50 ways to be kind to the planet

Learn how to be kinder to the planet with these 50 ideas for being more eco-friendly every day.


1. Cycle to work

According to new research from Oxford University, choosing to cycle rather than drive just one journey per day could reduce your carbon emissions by an incredible 67%. According to researchers, that means even if you can’t swap all your car trips for bike rides, just doing it occasionally will still reap huge benefits for the planet.


2. Walk more

Just as cycling significantly reduces carbon emissions, choosing to walk shorter journeys instead of driving will be better for the planet too, while also helping to improve your physical fitness and mental wellbeing. Put on your sneakers and up the pace to a jog for a bigger hit of those feel-good endorphins.


3. Embrace the carpool

If your daily commute is a bit too long to walk or cycle, why not try sharing the car ride with a colleague, or join a carpool scheme? Fewer cars on the road each day will mean less air and noise pollution (recent research found it could actually save over 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 a year), while you may even get to nurture some new connections at the same time.


4.Work from home

Not only can working from home offer you more flexibility when it comes to work-life balance, swapping the main office for your home office just one day a week will also help to slash road traffic. According to research, it could save over 379kg of CO2 emissions a year, which is the equivalent of a flight from London to Istanbul.


5. Reuse and repurpose

Empty plastic pots? Though one of the major downsides of plastic is that it takes so long to degrade, this durability does mean that giving empties a second life is easily done. The same goes for glass jars. Clean them out and reuse as storage containers for leftovers, ingredients and snacks, or try growing some kitchen herbs in them.



6. Go meat-free

A 2018 study found that choosing to cut meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce your individual carbon footprint by 73%. Whether you’re starting with meat-free Mondays or want some fresh vegetarian and vegan meal ideas, you’ll find lots of inspiration in our recipe section.


7. Refill your products

While we all love decorative jars and bottles in the bathroom, product packaging can add to unnecessary plastic waste, so look for handy refill options where available. They’ll have been made using less water, energy and CO2 emissions, and often come with savings for your pocket, too. Discover our eco-friendly product refill options.


8. Buy recycled

An easy way to buy greener products is to look for those that use recycled materials in their packaging. At Rituals, we introduced recycled PET plastic for our body creams, body scrubs, bath foams, shower oils and fragrance sprays in 2020. Our aim is to further increase the share of recycled materials we use, and to hit our goal of zero-waste packaging by 2025.


9. Bring your own bag

While some stores may offer paper alternatives to plastic bags, which are more easily recycled and have a lower carbon footprint, the most environmentally friendly approach is to bring your own reusable bag. A top tip: keep a canvas tote folded up inside your handbag so you never need to worry about forgetting it.


10. Shop for good

Use your spending power to support initiatives that are doing good around the world and make production more sustainable. Try our Goodie Bag made in collaboration with the Tiny Miracles Foundation, which supports women in the slums of Mumbai to build a better future.


11. Recycle at home

Make recycling easy for everyone in your household by setting up a clear system, and making your recycling bins easy to access. Also, don’t forget the bathroom - it’s a hotspot for plastic empties that are often tossed in the main trash.


12. Sustainable ingredients

Just as food produce needs to be grown and farmed sustainably to be kinder to the planet, so too do the ingredients used in the beauty products we love. Look for brands that are committed to sourcing their ingredients responsibly and ethically.


13. Eco-friendly beauty formulas

Using gentle ingredients in our beauty formulas isn’t just about being kinder to skin - although that is super important. It also means that they’re kinder to the environment once rinsed down the sink. Avoid formulas that use microplastics or microbeads which can build up in oceans, and opt for natural alternatives instead like sea salt, bamboo, sugar and pumice.


14. Try reusable face cloths

Single-use cotton pads and wipes quickly add up, so try swapping to soft muslin cloths or reusable cotton rounds that can be washed and reused again and again.


15. Safe suncare

Sunscreens containing the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate can be harmful to coral reefs and marine life. So, if you’re planning to take a dip in the ocean, switch to sun care which meets new Hawaiian ‘reef safe sunscreen’ regulations.

16. Save water while your brush

Ever leave the water running while you brush your teeth? Simply turning it off between rinses could save 12 litres of water each time you brush


17. Shorten your shower time

Taking even just a few minutes off your daily shower time could save a few gallons of water per day. Investing in a water-efficient showerhead is also an easy way to reduce how much water flows through your shower per minute.


18. Buy pre-loved

While there are some items that are best bought unused, many others from books and bicycles to furniture and clothing can be a huge saving, to both your bank balance and the environment, if you consider cared-for second-hand options.


19. Donate when you’re done

If you’re clearing out your wardrobe or updating furniture, donate your unwanted items to charity shops, vintage sellers or advertise them on local marketplaces. If they’re in good condition, they may be just what someone else is looking for.


20. Switch to reusable water bottles

We all know the benefits of drinking water, but single-use bottles are a huge contributor to plastic waste. Cut down your consumption immediately by investing in a reusable bottle, and topping up with tap or filtered water.


21. Keep your coffee cup

Just like plastic bottles, avoiding disposable coffee cups is an easy way to make an immediate impact on reducing waste. Keep a reusable coffee cup in your work bag, so you can enjoy a warm pick-me-up on the go. Often, they’ll keep your cuppa piping hot for longer.


22. Skip the cutlery

Ordering take-out? Opt-out of the disposable cutlery and use your own at home. If you regularly eat on the go, consider investing in a reusable set of cutlery that you can easily carry with you and wash after using.


23. Count your napkins

It may sound a little picky to monitor how many napkins we each use, but it’s so often the case that customers take more than they need, only to throw them away unused.


