Top 10 Tips to Make The Biggest Environmental Impact
New beginnings in time, such as a new year, a new month, a new week, always feel like logical times to make changes, to initiate the start of good habits. While you consider resolutions for the beginning of this year, in tandem with getting in shape, organizing your home, and learning a new talent, also consider opting for a more eco-friendly new year
The benefits of doing so are multifold:
- Eco-habits benefit your health.
- Several eco-friendly habits are great for saving money.
- And of course eco-friendly habits are ideal for making a positive impact on the planet.
Implementing environmentally-friendly habits revolves around such action steps as using reusable products, creating less waste, and reducing energy consumption. As you can imagine these actions also mean that you will spend less money. Thus, eco-friendly New Year’s resolutions are a great way to save money and the planet at the same time.
#1. No More Single-Use Plastics
This good habit is at the top of the list for a reason. For many, it seems letting go of using single use plastics is quite difficult. If you can give it a try it is one habit that has a huge environmental payoff. Single use plastics you can stop using include:
- Plastic cling wrap
- Plastic baggies
- Plastic straws
- Plastic cups, plates, and bowls
- Plastic cutlery (forks, spoons, knives)
Every item on this list has an equal eco counterpart. Such as metal or bamboo straws, wax cling wrap, biodegradable cutlery, etc. The resources are out there, you just have to make the effort.
#2. Reusable Shopping Bags
Hoping everyone is aware by now of the extreme damage plastic bags do to the environment.
- The world population uses 5 trillion plastic bags per year.
- That’s 160,000 a second!
- And over 700 a year for every single person on the planet.
- About 34% of dead leatherback sea turtle have ingested plastics.7
The information is staging and the data is available for everyone to be well informed. You now have the choice to make a difference or not. It’s quite simple.
- Make it a habit. Your reusable shopping bags are kept in the car.
- After use, return them back to the car.
- Every time you exit your car, grab a shopping bag. Make it automatic.
#3. Drive Less, Walk & Bike More
Another great way to lower your carbon footprint is to drive your car less. Make a new year’s good habit to drive less by walking, bicycling or taking public transit when your destination is close by. For places that are further away, try carpooling.
#4. Start Composting
Composting keeps organic materials out of landfills and reduces the amount of greenhouse gas that is released into the atmosphere (this is one of the major causes of climate change). Thus a very beneficial eco-friendly habit to begin this year is composting.
- If you don’t want to compost yourself, many many states around the county now offer curbside organic waste pickup.
- You can donate it to your local community garden.
- Or you can do it yourself and gain the benefits of creating rich soil for your planting usage.
Once something has reached the end of its life cycle, it’s a great feeling to throw it out into the compost bin, knowing that it will break down naturally and create an organic material to enrich your garden. This guide on how composting works and why it helps the earth explains the process in more detail.
Be Food Frugal
To go along with your awareness of organic waste, also being conscious of your overall food waste is part of this great eco-friendly habit you’re beginning. Reducing your food waste might come down to meal planning, eating less fast food, or ordering less take out meals. It depends on your lifestyle but by reviewing your food habits you can take into consideration where you waste food and how to make eco-friendly changes.
- Food waste in landfills creates the greenhouse gases methane and carbon dioxide.
- Wasting food also means wasting the water used to produce it.
- And of course the money you spent to buy it.
#5. Start a Garden
Speaking of compost and growing food, a wonderful eco-friendly habit to begin this year is to start your own garden, no matter how big or small.
- Growing your own food has many benefits: saves money; eliminates plastic packaging when buying from a store; and you get fresher fruits and vegetables.
#6. Meatless Mondays
Reducing your meat consumption is something everyone can do just by opting out of eating meat one day a week. This eco-friendly habit has many environmental benefits such as:
- A lower carbon footprint.
- Saving water and fossil fuels.
- Reducing greenhouse gases.
- There are also health benefits to eating less meat.
Devote yourself to having no meat on Mondays to help lower your carbon footprint and conserve resources.
#7. Embrace The Bars!
This doesn’t mean the one on the corner with live music, but rather the alternative form of beauty products that come in bars rather than plastic bottles.
- Switching from plastic liquid soap bottles to bar soaps is an extremely easy and eco-friendly new year’s habit to begin.
- Bar shampoo and conditioner is an easy way to use less plastic at home and it really doesn’t require much effort.
- The choices available nowadays are quite abundant and probably available at health and beauty shops in your own town.
- The same goes for your laundry detergent too– make the eco-friendly switch to detergent sheets versus bottles full of the same detergent ingredients.
#8. Sign Petitions
Signing petitions is a great way to drive change and create a positive impact.
- It is through petitions that big brands, large corporations, get to hear what you as a consumer want done differently.
- Sign up for a petition newsletter like at Care2 Petitions to get emails about ongoing petitions and sign them.
#9. Shop Local
Shopping locally has so many benefits.
- Your dollars are supporting your community rather than lining the pockets of billionaires and big corporations.
- It reduces the carbon emissions that come with the transportation of products.
#10. No Fast Fashion: Commit to Secondhand Clothing
Instead of purchasing new clothes this year, commit to a new eco-friendly habit of only buying secondhand clothing. Most people may not be aware of just how destructive the fast fashion industry is.
- Fast fashion is one of the most polluting and unethical industries in the world.
- Fast fashion is one of the biggest drivers of pollution.
- By choosing other options you lessen textile waste in landfills.
Or Sustainable Clothing Brands
If secondhand clothing really isn’t your thing, instead resolve to only shop from sustainable fashion brands.
- Sustainable fashion brands are slowing down the fashion industry, making a huge difference in the world.
- Check out this article on what sustainable fashion is and why it is so important for further details.
BONUS! Waste Less Water
Water is a commodity that many don’t realize is wasted in a lot of our day-to-day living. Conserving water saves on energy required to process, clean and distribute water, which then lessens pollution and conserves resources. Some examples of reducing your water usage include:
- Taking shorter showers.
- Collecting your warmup water.
- Buying organic produce; less water is used in the production of organic fruits and vegetables, making it a great way to save water as well as get pesticide-free food for your family.
This outline for the top 10 actions you can turn into permanent good eco-friendly habits for good are easily doable if you have a plan to stick to your decisions. Making resolutions can be easy, it’s the follow-through that can be tough.
How to Stick to Your New Year’s Eco-Friendly Habits
- Write down your goals and make them clear and specific.
- It’s OK to make some mistakes along the way. Just get back on the plan ASAP.
- Get some of your friends or family to join you.
- Start your new eco-friendly habits one at a time to reduce possible overwhelm.
- Keep a log and track your progress.
- Reward yourself when you reach a milestone.
- When in doubt, remind yourself why you’re doing this…and that takes us to the last eco-friendly habit you might want to begin.
Spend More Time in Nature
Watching a sunset, walking the beach, hiking through the forest, or whatever your preference is for experiencing nature, do more of it. Not only does spending time outdoors improve overall happiness, but it’s also a reminder of why you’re adopting these eco-friendly new year’s habits. Spending time with nature is a great way to stay motivated with your goals, and to continue with the good that you’re doing. This guide on eco-friendly camping tips can further inspire you.
Happy New Year & Happy New Habit Beginnings!
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