Eco-Friendly Resolutions For The New Year
Updated: Jan 7
Each year, people all over the world create New Year's Resolution lists to help motivate and inspire habit changes for the new year. 2020 has shown us all that we need to change and grow as a human population, and it has also shown us how much is possible when we decide to take action and make change.
Going zero waste is a hard and sometimes daunting task, but tackling just one or two goals a month will help you live an overall more conscious and sustainable lifestyle that will surely inspire others in your life. Here's to kicking 2020 behind us and moving forward into 2021 with hope, justice, and love.
1. Keep reusable bags in my car so I don’t forget them
I used to forget my bags ALL the time! Now I keep them in my car always, and I usually keep more than I will ever need in my car in case I forget my usual stash. Due to Covid, I just pack my groceries back into my cart and bag them at my car, no cupboard full of paper bags in this household!
If you are interested in making a simple reusable bag from an old shirt, check out our tutorial here!
2. Make a zero waste snack swap every month
Making things like your own hummus, bread, yogurt, crackers, or granola bars are great ways to save money and cut down on unnecessary packaging. I have found it incredibly fun to practice recreating some of my favorite snacks like Cheez-Its and breakfast bars.
3. Read a book or listen to a podcast on a sustainable topic
The climate movement can be incredibly overwhelming, but nothing is more empowering than feeling educated on the topics you are passionate about. I make it a goal to read or listen to at least one inspiring, hopeful, and reputable podcast or book each month so that I am up-to-date on what is happening, as well as more confident when discussing issues surrounding a sustainable lifestyle. Below are our resource pages for our top reads and listens:
4. Bike or walk to places instead of driving (when weather permits!)
Carpooling or taking public transit is another great option! Try to plan out errands on the same day to minimize your driving time, or try to complete errands as they fit in your daily routine (ie: stopping at the store on your way home from work). The world we live in requires lots of non-centralized transportation, so just thinking more consciously of your travel will make a difference!
5. Grow herbs in your own home rather than buy
Growing basil, cilantro, green onions, etc on your windowsill is incredibly easy and non-time consuming! You can sprout in a pot, buy a tabletop grow kit (simple grow light and pot), or can be grown in an indoor hydroponic system. There are many resources online to fit a wide array of budget, space, and time limitations.
6. Compost food scraps or contact your city about getting an organics bin
A great resource to contact will always be your local Environmental Center, as they can get you the exact resources and contact information that you need. You may be surprised to learn that your area has had organic waste drop off sites all along! I personally started an indoor vermicompost, which is just a bin of scraps with worms that does not smell at all and can be kept anywhere in your home. I also leave scraps out around my tree trunks because I have a diverse backyard ecosystem who love veggies.
7. Recycle greeting cards
One great (and cute!) idea I have seen floating around the internet is using old greeting cards as gift tags for future presents! I personally use them to create new cards for others, on vision boards, or as decorations on gift wrapping when I use old paper bags.
8. Invest in a great reusable water bottle
If you are in the market for a new waterbottle, I always recommend stainless steel. Not only is it easier to clean than plastic, it also lasts so much longer if you are clumsy and drop everything like me! Another option is searching on a local Buy Nothing Facebook groups for like-new bottles, or searching a thrift store (mine have soooo many waterbottles of all kinds).
9. Shop locally- make it a 2021 goal to not buy from certain brands or companies (ex: Amazon)
If you have to order online, consider doing so from companies who have verified carbon offsetting measures, and/or ship in completely recyclable or compostable packaging. The Zero Waste Store is an online store that I trust, but I am fortunate enough to have a local zero-waste shop that has in-store shopping, pickup, delivery, and shipping!
10. Cut out meat one day a week- then work up to more to have a more sustainable diet
11. Invest in good reusable masks- so you don’t end up using a lot of the disposable ones
Shop locally for masks if possible, or support some of the many struggling artists who are on online places like Etsy or even Facebook marketplace. I have a rotation of masks so that I can ensure I always have a clean mask that isn't contributing to the growing disposable mask pollution crisis.
12. Use your food scraps to make veggie broth rather than throw them away
I save most of my veggie scraps in an old Sweet Martha's cookie tub (if you are from the Midwest you know) in my freezer until I have enough to make a delicious broth with! I cook mine in the crockpot for 6-8 hours with a LOT of herbs to increase the flavor.
This article here has great information on how to make your own broth at home, and which scraps you should/shouldn't use.
13. Make a sustainable makeup swap in your daily routine
Eco-friendly and low waste makeup alternatives have been picking up traction lately, and it couldn't have been at a more critical time! The makeup industry is one of the top polluting industries, but it is also such an important part of many peoples daily self-care routines. A simple google search will show you most like at least a hundred alternative products to your favorite colors of face powder, lip color, eyeshadow, mascara, and more!
14. Make your own plant based milk
Plant based milk has become increasingly popular as information comes to light about the abuse and health problems that are stemming from the dairy industry. I am a huge supporter of oat milk as a dairy alternative due to the low resource input needed to grow oats, the availability of oats, and the delicious creamy rich flavor that oat milk provides. You can make plant based milk out of any type of nut, as well as seeds like hemp or flax which can all be bought in bulk at many stores and co-ops!
15. Download an eco-friendly search engine
If you are looking for a way to actively contribute to the climate movement every day- I highly urge you to learn about Ecosia and install it onto your web browser today. Your searches on Ecosia are powered by 100% renewable energy; they plant trees that fight climate change by removing CO2 from the atmosphere, and they accelerate the energy transition away from fossil fuels by adding solar energy to the electricity grid; it truly makes you wonder why every search engine hasn't transitioned.
We are so grateful to every reader who took the initiative this year to Cut The Crap and go on this sustainable journey with us. Every single article you read can inspire you to make a sustainable choice in the future, and any change that you make does make a real difference in the world and to our Earth.
The New Year will be bringing many exciting changes to the site and what we will offer in terms of articles, classes, and more!
From us to you, Happy New Year!