The Wellness Feed has rounded up 17 of our favorite books for learning how to be sustainable. Shop this list and others through our partnership with Bookshop.org (A Climate Neutral Certified B Corp Company). And, head to @The_WellnessFeed to be entered to win a $25 gift card.
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What are you reading this summer? An eye-opening book you can’t put down? A roundup of tips and guides that will change your life forever? We’ve got you. We’re sharing the books we’ve read, loved, and are on our ‘do read’ lists for learning how to live sustainably. From recycling better to designing a green home, each book offers insightful guides about making better choices every day that will benefit the environment. Click below for your next summer read.
What Does Sustainable Mean?
What does it mean to be sustainable? These groups of books break down the term associated with sustainability- eco, environmental, CO2 sequestering, and more to help you understand how companies and consumers are preserving our environment for the long run.
Best For: Breaking down sustainable terms in a fun way.
Author Dominica James explains the world of sustainability and having fun doing it. Terms like biodiversity, sustainability, and conservation are broken down and explained: “without sounding like a dense academic tome, to allow you the benefits of eating healthily and living a simple life.”
Best For: Answering questions about how cities and companies can be sustainable.
Penned by Jeff Kavanaugh, the Vice President and Head of the Infosys Knowledge Institute, this book focuses on the steps companies can take to assess their supply chain and use technology to improve their impact on the environment.
How do you shop for slow fashion items? How can you repair an item or make it last longer? What is the fashion industry doing to become more sustainable? Find the answer to these questions and tips to shop, style, and repair sustainably.
Best For: Understanding the sustainable fashion industry.
What is the fashion industry doing to be more sustainable? Alison Gwilt is an Associate Professor in Design at the University of New South Wales who shares how the industry is cleaning up its act to reduce its wasteful consumption and pollution of our planet’s limited resources. She also offers examples and highlights a localized view of fashion’s impact.
Best For: Learning how to not follow trends.
The most sustainable wardrobe is the one that you already have. When you have to buy something new, Francesca Belluomini shares how to shop mindfully, choose styles that will last, and pieces that will flatter what is already in your closet.
Best For: Advice for sewing and repairing.
Author Sophie Benson shares practical tips to make your clothes last longer- from shopping to repairing. In this book, you’ll learn what materials and finishes to look for when shopping for clothing that will last for multiple seasons. And she shares how to care for and dispose of them once you’ve completely worn them out.
Clean Beauty & Other Products
From the 8 million tons of single-use plastic packaging waste that makes it to landfills yearly to the toxic chemicals that linger on our skin, water supply, and soil, there are a lot of reasons to shop for clean beauty products. Learn how to create beauty products from your kitchen and what to look for when shopping for products that cause the least amount of harm to our planet and our bodies.
Best For: Shopping for sustainable beauty products.
Makeup artist Justine Jenkins raises awareness about cruelty-free and organic beauty products with her book. Inside you’ll read tips on what to look for when reading ingredients in your favorite beauty products to avoid harmful chemicals and guides to create a minimal makeup drawer.
Best For: Natural cleaning recipes.
Do you know that common household items like vinegar, lemon, and some essential oils have antibacterial and antifungal properties? Karen S. Walker share how to clean your home with solutions that are free from the toxins and harmful chemicals found in conventional cleaning products.
Best For: DIY skin and haircare recipes.
Ruchita Acharya, the mind behind Glow & Green, details recipes for soaps, hair masks, and facial serums that will give you a beautiful glow. Each of her 75-plant-based recipes also features ingredients, that while they might not be pantry standards, can be used throughout your skin and haircare treatments.
Green House & Home
Cheap furniture is as much of a problem as the fast fashion industry when it comes to environmental concerns and exploitative labor. It’s also incredibly wasteful. An estimated 12 million tons of furniture and home decor items tossed into landfills yearly. These books detail tips to shop for long-lasting furniture and explain how to update your style sustainably.
Best For: Everyday DIY practices for a greener home.
Penned by the minds behind the GreenMatters website, this book breaks down how to recycle shampoo bottles, old sheets, and more items in your home. You’ll also find a lot of DIY up-cycling crafts. And, if you’re a fast shopper, read this for tips to shop less, buy better, and minimize what you send to the landfill.
Best For: Sustainable tips that feel effortless.
Gittemarie Johansen shares how to minimize consumption, organize your home, and waste less with her empowering tips. For those new to sustainable lifestyles, the sustainability blogger and speaker also details how our current lifestyles impact the planet and how small changes like composting can make a difference.
Best For: Designing and decorating your home.
Interior designers Atlanta Bartlett and Dave Coote share practical tips for using reclaimed materials, working with existing fabrics, and choosing design details that are both high quality (built to last) and visually appealing. For those looking for answers to decorating and design without relying on fast furniture giants like Ikea, this book will help you to create a space that is easy on the eyes.
Did you know that landscapes (the suburban green lawns and rose bushes) account for 30% of annual residential water usage? By some estimates, that’s 9 billion gallons of water daily. One way we can learn to reserve water is by planting native plants better acclimated to our environment’s weather conditions. Even at home, there are tips and tricks you can do to reduce waste, avoid pesticide use and nurture your soil with nutrients straight from your kitchen.
Best For: Those who want to move from fast to slow living.
Penned by homesteader Mary E. Kingsley, this guide breaks down the impact of fast culture and explains how to shift from fast to slow. Expect gardening, DIY, and slow fashion tips and the author’s stories about changing your relationship with the planet to live mindfully.
Best For: Composting and creating healthy soil.
What do you do with food scraps? Turn your kitchen waste into nutrients for your soil. While this book doesn’t focus on gardening per se, Michelle Balz does talk about turning your kitchen scraps into compost. Did you know that you can use compost to fuel your plant growth?
Best For: Gardening indoors and outside.
Shawana Coronado’s second book in her No-Waste Gardening series guides you toward growing an organic garden. You’ll learn what to look for when choosing soil and fertilizers, hacks for upcycling everyday household items that might otherwise become landfill waste, how to control pests naturally, and gardening tips that add value to anyone interested in caring for plants.
Recycling & Zero Waste
Learn to recycle better. These books share how to avoid single-use plastic packaging, compost, and more tips from the people who have been there and done it.
Best For: Easy tips to reduce waste everyday.
Kathryn Kellogg went viral with her Ted X talk by sharing with the audience how she managed to put all her waste from two years into a 16-ounce mason jar. The author continues to share her zero-waste methods along with calming anecdotes. “It’s not about perfection. It’s about making better choices.”
Best For: Empowering children about recycling.
Granted, this book is for children. But, this cute guide from Dr. Jess French, presenter for the children’s TV series Minibeast Adventure with Jess on CBeebies, is a great guide to show what happens to our trash and how we can change our lifestyles, advocate, and volunteer to protect our natural habitats.
Best For: Learning to live a zero-waste lifestyle from a family that did it.
Eve O. Schaub shares how she and her family lived a year without creating waste. More of a memoir than a strict guide, Eve shares the ups and downs of forgoing the standard consumerist model for a journey towards zero waste. It’s an honest account of the difficulties of adopting a zero-waste lifestyle while sharing how you can achieve it.