Tips for a Sustainable New Year

2021 is coming to an end, and with a year full of notable moments, we are ready to move onto the next. I’m sure you all have your own new year resolutions, but here’s a few more simple ones to add to the list. This way, you’ll improve more than just yourself- take a hit at helping our environment too!

  1. Switch our disposables for a reusable set
    1. Utensils and straws come in more reliable, good quality metals
    2. Rather than using paper towels for hand drying, invest in kitchen towels and throw them in the wash with your regular laundry load
    3. Tote bags instead of plastic bags 
    4. Reusable cotton balls and face cleansing tools for makeup removal 
  2. Careful food-shopping: When you go grocery shopping, start at the perimeter of the store. The bulk and produce areas, which are usually on the outskirts of grocery stores, are a wonderful place to start if you want to avoid the central aisles’ excessive packaging.
  1. Eat less meat: Eating less meat and dairy is the most effective strategy to lower your carbon footprint. You could try Meatless Mondays, being Vegan Before 6 like author Mark Bittman, only eating meat on weekends, only purchasing ethically and sustainably produced meat and dairy, or simply going vegetarian or vegan, or participating in Veganuary, depending on how much meat and dairy you already consume.
  1. Avoid driving solo: Try public transportation or carpooling
  2. Try packaging alternatives: Look for bamboo, glass, and stainless steel alternatives to plastic packaging.
  3. Buy less “new,” try secondhand: Limit yourself to one new purchase every month and buy everything else secondhand or make it yourself! For example, Goodwill!
  1. Shop locally: Shopping locally is a great way to reduce carbon emissions and grow your local economy. This takes into consideration transportation and packaging for more commercialized stores. 
  1. Choose organic alternatives: Choose organic whenever possible. Organic farming uses fewer resources, protects bees, prevents air and groundwater pollution, and increases biodiversity, which are all critical to sustainability in the truest sense of the word. 
  1. Say no to fast fashion! Gone are the days of overpriced, irritable hemp dresses. With the rise of climate based advocation, brands have been making themselves more accessible to the general public with cute styles and good prices.
  1. Keep your eyes open and influence your community: Send an email or leave a review every time you visit a restaurant or store with excessive plastic packaging, requesting sustainable alternatives. You could do the same with online shopping for clothes, everyday materials etc. 

Even if you can’t do it all, you start making a difference one step at a time. Pick up one point from the list, see if it works out and then add more with time. 

Happy new year to you all, and best of luck with your resolutions!

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