My green and zero waste tips

In the top 10 articles you've asked me for most, I think this one comes out on top ! So I've listed all the eco-friendly tips you can do on a daily basis to minimise your carbon footprint, reduce your waste and ease your wallet (because yes, eco-friendly can also mean thrifty !) and sometimes even be healthier : so there are plenty of good reasons to go green !

My eco-friendly tips for everyday life

1) Sorting your waste

In my opinion, sorting your rubbish is one of the first things you should do. To find out about sorting instructions (which may vary depending on the department in France), go to ! Of course, we don't throw anything away (not even our surgical marks, which are plastic, not paper).

2) Buy second-hand or reconditioned (where possible)

You need to maximise your purchases of second-hand or reconditioned goods to give a second life to appliances, clothes or any other object. This also avoids contributing to over-consumption.

3) Going zero-waste

Whether in the bathroom or the kitchen, zero waste saves space, energy and money !

4) Keeping the water hot

When you're waiting for the water to get hot enough to brush your teeth or take a bath or shower, save the water in a basin and use it to water your plants! It's a small habit you can get into for big water savings.

5) Eat what's in season and as organic and local as possible

No more strawberries in the middle of winter, think of the planet instead by eating only what's in season! Whenever possible, go for organic and / or local produce. Your body and the small producers will thank you !

6) Stop eating animals

It may come as a surprise to you, but stopping eating meat and fish can drastically reduce your impact on the planet! Reducing your consumption by eating only local produce will already reduce your impact, but stopping altogether will reduce it even further.

7) Boycotting big brands and polluting companies

Nutella, McDonald's, Shein, Zara... these large, polluting groups that are in no way respectful of human and animal life are to be BOYCOTTERED ! If you stop buying from these big groups, you'll be saving the planet and your health, but you'll also be saving the people who are exploited and, of course, the animals. Choose European brands, small groups (and for beauty products, those with the Cruelty Free label).

8) Use public transport as much as possible

Train, bus, metro, tram... these means of transport are much more environmentally friendly than using your car. It's a little habit to get into to limit your carbon footprint (and what could be better than letting yourself be driven after an exhausting day's work ?).

9) Walk (when distances allow) to get to town (or use a bicycle)

It's easy to forget that walking or cycling short distances is easy ! If you're fit or fitter, you'll be able to exercise regularly. For those with health problems or who are not very fit, opt for an electric bike !

10) Don't overconsume

Stop overbuying ! Before you buy, ask yourself several questions: "Do I really need it ?", "Can't I get it second-hand / refurbished ?", "Don't I already have a similar item ?", "Why do I really want to buy it ? Spur-of-the-moment purchases often end up in the bin. For clothes and beauty products in particular, opt for the one purchase = one item removed from my home. Don't throw things away ! Give it away (to friends, family, even strangers on dedicated Facebook groups or to charities) or sell it !

11) Don't let the water run

In the shower, when washing up, when brushing your teeth... we turn off the water as soon as we're finished using it! We're thinking about the planet and our wallets, especially after the severe droughts that have hit the world.

12) Unplug or switch off WiFi when you're away (or at night)

It's a habit you'll have to get into, but it will help you avoid unnecessary consumption and piracy, and lower your electricity bill in the long run!

13) Do not leave appliances on standby

Not using your computer ? Switch it off ! Appliances on standby consume a lot of energy. The planet and your banker will thank you.

14) Use sockets with switches

To get rid of appliances on standby without unplugging them, opt for sockets with a switch ! All you have to do is press a button to completely cut off the electricity to the appliance.

15) Buying in bulk

Bulk food is full of delicious (and often cheaper !) products. It helps to reduce food waste (because you choose your portions) and limit plastic waste (especially if you bring your own containers).

16) Reduce the length of showers (and prioritise them over baths)

No more karaoke in the shower that makes it last forever... sign up for The Voice and reduce your showering time to a strict minimum and choose showers over baths as much as possible ! Less running water, lower water bills and a planet that says thank you.

