Sustainable living



Avoid impulse shopping and use what you have or opt to borrow before buying new.

Resources: Zero Waste Waterloo RegionKW Library of Things



Avoid disposables or single-use products and look for items with sustainable sourcing or recycled content.

Resources: Eco-Label IndexBring-Your- Own-Container Directory WRFull Circle FoodsZero Waste BulkZerocery



Bring your own containers, bags, mugs and bottles, shop secondhand, repair items before discarding or replacing, and donate items in good condition.

Resources: Buy Nothing KWWaterloo Region ReStore4RepairKW



Minimize food waste, compost all organic material, choose natural or biodegradable products, and donate or share extra food. 

Resources: ShareWasteCommunity Fridge KW



Stay updated on recycling rules in your area so you don’t contaminate your recycling bin.

Resources: A-Z Sorting GuideRegion of Waterloo Waste WhizStaples Tech Recycling


  • Use natural or homemade cleaners such as vinegar, baking soda, and citrus fruits. This will reduce the amount of packaging materials as well as the amount of chemicals thrown into the water system
  • Use cloth instead of paper to clean your kitchen by repurposing old towels, t-shirts and cutting them into small cleaning clothes

Home temperature

  • Use ceiling fans or standalone fans instead of keeping the AC on high.
  • Ceiling fans can also be reversed in Winter months to increase efficiencies and allow for
    better heat distribution


  • Switch all lightbulbs to high efficiency LEDs or CFL bulbs
  • Turn off lights when not in the room and put light switches on dimmers
  • Use natural light as much as possible by opening curtains and blinds during the day


  • If you have a pet consider composting their waste instead of throwing it in the garbage. All pet waste and bedding can be composted but must be properly bagged in a certified compostable bag
  • Dog waste can be picked up using newspaper, compostable bags or paper bags and then put in a lined green bin


  • Donate to and shop at goodwill or thrift stores. Purchase second-hand through kijiji, facebook market place, freecycle or other online outlets before buying new items
  • If you have kids, consider buying their clothes second hand through consignment stores or parents getting rid of used clothing, toys and other items
  • Support your local economy and shop at your local farmers market - don’t forget to bring your own bags!


  • Unplug electronics and small appliances when you are not using them
  • When replacing appliances look for energy efficient models and use rechargeable batteries instead of disposables
  • Use “sticky notes” or other note accessories on your computer/phone as a to-do list
    rather than writing things down on physical sticky notes
  • Make grocery lists on your phone instead of writing them down on paper


  • Do only full loads of laundry and hang to dry when possible
  • Wash and dry laundry during “off periods” such as nights and weekends
  • Use a cold water cycle for your wash
  • Consider switching dryer sheets to reusable dryer balls
  • Use natural detergents that do not pollute our waterways


  • Stop unwanted mail to save on paper and fuel in delivering them. For necessary mail, request the mailers to send online versions instead
  • Switch to online banking and credit card statements and have bills sent electronically and use direct payments instead of mailing cheques


  • Consider saving documents in an organized manner instead of printing things off. Review the document retention policy for your particular role and question whether documents really need to be printed or if a saved soft copy is sufficient
  • Scanning and saving documents on your computer is a much better sustainable habit than making copies to file away


  • Consider using solar lights in outdoor spaces
  • If you have a pool consider using a solar pool cover to help warm your pool
  • Use solar holiday lights around your home during the holidays

10 DIY ideas for those interested in some extra sustainability fun