Treehugger Editors Share Their Best Eco-Tips

When it comes to sustainability, our team has some inspiring suggestions.

Treehugger Earth Day composite

Treehugger / Lindsey Reynolds / Getty Images

Every April since 1970, the world celebrates Earth Day with a collective goal to improve the state of the planet. This year, the call to action is to invest in our planet: "For Earth Day 2022, we need to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably). It’s going to take all of us. All in. Businesses, governments, and citizens — everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable. A partnership for the planet."

At Treehugger, we believe every day is Earth Day and the quest to make changes shouldn't be a one-day affair. If you're looking to make a change in your life, no matter how big or small, here are nine lifestyle eco-tips to consider, as recommended by the Treehugger team.

Become a Climatarian

Lloyd Alter, Design Editor

I became a climatarian in 2020 when I started writing my book, "Living the 1.5 Degree Lifestyle," and was measuring the carbon footprint of everything that I did, including everything that I ate. 

It's a term first heard in 2015 in The New York Times: "A diet whose primary goal is to reverse climate change. This includes eating locally produced food (to reduce energy spent in transportation), choosing pork and poultry instead of beef and lamb (to limit gas emissions), and using every part of ingredients (apple cores, cheese rinds, etc.) to limit food waste."

Being a climatarian is much easier than being a vegetarian or vegan; you are not making a commitment to give up meat, just certain kinds of meat. You are not giving up strawberries or tomatoes; you are eating them seasonally and thinking about how good they will taste when you get them. It really isn’t hard at all, and if more people did this, it could lead to serious reductions in carbon emissions, and as Hannah Richie of Our World in Data notes: "This would free up billions of hectares for natural vegetation, forests, and ecosystems to return."

Call Your Local Officials

Maggie Badore, Associate Editorial Director

If you’re interested in pushing for system change, consider saving your elected official’s office number on your phone. Then when there’s a piece of environment-related policy up for a vote, it’s easy to give them a call and advocate for sustainability. Most of the time, you’ll be leaving a voicemail or a message with a staff member, so it’s best to keep your comment polite and short. Politicians really do pay attention to how many calls they get related to different issues.

Our Favorite Non-Profits for Gifts That Give Back

Treehugger's writers and editors think about environmental issues day in and day out and figured we'd share our collective wisdom. Find out favorite non-profits for gifts and donations that actively help, not harm, this beautiful orb we call home. If you're able, consider these charities to give back.

Consider a Capsule Wardrobe

Susmita Baral, News Editor

The pandemic spurred an interesting change in me: I accidentally embraced a capsule wardrobe. With no need for work clothes and going out, I found myself purchasing items that were cozy enough for the indoors and presentable enough to run errands in. (I jokingly coined the phrase "pajama dress" for dresses that I could wear as pajamas or for a grocery run.)

This lifestyle change allowed me to be more selective about where I buy my clothes and eliminated the stress of coordinating an outfit. When seasons changed, I'd see how an outfit can be repurposed before investing in another item.

For anyone interested in seeing if this could work for them, I'd recommend starting one outfit at a time. Pick a look you love so much that you want to wear it every day. And then build three to four looks—or however many you need!—a season that you can repeat on rotation.

Buy Dr. Bronner's by the Gallon

Melissa Breyer, Editorial Director

I’ve adopted countless eco habits over the years, but the most satisfying and life-changing hack has been buying Dr. Bronner’s pure Castille soap by the gallon. We have been able to replace dish soap, hand soap, laundry detergent, floor soap, and all-purpose cleaner with this single product. We keep the jug by the laundry for clothes and general cleaning, and we refill a pump-top mason jar by the sink for hands and dishes. It can also be used for body soap, pet and person shampoo, teeth, and I am pretty sure just about anything else that needs cleaning.

Dr. Bronner’s is one of the most eco-minded and progressive companies out there so I am thrilled to be able to use their soap for so many applications. And I love the incredible convenience, low cost, and great eco-impact of not having to buy a bunch of different products in different bottles. I know this sounds like an ad; it isn’t, I am just an ardent fan!

A gallon container of liquid soap


Try Out Reusable Coffee Filters

Hayley Bruning, Associate Editor

I'm unfortunately one of those people who cannot function without coffee in the morning. My roommates and I have a Keurig, and I just recently bought reusable K-Cups on Amazon to cut down on waste. A bonus: We'll save a bit of money buying grounds instead of single-use K-Cups and coffee filters.

Rent a Plot in a Community Garden

Christian Cotroneo, Social Media Editor

Mine is the sustainability hack that keeps on giving. I'm talking about a humble plot we rent in the community garden. It's a modest affair—kale, garlic, tomatoes (so many tomatoes!), squash, and one watermelon that tends to get pilfered every year. It's all good though—because often our little garden produces way more food than this family of three will ever need.

As far as sustainability goes, growing your own food kind of goes without saying. But there are so many other perks to joining a community garden. Namely, it's in the name: community. When we grow too much of one thing (like tomatoes) we leave them out for someone else to enjoy. Likewise, we often help ourselves to the bumper crops of our neighbors.

In the end, nothing goes to waste. Because even that sad, orphaned tomato that no one takes will ultimately find itself in the compost pile, leading the way for next year's bounty.

Community Garden shed with plants

Christian Cotroneo

Make Lifestyle Changes—Big or Small

Mary Jo DiLonardo, Senior Writer

The biggest sustainable move we’ve made was dropping down to just one car. That may not seem like a big deal to people who live near public transit or can walk places, but it’s a little harder in the Atlanta suburbs. I know this isn’t doable for many people, but because my husband and I both work from home, we are fortunate that we don’t have to commute. We try to combine our errands so we do a lot on each trip.

For smaller steps, I foster a lot of puppies and they help “repurpose” milk cartons and boxes as toys before they head into the recycling bin. That way we don’t keep buying an endless stream of toys that could end up in a landfill.

Invest in an Electric Cargo Bike

Katherine Martinko, Senior Editor

I am starting to sound like a broken record to my colleagues, friends, and family, but my electric cargo bike from Rad Power Bikes is the single greatest addition to my household in the past several years. I started riding in November 2020 and now find it difficult to imagine life without my beautiful bright orange e-bike.

The cargo-carrying capacity means that I don't have to plan in advance how to carry groceries, parcels, or kids because the basket and extra seat are already there. I can select the level of pedal assistance I want from the motor, which means I don't arrive at destinations all hot and sweaty. But if I want more of a workout, I can scale it back. Usually, I don't, though, because the bike functions as a car replacement for me.

People stop me wherever I go to ask about my bike. They're curious and eager to try it. When they ask my opinion, I tell them my only regret is not getting one sooner. It's a true joy to ride and I look forward to every outing, as do my kids, who love riding on the back.

loaded cargo e-bike
Electric cargo bike, loaded up with kids and skimboard for 5-mile trip to the beach.

K Martinko

Embrace Hugelkultur

Lindsey Reynolds, Content Quality & Visual Editor

I'm deep in spring house planting mode and have tons of big containers/planters to fill, but the cost of potting soil can really add up. I took inspiration from the permaculture practice of hugelkultur, which is basically building no-dig, raised garden beds out of old branches, leaves, and grass clippings.

I "harvested" some lawn debris from my backyard and neighbors, filled my big plant pots three-fourth full with branches, leaves, etc., and then topped it with potting soil. Tada! Saving money and upcycling yard leftovers that no one wants.