15 Highly Achievable Sustainable Living Ideas for an Eco-Friendly Home

Start saving the planet with small and easy steps Mother Earth will thank you for. By Samantha Zaragoza

Eco guilt is real! You know, those moments you die inside whenever you buy anything disposable that’ll take years to decompose, add to landfills, and destroy the ecosystem as we know it?

This is one guilt trip you can’t sweep under the rug. So we’ve rounded up ideas, from ones you can do this very minute to easy future projects, to help you create an eco-friendly home.

1. Be Mindful Of Your Resources

Commit to using less, may it be paper and plastic products, energy sources, and water. Bring your own reusable bags when shopping for groceries or when in the market. Turn off the tap when you don’t need it. Take quicker baths. Fully load the washing machine and hand wash smaller pieces you immediately need.

Opt for natural alternatives, like opening the windows and pulling up the curtains during the day, drying clothes in the sun, or skipping the elevator to use the stairs when possible.

Unplug chargers and appliances when they’re not in use, especially those with display clocks or tiny lit bulbs even when turned off. Tip: make it simpler by using a power strip with switches — or, plug small appliances into a power strip you can turn off with one switch.

2. Choose Earth-Friendly Brands

Start switching to more sustainable products for your home. Be on the lookout for brands that are all-natural, multipurpose, not tested on animals, and use less resources (like water) to make. Go for brands like Human Nature and Ritual Ph that offer all-natural home care products like dishwashing liquids, detergents, and deodorizers. Pure Essentials Ph and Matenara are examples of businesses that use plastic-free packaging for their nature-loving merch, like shampoo bars and bathroom needs in refillable bottles.

Most major grocery stores carry these alternatives. You’ll also find community stores, such as KatHa and Earth Origins, carrying earth-friendly brands you can use, whether you live in the north or south of the metro. You may follow The Good Trade PH for their community of zero-waste and sustainable product sellers. Check out their upcoming fairs. With the spread of these eco-loving brands, there’s no better time to switch than now.

3. Support Local

While you’re at it, support local! Buying items produced within your vicinity means less carbon footprint. The less gas used to get the products to your doorstep, the better. Plus it saves you time, too!

You’ll find troves of treasure online if you don’t know where to start! Check out Real Food Ph, Retold PH, The Naturale Market Ph, and Roots Collective for their collection of partner brands you can start supporting. These businesses also have physical stores in Alabang, Centris Sunday Market, BGC, and Katipunan.

4. Minimize Packaging Waste

Zero waste is the dream, but it’s quite challenging to achieve. In the meantime, start switching to products with biodegradable, recycled, or recyclable packaging.

Instead of single-use sachets, bags, and bottles for cleaning supplies and bathroom needs, opt for bigger, even refillable, containers. This goes for your drinking water, too!

Support brands that offer refills for their products. You don’t have to scour the city in search of specialty stores to refill your containers. Green solutions are closer to us than ever with malls offering refilling stations, such as Refuse (Pop Culture in Alabang Town Center), Messy Bessy (Power Plant Mall, Venice Grand Canal Mall, and Uptown Mall), Human Nature (The Block SM North EDSA, Commonwealth), and All Things Hair Refillery (Trinoma, Glorietta 3, and Alabang Town Center). Visit their sites to see schedules and prices.

When choosing between packages, glass, aluminum, and metal are better options than plastic. These are infinitely recyclable compared to plastic, which downgrades as it’s reprocessed. Paper is also good, but its ability to be recycled also lowers after every reuse, just not as short-lived as plastic. Bamboo, banana leaves, and similar items are finally used as packaging options you’ll see in home stores and supermarkets.

Before turning over your dyaryo bote bakal waste to your nearest collector, try repurposing them. Glass jars may be the answer to your need for sachets in the first place — measuring and dividing products that can easily be overused, like cleaning supplies.

Better yet, why not make your own cleaning and pest control solutions from natural and earth-friendly materials, then store them in old glass containers?

5. Start Segregation At Home

With lesser packaging waste at home, find more ways to save them from ending in landfills or in the seas. If your barangay supports segregating trash into color-coded bins, contact the garbage management and investigate the end-users of your non-biodegradable waste. Some will offer you a list of companies that recycle them.

A quick online search will give you nearby businesses in need of certain types of non-biodegradables like bottle caps, different types of plastic, glass, metal, and paper.

You can also make ecobricks! The process is very simple and anyone can do it, even kids. Fill up discarded plastic bottles with clean and dry plastic trash. Pack these plastics good with a stick until you have one solid bottle. Keep the bottles around the home beside garbage bins and segregate as you go!

6. Be More Digital

You’re probably already doing this! Use less paper and embrace the comforts of going digital. An example is having your bills e-mailed than snail-mailed. You can also use payment apps and do mobile banking to pay bills online. These tech innovations lessen the carbon footprint and save paper, time, and energy.

7. Think Of Reusables

This one’s easy peasy with more companies riding the trend. Metal straws, tumblers, and eco bags are all the rave. But instead of buying these and add to their production, just make use of what you already have at home!

Speaking of recycling and repurposing, replace paper towels and cotton pads with pre-loved and cut-up clothing. You can even turn them into coffee filters, baby wipes, braided rugs, tote bags, and sanitary napkins.

8. Switch to LED Lights

If you’re still not using LED, make the switch once your current lights die out. LED lights aren’t only energy-efficient, they also have a smaller carbon footprint with much less carbon emissions than incandescent or fluorescent lights.

9. Buy, Borrow, & Repurpose Pre-Loved Items

Support the pre-loved economy! Go vintage and shop for antique home decor. Repurpose an old sweater into throw pillows or jeans into seat covers. There’s so much you can do with glass bottles as well.

Keep that economy going by donating or selling your old items, too. Host a yard sale! You can easily post them online or deliver your donations to nearby foundations.

Buy slightly used big-ticket items like TVs, bikes, or computers. If you need something short-lived, like luggage for a trip, consider borrowing that instead.

10. Mind The Upkeep

Leaky faucets, dusty refrigerator coils, dirty dryer filters, and loose windows in air-conditioned rooms can all contribute to extra energy use. Regularly check, repair, and clean these energy guzzlers to save Mother Earth and your wallet, as well.

11. Plant A Garden

You don’t even need a big space for this. Instead of flower bouquets to decorate your interiors, go for potted plants that last longer. Grow food in vertical gardens, even tabletop ones, and save cost and carbon footprint from buying those in groceries. You’ll benefit from the carbon sink, too!

12. Collect Rain & Used Water

Conserve some water even without a greywater system. Use water from washing fruit and vegetables to water plants. Laundry water can be for flushing toilets. You can also collect buckets of rainwater for washing household items.

13. Make A DIY Compost

Composting is easier than you think! Wouldn’t you rather add organic materials to your soil and help plants grow than leave these in landfills that’ll later produce methane, a strong greenhouse gas?

Use a bin with a tight lid, drill holes on the lid and the bin’s bottom, fill 1/8 with dried leaves or newspaper, add dirt until 1/2 full, toss in food scraps and paper waste, stir, moisten with water, cover and place under a shade, and wait two to three months before using on your garden!

14. Switch To Inverter Appliances

Once it’s time to replace your refrigerator or air-conditioner, go for inverters.

15. Consider A Solar Installation

Support your electrical needs (and lower your bill) with a solar installation. Costing around PHP125,000 for 1620W capacity from trusted suppliers, solar installations are best for daytime users. Start conservatively and visit Meralco for information on net metering.

Ready to save the planet? There’s no need for drastic change, just lifestyle tweaks we can all easily do to help save Mother Earth, one step together at a time.