, bring along your own travel mug.  Doing so will mean fewer paper cups and cardboard sleeves ending up in a landfill.

Say Yes to Family-Size Portions

When grocery shopping, stocking up on single-serve food items (such as yogurt and cheese sticks) is a convenient practice.  However, this extra packaging is extremely wasteful and costly.  A greener and wallet-friendly solution is to buy family-size portions, then portioning out snack-size amounts into reusable containers for consumption later.

From simple changes such as replacing incandescent bulbs to CFLs in your home to bigger commitments such as harnessing the power of wind to create electricity, we all can make a positive impact on the planet.  After all, the health of future generations depends on the choices we make now.

Images credit:   Michael Lorenzo; Susan Ho