24. Create a compost pile

Great for giving your plants a nutrient boost, composting is an easy way to cycle food and other biodegradable waste (such as tea bags and cardboard egg cartons) back into nature. Start with a small compost bin if you want to keep it hidden, or go freestyle outdoors with a classic heap.


25. Get creative with leftovers

The more food that ends up in landfill, the more methane gas is released as it decomposes. So get creative in the kitchen with any leftovers. One-pots, stews and casseroles are a tasty way to use up a mix-match of ingredients, while soups are a great way to use up any veggies that are going a little soft.


26. Track your trash

Feel like your trash cans are getting full a little too quickly? Keep track of everything you toss in the trash for a week, from food that’s gone bad to single-use packaging. You’ll soon spot patterns and areas where you can curb the waste.


27. Plan your meals

An easy way to avoid food waste is to plan your meals for the week ahead, and only buy the items and ingredients you know you’ll need and use. Want some fresh ideas? Try these delicious lunch and dinner recipes.


28. Avoid next-day delivery

If you’re shopping online make the transaction a little greener by avoiding rushed or next-day shipping. You can also try to group several items (if you’ll need them) in one order to avoid multiple deliveries, or support companies who use sustainable packaging.


29. Switch off the lights

Don’t forget to turn off lights and lamps when you leave a room, especially if you’re rushing out of the house for the day.


30. Energy-efficient bulbs

Switching to energy-efficient lightbulbs is a simple way to reduce the amount of electricity you use. They’re kind to the environment and your monthly bills. Extra points if you opt for a green energy supplier too.

31. Enjoy the candlelight

An even better way to reduce your lighting use? Hit the switch come evening and enjoy the cosy ambience of beautiful candles instead.


32. Ditch disposable lighters

Disposable lighters are generally made from plastic, and so once used tend to end up in landfill. Although matches are made from trees, they’re biodegradable and can be added to compost heaps.


33. Turn off appliances

Don’t forget that leaving appliances like your TV on standby uses up energy too. The same goes for leaving your laptop in sleep or hibernation mode overnight. Turn off, shut down and unplug to save unnecessary power use.


34. Green-up your laundry

Laundering clothes can be heavy on the environment, so reduce your impact by switching to eco-friendly detergents, washing at a lower temperature which uses up less power, and waiting until you have a full load to reduce the number of cycles you run each week.


35. Air dry clothes

Another way to save on power is to swap tumble drying clothes for a washing line outdoors, or a drying rack if you can’t hang a line. It’s also a great way to air any garments that just need a little freshen up rather than a full wash.


36. Learn to sew

Give your garments extra longevity by learning the mending basics. From sewing on a button to fixing a seam, you’ll be able to enjoy the items you love for longer.


37. Research sustainable fabrics

Support brands using sustainably sourced fabrics such as the Better Cotton, TENCEL™ Lyocell and recycled polyester that you’ll find in our Soulwear collection.


38. Time your heating

Timing your heating or air conditioning appliances to run at key times is a clever way to ensure you get the benefits when you need them, without wasting energy while you’re not at home.


39. Fill up your notebooks

While going paper-free is the ultimate way to reduce paper waste, making sure you fill up all the sheets in a notebook, rather than starting a fresh page each time you jot something down, is a good way to try and reduce how many pads you go through.


40. Plant a tree

Help to create more clean air by planting trees and shrubs. They’ll absorb CO2, release more oxygen and are great for the soil in your garden. Take it a step further by organising a community event to plant more trees and shrubs throughout your local area.

41. Help the bees

Bees are powerful pollinators and help to support the growth of flowers, trees and other plants which, in turn, are sources of food and shelter for lots of other wildlife. Many farming crops rely on bees too. So if you’re planting this spring look to bee-friendly blooms like lavender, catmint, foxgloves and honeysuckle.


42. Grow your own

Flex your green fingers by growing some of your own food. Herbs are an easy place to start and can even be nurtured on windowsills, while root veggies are a tasty project if you have a nice garden patch.


43. Skip the hose

Watering the garden? Fill up a watering can and focus on specific areas instead of reaching straight for the hose pipe. This way, you’ll only use what you need. It’s also a good idea to water soil before the sun comes up, so less will be lost to evaporation.


44. Shop local produce

Not quite ready to grow your own? Shop locally instead. Food that’s grown nearby will have a much lower footprint than items that have been transported larger distances. The same goes for fresh flowers.


45. Recycle your tech

According to the United Nations, a record 53.6 million metric tonnes of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019. Upgrading your phone or laptop? Research your local recycling options. Many tech companies, including Apple, Microsoft and Samsung, also accept their own products for recycling.


46. Use e-tickets

Whether you’re catching the train or going to the cinema, save paper by opting for electronic tickets you can scan from your phone.


47. Get your bills online

Still getting paper bills each month? Opt to go paper-free and get them delivered straight to your inbox instead. Less paper, less clutter and easier to find when you need to check them again.


48. Cancel paper bank statements

Switching to online bank statements not only saves paper, but also means you’ll never lose an important bank letter again. If you need to file a tax return, you’ll also be able to easily access and download your statements in a flash.


49. Join a cleanup crew

From joining an organised beach cleanup to rounding up a few of your friends and family for a litter picking walk, there’s plenty you can do in your local area. It’s also a great way to show children how small actions can have a big impact.


50. Share the knowledge

Education is key to protecting the environment, and the better we work together as a global community the more progress we’ll be able to make in reducing the effects of climate change. So, share this page and pass on the knowledge.


Amy Lewis

Amy Lewis

Amy Lewis is a UK beauty editor with over 12 years of experience writing for websites and magazines including Marie Claire, Stylist, Who What Wear and Byrdie. She has a keen interest in all things skincare, wellness and travel, and counts an indulgent bath among her favourite pastimes.