All it takes to start living more sustainably is one simple step, then another. Here’s some inspiration to take that first step:

Go pre-loved

Have a favourite clothing brand? Set up a saved search on platforms such as Facebook’s Marketplace and cut your fashion footprint by buying a lot more second-hand clothing.

Make a mend

Care for what’s already in your wardrobe to extend its lifespan as much as possible. You don’t have to be a super-skilled sewer; ethical fashion activist Orsola de Castro recommends using vintage brooches to cover holes

Wash less

Good news! One of the easiest things you can do to help the environment is to simply wash your clothes less,’ declares Georgina Wilson-Powell in Is it Really Green? Everyday Eco-Dilemmas Answered. Levi’s suggests washing jeans after 10 wears, for example.

Read the manual

On the subject of domestic appliances: ‘It’s a good idea to read the instructions for your goods,’ advises Tessa Wardley, author of The Eco Hero Handbook: Simple Solutions to Tackle Eco-Anxiety. ‘There may be energy- and water-saving settings you’re unaware of.’

Don’t tumble

a line of denim clothes

Image credit: Pexels

Another tip from Georgina is to ditch the tumble dryer. ‘It’s not just the earth you’ll be helping,’ she says. ‘Dryers are expensive to run.’ Plus line-drying means less wear and tear on clothes.

Find refillables

Some supermarkets offer refill stations for household staples. Ask about such initiatives where you shop or search online to find your nearest dedicated refill store.

Regular swaps

Your food shop is one of the easiest places to make eco-switches. Try one thing each week; for example, swap plastic bottles of cordial for glass or aluminium.

Electricity savvy

Making your home more eco-friendly doesn’t have to mean investing in expensive kits such as solar panels. Simple changes include wearing slippers to keep your feet warm during winter or switching off the lights during the day.


Shorten the food chain

When it comes to the food you buy, the shorter the food chain, the less waste that was created before it reaches your kitchen. Try to buy 50% of your food grown within 50 km of where you live.

Sort your rubbish

Check out that local authority website again before you stick any less common objects in your rubbish bin. From ash to Zimmer frames, there may be a reuse or recycling scheme available.

Try composting

Look into composting, either at home or through your local authority’s food-waste collection. This will massively reduce the amount you send to the landfill – and you may find you can then ditch bin bags too.


How to make instant compost using your weeds

Use what you have first

Don’t ditch household items in favour of a greener alternative; only replace when you need to. It’s almost always more sustainable to maximise the use of what you own already. When you make the switch, do research online as to the most energy-efficient items.

Pass it on

Identify a recipient for anything still in good condition. Imagining the benefit that your favourite charity may gain from sales makes it a lot easier to resist the temptation to just chuck unwanted items in the bin.

Know your recycling

Your local authority is also a vital source of information about what you can and cannot recycle through curbside collection. Check out its guidelines, as including prohibited items may mean that the whole batch has to be dumped.


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Originally published in SA Woman&Home Magazine.