20 Smart & Practical Eco-Friendly New Year’s Resolutions (that you can keep!)
I've never really been a fan of New Year's Resolutions, most likely because I always fail. I set myself up with these lofty goals that are usually so unattainable. So this year I decided instead of focusing on myself, I'd like to turn the focus to our planet and give you simple, practical things you can do at home that will save the planet.
Here are 20 Smart & Practical Eco-Friendly New Year's Resolutions (that you can keep!)
There are the obvious ones, eat less meat, reduce plastic use, carry a reusable cup, etc. No-brainers right? Well, there is so much more you can do, small things with BIG impact.
1. Do A Waste Audit
To see what you are throwing away each week. It's easy, over the next week instead of taking out the trash daily and throwing it in the garbage, collect it in one place, the garage is perfect. Are there any plastic disposables in there? If so, consider replacing it with a reusable alternative. Some examples are zero waste razors, produce bags, straws, plastic sandwich bags, etc. My Brand Directory has so many great alternatives for you to choose from.
2. Reduce Shower Time
Freshwater is going to be a topic we hear a lot about in the New year. We've already seen cities like Cape Town run out of water. This will become more commonplace. Conserving water is crucial, we cannot continue to mindlessly waste it. The simple act of reducing shower time by only 2 minutes will save big time. The average showers use about 8 litres of water per minute. It adds up quickly. You can also shower with a friend, LOL! You can also consider slowly transitioning to a zero-waste bathroom.
Find other ways to reduce water use at home, like installing a rain barrel.
3. Reduce Vampire Power
This eco friendly new year's resolution is such a no-brainer when you are not using your computer turn it off. Even in sleep mode, it's still drawing electricity from the grid. By turning it off at night you are saving 40 watts every day and reducing your electric bill by about 10%. If you take it one step further and invest in a smart power strip you will save even more.
And if you put all your devices, cell chargers, Ipads, laptops, small kitchen appliances etc. on the power strip, your savings will be huge. If you happen to be renovating your home, think about green choices you can make to ensure your home is more efficient.
4. Use Reusable Batteries
They are a great alternative to traditional batteries. According to a study done by the University of Illinois, roughly 3 billion batteries are thrown away every year compared to the 350 million rechargeable batteries that are sold. Investing in rechargeable batteries may have a higher upfront cost, but the investment is more sustainable. Rechargeable batteries can save you money and reduce pollution in the environment!
5. Donate Your Stuff
Donate anything you don't want or need anymore. Spend an hour on the weekend going through kitchen cabinets, furnace rooms, and your wardrobe, and look for items you can donate. You'd be surprised how much stuff you have to give. You just want to make sure you get rid of your jeans, shoes, socks, and pillows properly.
Mari Kondo made decluttering a thing, but are you doing it sustainably?
You can take decluttering one step further by reducing your impact by shopping less or shopping at secondhand or thrift stores. Thanks to COVID though donating has become more of a challenge.
Giving is something we can all do more of and I don't stuff, I mean "time". We tend to think about this more around the holidays but why not do it all year round? Do you have expertise that an organization could benefit from? Can you donate 1-2 hours a week to help?
7. Stop Using Paper Towels
13 billion pounds of paper towels used each year or 45 pounds per person. If we cut out just one roll of paper towel each day we would save 570 million pounds of paper a year. Use dishcloths, old t-shirts, old socks, or cloth napkins instead. Try Unpaper Towel, it's honestly the best!
The same goes for your toilet paper? Do you know how sustainable your toiler paper is? Have you made the switch to eco-friendly toilet paper yet?
Have you tried to cut out paper towels? In 85 tips for living more sustainably, I break this down into easily actionable steps you can take to reduce waste.
8. Wash Your Clothes, Less
Fashion Revolution takes an in-depth look at how we need to change the way we care for our clothes. Noting that:
25% of the carbon footprint of a garment comes from the way we care for it. On top of that, 90% of our clothing is thrown away long before it needs to be, due to our culture of ‘fast fashion’ and outdated laundry habits. It’s time for a change.