17) Deleting and sorting emails

Digital pollution is a huge scourge. So get on with sorting out and deleting all those useless emails in your inbox! Unsubscribe from all those newsletters you don't even read and get into the habit of regularly emptying your recycle bin and not sending useless emails to your friends and colleagues.

18) Use a lid when cooking water

When boiling water, it's essential to use a lid ! Not only will it go faster (so you use less electricity / gas) but you'll lose a lot less heat. So no more excuses, just use a lid !

19) Don't overuse the heating and air conditioning

Whether at home or in the car, turn down the heating and air conditioning ! You can also limit their use as much as possible to avoid using too much energy. You'll see, your bill will go down and you won't feel much hotter or colder !

20) Remember to turn off the lights

You leave a room, turn off the light. We're not at Buckingham Palace here ! Less electricity used = more savings and less pollution !

21) Bring your own reusable bags

Shopping, errands... we're saying no to the disposable bags on offer for 10 or 20 centimes and taking along our own reusable bags !

22) Print as little as possible

Prioritise back-ups to external hard drives and print the bare minimum.

23) Compost

It's not always possible to do this, but check with your local council if there's no communal composting facility in your area. Or ask neighbours, farmers, etc. in your area if they are interested in your organic waste !

24) Repair instead of throwing away

Has your phone got a broken screen ? A hole in your T-shirt ? Repair it instead of throwing it away ! Not only will you save money, but you won't be contributing to over-consumption.

25) Raising awareness

Friends, children, parents... the secret weapon of a perfect green⸱e? Raising awareness around you! The more you raise awareness, the more eco-friendly tips you learn, the more you reduce your carbon impact on a large scale.

26) Choosing the right sun cream

A real scourge in terms of aquatic mortality, sun creams are often full of junk (which is absolutely not recommended for your health and is often potentially carcinogenic). So it's best to swim without sunscreen and choose your sunscreen carefully, both for your own health and for that of aquatic wildlife!

27) Be careful with the contraceptive pill

In addition to causing significant health problems in the short, medium, and long term, the contraceptive pill causes ecological disasters for aquatic fauna. Despite the treatment of our urine in purification plants, medications (including the pill) end up in the water to the great detriment of the living beings in it. Consider stopping it; your body will thank you even more.

28) Buy a water bottle or glass bottle

Tired of carrying packs of water ? Switch to a glass bottle ! All you have to do is put tap water in it and leave it in the fridge for 24 hours. It will no longer taste of chlorine (tested and approved). You can also opt for a water filter. The same goes for water bottles !

29) Harvesting rainwater

If you have a garden or balcony, think about collecting rainwater to water your plants. When it doesn't rain for a long time, or even for your houseplants, it gives you a reserve of water without drawing on drinking water. What's more, it's full of minerals (perfect for your leafy friends !).

30) Limit car washing

Do you really need to wash your car every week? No, so limit washing to when it's really dirty and avoid doing it in the middle of summer.

31) Making rags from old fabrics

When our clothes are too old and damaged to be re-sewn, why not recycle them as rags ? You don't have to buy them, and what's more, the material of our clothes (such as T-shirts) is ideal for washing windows without scratching them...

32) Buying from ethical brands

Buy less but buy better ! It's true that clothes / products from ethical brands are more expensive, but they will last longer and be of much better quality (for our health, our bodies, the planet and the working conditions of employees).

33) Put a "Stop pub" sign on your letterbox

Fed up with throwing away tons of adverts every week ? Opt for a "stop pub" ! Less waste and fewer trees cut down unnecessarily.

34) Buying a dishwasher

As well as being practical when you're lazy about doing this task (which many people hate), it consumes much less energy than washing up by hand ! Provided it's full, of course.

35) Installing a mousseur on taps

Easy to install, it will allow you to use less water for the same pressure. Perfect for your water bill and for reducing your water consumption !

36) Wash at low temperature

As well as using less energy, washing your clothes at 30°C (86°F) also means they won't be damaged !

37) Use a washable filter or invest in a filterless coffee maker

No more waste with the washable filter ! Or just buy a coffeemaker without a filter. Boycott capsule coffee makers : as well as being very badly recycled, they create tons of unnecessary waste...

