11 Easy Ways To Be Green While Living In A Big City

With climate change lapping at our heels it’s more important than ever that we green up our day-to-day lives and convert to sustainability. While living green might conjure images of the countryside, there are actually plenty of ways in which you can be eco-friendly while living in the big smoke.

Here are some small changes that go a long way.

#1 Get a reusable coffee cup

If you drink coffee then it goes without saying: get a bloody reusable cup.

Single use coffee cups are unbelievably wasteful: on average, 1 million disposable cups end up in landfill every minute, which doesn’t really justify the time it spends in your hands.

Reusable cups are also super stylish, and can be found for as little as $10 at your local supermarket.


#2 Invest in a reusable water bottle you actually like

In the same vein, reusable water bottles are a small but impactful way to make yourself more earth-loving.

Forking out some extra cash and getting a reusable water bottle you actually like will mean that you will use it and enjoy it.

#3 Get an indoor plant (or two, or three)

Having an indoor plant does absolute wonders for you and your home. They have the ability to clean air by taking in carbon dioxide and converting it to oxygen while decreasing air pollutants. They’re also proven to reduce levels of stress and improve sleep.

Their biggest benefit of all would have to be their contribution to your décor, with interiors that look more like jungles getting those double taps all over instagram.

#4 Tupperware

Tupperware is a surprising joy of adulthood you can’t resist against no matter how hard you try. It will start slowly, creeping into your cupboards, and in no time at all there will be colour specific matching sets on your Christmas list.

Beyond that, they reduce waste in packaging and encourage you to make use of leftovers. Basically they are hella good for the planet.

#5 Take a device-free walk in a park

Phones down, heads up, walking through green areas in your city can have amazing benefits to your mental health while connecting you to nature’s roots. As the Japanese call it, shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. Greening up your city life and relaxing your soul.

#6 Say no to straws

Straws are a huge slap in the face to our environment; humans use around 500 million plastics straws a day and most of those end up in our oceans or in landfill.

They are a little luxury you wont even miss when you stop using them. A great way to stop using the little buggers is change up your vodka lime and soda to a whiskey sour – putting a bit of a fancy cherry on top of saving the environment.

#7 Grow your own herbs

Growing your own herbs will give you a greener thumb while saving in the plastic packaging they come in when you buy them for Coles or Woolies. Having basil on your windowsill also makes you impressive AF.

If you really want to commit to this one, you could even claim a patch at a community garden and get your newly growing green thumb in some gardening gloves.

#8 Get on a bike

One of the best things you can do for the environment while living in a big city? Swap the car ride for a spin on a bike. This little initiative will save you an avocado brunch date in dollars per week while giving you your daily dose of exercise. Time to hit the shops for some lycra.

#9 Clean greener

A lot of household cleaners pollute our water and air, releasing harmful chemicals such as phosphorus, nitrogen and ammonia or having them washed into our waterway. Swapping up your domestic cleaners for eco brands (or even the failsafe vinegar and bicarb soda) is a simple and super effective way to green up your domestic city life.

#10 Avoid fast fashion

Fast fashion is a killer for the environment; buying cheap items you’ll only wear once is something we can all do without.

Instead, opt for sustainably made clothes. They’ll last a long time and you’ll wear them 10X more. This will save holes in your wallet in the long run, while not contributing to the ever-growing clothes piles in landfill.

#11 Swap some beef for some broccoli

The meat industry has many negative implications for our environment including being one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases, animal methane, effluent waste, water and land consumption, water pollution and a loss of bio diversity. Choosing the vegetarian option every now and again is a great avenue for positive effects on your body and the planet.

Big cities are perfect for vegetarian/vegans and there are places where sometimes these options are even better than the carnivore’s first choice. Mixing up your steak for a vegan ramen on the odd occasion makes everyone a winner.

Marnie is a Melbourne based freelance writer, spending most of her time in coffee shops or tending to her plant friends. Find her on Instagram @marnie.vinal.