This past year has been my strongest year in terms of changing some of my own lifestyle habits to live a more sustainable life. I’m really proud of the changes I’ve made and how much I’ve educated myself. When it comes to the environment and living more sustainably, it can feel very overwhelming. When you start small, things really snowball and it becomes more and more easy to make more changes in life. This year I want to do more and make some eco conscious new years resolutions for myself.
These are things I did this past year that I’ll continue in the new year:
- Buy staple items in bulk with no packaging.Buying in bulk reduces the amount of packaging and waste. It’s even better if you can take your own bags or containers to a store and purchase products so there’s zero packaging. I am fortunate to have a BulkNation store near me and I go there to fill up on staples such as flour, rice, sugar, honey and more.
- Buy carbon offsets for all of my flights. I came across this option when traveling this past year. At an airport when logging into the wifi, there was an option to purchase carbon offset credits. By purchasing these credits they offset your carbon emissions from your plane ride. It’s pretty cheap and the cost can range based on the distance you travel. Domestically a roundtrip flight is $4. BlueSkyModel can help estimate the amount of carbon emissions based on the distance you’ve traveled. There are a number of sites that you can purchase carbon offsets from one. Gold Standard is a good option because you can choose the projects you’d like to apply your carbon offsets to. It’s a small step, but again, as you begin to do more and more, it truly helps.
- Refill household products such as hand and dish soap at a refill station (no single use plastic bottles). I was so happy to see one of my favorite local stores and coffee shop begin to carry a refill station for hand soap, dish soap, laundry detergent and all purpose cleaner. I go there to refill these items. If you don’t have a store near you that has a refill station, you could use bar soap for dish and hand washing and could switch to an eco friendly detergent.
- Bring reusable bags and say no to plastic bags. Overall this is pretty easy for me to maintain. Anytime I go to the store I bring my own bags and sometimes I leave them in my car so I can have some handy. If I don’t have a bag with me and I run in to the store for a few items, I always carry them out or throw them in my tote without grabbing a plastic bag.
- Purchase bamboo and recycled toilet paper (Who Gives A Crap). I made this switch midway through the year. Who Gives A Crap is only an additional few pennies per roll compared to those from the store but it’s worth it in my opinion. Their TP is wrapped in paper and it comes in a cardboard box. Not only is bamboo more eco-friendly, but there’s no plastic packaging which I love.
- Use cloth napkins and dish rags. I bought cloth napkins from The Little Market. Using them allow me to cut down on paper towel waste. I use dish rags for cleaning, drying my hands and even drying fruits and veggies. They’re versatile and again, they help cut down on single-use waste.
- Refuse plastic straws at restaurants. This year I started to tell servers not to give me a plastic straw. I tell them as I order my drink to ensure they don’t put it in beforehand. I’m also happy to see coffee chains vowing to eliminate straws.
- Switch to bamboo tooth brushes. I started using bamboo tooth brushes. You can find the on Amazon and through other sites very easily. It’s a small and easy change to make.
- Buy from more sustainable and ethical clothing brands. I started to buy from more sustainable and ethical clothing brands. I’ve spent a lot of time researching brands and I’m so happy to see more online stores that maintain sustainable and ethical practices. It’s been a pleasant surprise to find such stylish and affordable online stores. I shared my ethical fall capsule wardrobe here.
- Grow herbs for cooking.We have an herb garden on our balcony and not only has it cut down on costs but it’s also helped cut down on plastic packaging. It’s so nice to have fresh herbs on hand for cooking and we’re fortunate to live in a climate where most herbs can grow year round.
These are my eco conscious new years resolutions for this year:
- Buy in bulk (even more)! I can do a better job of buying more products in bulk and making sure I’m staying on top of this goal.
- Bring reusable water bottles and coffee cups everywhere I go. I did a good job of it this year but I didn’t have reusable cups with me all the time. This year I want to ensure I have reusable cups on me all the time.
- Use only natural cleaning products. Natural cleaning products are better for you as cleaning products can be absorbed in to your skin and the air you breath. They are also better for the environment as they reduce pollution to the air and waterways.
- Eat less meat and seafood. I tried to consciously think about my meat and seafood consumption but I know I can do way better. It’s not so much a problem when cooking at home and more so when I go out to eat. I’d like to eat more vegetarian and vegan food when I go out and less meat and seafood. Agriculture is 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions (World Resource Institute).
- Donate or recycle all old clothing and fabrics. I volunteered at a secondhand store once and during my time I sorted through donated clothing. To no surprise, there were tons of items that were stained, torn or too old that had to be tossed. These all were going to the landfill. You can only donate items to charity that are good enough for someone else to rewear. All other items must be recycled. There are lots of donation bins out there and with a quick Google search, you should be able to find one. Some bins accept stained and torn items. Recycling clothing and fabrics keeps them out of a landfill.
- Outreach to brands I like and encourage them to only carry sustainable fabrics and encourage them to practice sustainable and ethical production and distribution. There are a number of stores I love that I would like to stop shopping from as they do not have sustainable or ethical practices. Consumers can create change and not only will I stop shopping from these stores, I’d also like to write to them and explain why as I hope to help create change.
- Contact governmental officials about environmental issues and be more politically active for the environment. It was inspiring to see the activism this past year. I am so happy to see the younger generations speaking up and taking action. I’d like to outreach to officials this year and become more active.
- Use eco-friendly bags when washing clothing to prevent microfiber pollution. Recently I learned about microfibers that cause pollution when washing clothing. The tiny fibers from synthetic clothing contribute micro plastic waste. As a result of using special bags that are intended for clothing washing, you can eliminate microfiber pollution.
- Compost. I’ve tried this before and admittedly failed while at a previous apartment. It’s hard to compost at an apartment, but it’s not impossible. There are vessels you can buy that allow you to compost. Natural waste in landfills create methane greenhouse gas. By composting, you eliminate landfill waste and create nitrogen-rich soil which is very important for plants. You can use the soil generated from your compost for to feed your plants.
- Reduce the purchase of products with palm oil. Palm oil contributes to deforestation at a devastating rate. Palm oil is in processed foods and even clothing and cosmetics! Deforestation releases lots of C02 and palm oil plantations contribute to the rise in global temperatures and it threatens rainforest animals whose habitats are destroyed. The solution isn’t to completely eliminate the consumption of palm oil. Indonesia and Malaysia are the largest producers of it (Statista). Many people around the world depend on it for their livelihood and completely eliminating it would devastate their source of income. There needs to be a larger global change from the world.
I’d love to hear from you, what are your own eco conscious new years resolutions?