38) Limit or stop buying cut flowers

There are a few exceptions where flowers are grown in France on a small scale. But the cut flower industry is an environmental scourge. They are highly processed and travel miles to satisfy us for just a few weeks or days. No, we don't pick wild flowers, we let them live for the benefit of insects and animals !

39) Refusing to accept till receipts

You're beginning to understand, aren't you ? Less waste = a happier planet !

40) Think doggybag

To combat food waste, think of the doggybag. You'll have your meal for the evening or the next day without having to throw it away, in case you don't manage to finish in the restaurant...

41) Keeping old toothbrushes for housework

Before you throw them away, use them to their heart's content! As well as recycling, it's extremely effective for cleaning. Don't forget to buy bamboo toothbrushes to boycott plastic!

42) Use over-ripe or damaged fruit for compote or jam

Let's get cooking ! Put an end to food waste and opt for tasty home-cooked meals.

43) Use damaged or spoiled vegetables for soups and purées

The same tip as above, but in a savoury version ! What's more, soup makes you grow.

44) Making French toast or breadcrumbs from stale bread

Don't throw away your bread, you fools ! Opt for a delicious French toast recipe or mix it to make breadcrumbs (ideal for homemade veggie nuggets).

45) Do as many things as possible yourself

Cakes, cooking, cleaning products, beauty products... it's often super easy, much better (for the food) and much cheaper !

46) Limit consumption of ready-made meals

We've all had those lazy meals with those ready-made meals that are absolutely unhealthy and full of microplastics. So we limit what we buy by preparing our meals in advance and even freezing some of them.

47) Do not use a tumble dryer

Not only does this consume energy, it also damages and creases your clothes. So we opt for the most ecological solution : air drying !

48) Using fabric to wrap gifts

Gift wrap is the most useless waste. So opt for fabric or old newspaper !

49) Recover UNSALTED cooking or water bath

Ideal for watering plants once it has cooled, provided it is NOT SALTED. Otherwise it kills plants and small animals.

50) Replace conventional light bulbs with LED bulbs

Why do they do this ? Quite simply because they consume much less.

51) Take old household appliances, batteries and telephones to collection points.

It's compulsory in France in all shops that sell it, and it prevents it from being thrown in the bin (something you should NOT do) or into the environment (needless to say, it's extremely polluting, isn't it ?).

52) Use natural remedies as much as possible

As well as often being much more efficient and less dangerous to health, it's also much healthier for the environment.

53) Using commercial jars to store food

It's that simple ! Do you buy peas in a glass can ? Save all those containers for bulk. Not only will you save money (because glass jars aren't cheap), you'll be recycling and you'll also be limiting your purchases !

54) Find out about the least polluting means of transport

No, flying is not always the most polluting way to travel ! If you do have to travel, choose the least polluting means. For journeys within the same country, choose the train rather than the plane or the car. For very long-distance journeys, the plane may be less polluting than the car, depending on the number of passengers ! But it is important to limit your journeys, whatever they may be.

55) Use washable products

Menstrual pants, washable nappies, microfibre make-up remover wipes... there are tons of them, for all kinds of uses ! Disposable hygiene products are often toxic and create a lot of waste... so washable products come first !

56) Use an upside-down plate or tea towel to cover dishes in the fridge

This avoids fighting with the freshness film that sticks to itself and limits waste.

57) Use reusable crockery

Take your pretty mug or Tupperware to work ! What's more, they're available in bamboo to minimise breakage. As for straws, to avoid them ending up in the stomach of a whale or the nostrils of a sea turtle, opt for steel or glass straws.

58) Refusing free samples

Let's limit our waste, I repeat: let's limit our waste !

59) Switching to dry toilets

As well as saving water, it's much cleaner and (contrary to popular belief) it doesn't smell. Try them and you'll love them !

60) Boycotting sales and Black Friday

Apart from exceptional cases (because we don't all have the bank account of a millionaire) of purely considered and necessary purchases, we BOYCOT these more than polluting periods ! 

My green and zero waste tips
Capra Pyrenaica 3 January 2024
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