Seventeen Ideas for Environmentally Friendly Living

Environmentally friendly living not only helps the planet (giving a lighter ecological footprint) but also provide you healthy, simple and more economical lifestyle. Just a few small changes in your day to day life will be helpful in addressing some of the global issues such as global warming and also local issues such as solid waste disposal, energy crisis, land degradation and water scarcity.

Compiled by Department of Forestry and Environment Science,
University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
Released on World Environment Day 2007 (5 June 2007)
These ideas were launched on 5 June 2007 to School children and general public at Univesity of Sri Jayewardenepura. 


Idea you can implement NOW:

  • 1. Environmentally responsible living at Home
    Anyone can start environmentally friendly living by doing simple things at home such as switching off unnecessary lights and appliances, repair broken taps, saving water by turning off the tap while brushing your teeth etc.

Ideas for Reducing Garbage

    • 2. Think before you buy (Do not purchase unnecessary things)
      Reducing the amount we consume is the first step in reducing waste.
    • 3. Use of Reusable goods such as reusable bags –
      Find constructive uses for “waste” materials. You can make a fashion statement and design your own shopping bag. A small investment saving rupees and environment in the long term.
    • 4. Use a compost bin to recycle kitchen waste –
      Recycling will reduce the amount of garbage you dispose as a municipal waste.

About 85% of what we throw out from households are easily biodegradable waste which will provide us a fertilizer for our gardens at no cost passively. A compost bin takes up maximum 1 sq m from your garden space. These are available in plastic, concrete or metal in many sizes and to suit your budget.

  • By following “reduce, reuse, recycle” in that order of importance will reduce the waste you generate.
  • 5. Green living in the digital age –
    Use both sides of papers in printing/ photocopying, In printing documents, print only the portion that is essential after editing. Replace e-mail for normal mail wherever possible. Going digital saves time, paper, storing space and so much more easy to access past records and it is trendy !!.
  • 6. Buy local products (Consume Sri Lankan products) –
    This will reduce the foreign exchange, promote local industries and also this will reduce the emissions involve in transport.
  • 7. Bring lunch in lunch boxes –
    A very small investment for a lunch box is economical, healthier in the long run and reducing the use of non degradable lunch sheets.
  • 8. Give only Eco-friendly gifts –
    Make sure the gift you give will get used. Avoid unnecessary packaging and give green gifts: consumable gifts such as fruits, local gifts, CFL bulbs and rechargeable batteries.


Ideas for Energy Saving

  • 9. Use CFL bulbs –
    Compact fluorescent, spiral light bulbs are 75% more efficient than standard light bulbs
  • 10. Use Solar Power –
    Now easy to use solar panels are available for lighting, and also solar chargers are available for for electronic appliances.
  • 11. Energy saving on the road –
    Walking, cycling, using a car pool, fuel efficient cars, keeping the car well maintained, driving at a lower speed or taking public transport, all produce fewer emissions.
  • 12. Green buildings –
    Improve natural daylight, ventilation in workspace, home environment. Offices that are designed for air-conditioning create a sick environment since often these are not maintained. It is very much more economical, healthy and sensible to consider designs to optimize the use of natural lighting and ventilation.
  • 13. Switch off electrical appliances rather than keep them on the standby mode-
    Computers, monitors, printers, photocopy machines, televisions, VCRs, DVD players, and microwave ovens should be properly switched off to save energy.

Ideas for Reducing Land degradation

  • 14. Conserve soil –
    Do not expose soil in land development.
  • 15. Plant a tree –
    Trees absorb CO2 which will reduce global warming and it provides other benefits such as shelter, conservation of soil, retaining water, supply food, wood and fuelwood.

Ideas for Saving Water

  • 16. Harvest rain water –
    Put a barrel on your downspouts and use this water for watering plants, washing etc.
  • 17. Save water in the garden –
    Retain rain water in the garden by facilitating infiltration and reducing the surface flow. If you have to water the garden, do it during the coolest part of the day or at night to minimize evaporation.