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Want to live more sustainably? Start in your own home. Transitioning to an eco-friendly lifestyle is a process rather than something that happens all at once. Here are 10 ways you can make your household more sustainable, just in time for Earth Day.

Unplug appliances and turn off lights

An easy way to conserve energy and even lower your bill? Unplug appliances you don’t use frequently, like the blender and toaster, and unplug phone and laptop chargers when they’re not in use. Make it a habit to hit the light switch when you leave a room, too.

Use eco-friendly cleaning products

Switch to natural and eco-friendly products, and look for options with minimal or sustainable packaging, like laundry strips and refillable soaps. Better yet, make your own cleaning solutions out of household ingredients like vinegar and lemons.

Opt for recyclable or biodegradable paper products

Did you know that most glossy and metallic wrapping paper isn’t recyclable in Canada? Use alternatives like fabric gift bags, tins, and jars that can be reused, or brown kraft paper that can be recycled properly. 

Go digital with your bills

Most banks and services have electronic bill options to help cut down on paper. Make the switch to digital and your recycling bin will thank you.

Eliminate plastic

Non-plastic straws and reusable grocery bags are a great start, but Canadians throw away 3 million tonnes of plastic per year—and only 9% is recycled. Take inventory of plastic in your home to make simple swaps: common spots include the bathroom (shampoo bottles and makeup), laundry room (detergents), and the kitchen (food packaging and plastic wrap). 

Shop second hand

Make an effort to shop second hand at thrift and antique stores. Looking for furniture? Community groups and online marketplaces are great places to start. If shopping second hand isn’t an option, focus on purchasing locally made and sustainable items.

Invest in quality

Think long-term instead of disposable when making purchases so you won’t havneede to replace items down the road—a thoughtful choice now means less stuff ends up in the landfill later.

Save energy easily

Making small updates around your home helps with energy consumption, such as swapping in LED lights, improving window insulation, and even upgrading to a smart thermostat.

Re-purpose pieces instead of replacing them

Style changing? Don’t just throw away items that are out of fashion. Upcycle by turning old shirts into rags for cleaning or cotton pads for makeup removal, or repurpose sweaters into cushion covers—get creative and donate what’s left.  

Refill your products

Cut down on wasteful packaging by refilling commonly used products. Fill up at stores like bare market, where you can use reusable containers to buy food, cleaning supplies, beauty, and wellness products in bulk.