Your jeans can be worn ten times before needing to be washed. And consider drying your clothes on a line, it's much more eco-friendly and can be done no matter where you live. It's best practice to use eco-friendly laundry detergents and you can take it one step further by using refillable cleaning products in your home.
9. Start a New Tradition
Cook and share a homemade meal together with others. We all have hectic schedules, so it’s important to set aside some time to prepare our meals and spend time with loved ones! Invite friends and family to get involved and cook a healthful meal from scratch every week. Get adventurous: try out new recipes, learn new food skills, and build a community this year. And make sure you are using non-toxic eco-friendly cookware.
Or maybe try growing your own food, you don't have to have a huge garden to do that.
10. Green Your Eggs
“Currently, an estimated 95% of eggs produced in Canada and the U.S. come from hens confined to battery cages where their movement is severely restricted and they are denied their most fundamental behavioral needs such as wing-flapping, foraging, dust bathing, perching, and nesting.” This Egg Buying Guide we published last year will help.
11. Speak up
Ask Your favorite grocer or local market if you can bring your own containers? I have found in the past that chatting with store owners or managers really helps to start a conversation about what you'd like to see more of in the shop you frequent. Always be polite, but don't be afraid to ask for what you need. You'd be surprised at home many shop owners are willing to at least talk about it. I've got lots of tips on how to live a more zero waste. And have you checked out our provincial zero waste guides?
12. Put Social Media To Good Use
I have a love-hate relationship with social media. It's great for seeking out like-minded people and companies but it also plays on our insecurities and makes many of us feel inadequate as we try to keep up with the Joneses. Everyone is on the prowl for inspiration and guidance, so show them that you care about nature and share messages on how people can help! Do you go birdwatching? Do you embark on wild adventures? Upload your photos to Instagram and show the world how nature matters to you!
13. Cut Down On Your Vehicles Emission
Keep the car in good working order. Do regular maintenance, and keep tire pressure at proper levels. Don’t let your car idle for more than a few minutes. This contributes to emissions and gives you zero miles per gallon fuel efficiency. I drove an electric Smart Car for years and LOVED it! And maybe, consider an electric car!
14. Volunteer & Be Informed
Revolutions in renewable energy, important decisions in environmental policy, and climate change research illustrate there is a lot going on in the environment sector, and it is important to stay informed. Sign up for newsletters that will help you. Some of my favorites: Green Matters, Alternatives Journal, Eco Watch, David Suzuki Foundation, and Environmental Defense.
I love good books too. There are so many to choose from. And these are some of the best zero waste documentaries!
It's also really important to understand:
- What is Zero Waste Living?
- What Is Clean Beauty?
- What is Sustainable Living?
- What Can be Composted at home?
- What Does It Mean to Go Green?
15. Donate To Groups You Love
Donate to groups and organizations that are on the front line of the climate change fight! My good friend Alden Wicker from EcoCult has a great post on this. This is probably one of my favorite eco friendly new year's resolution
16. Get Outside More
Spending 30 minutes a day in nature can reduce stress monumentally. Commit to it. It will give you such an appreciation of nature. David Suzuki's One Nature Challenge is a great place to start. Did you know that spending time outdoors even helps you to sleep better?
17. Learn To Sew A Button
I have so many buttons for things I don't even own anymore and have been guilty of tossing a shirt thanks to a missing button. I resolve to change this in 2021.
Find online tutorials and learn to make basic clothing repairs. Textiles account for up to 5 to 7 percent of waste destined for disposal, mending holes or replacing zippers can reduce that number. Try to find creative ways to turn an old t-shirt into something new and fresh.
18. Green Your Period
Ditch disposable sanitary towels and tampons, and instead reach for a menstrual cup or cloth pads that can be washed and reused time and time again. Making the switch to reusable pads takes time, follow this comprehensive guide on how to do it right!
19. Buy Nothing
Try it for as long as you can. A week, a month, a year. Except for food obviously.
For the future you want.
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