I’m sure we can all agree that 2020 was not the easiest year for everyone, including our planet. But, the start of the New Year always seems to bring a new mentality and a sense of a fresh start. As you set your goals for this upcoming year, add a few sustainably-focused initiatives to your list!
Here are 21 eco-friendly resolution ideas that you can incorporate into your daily routine throughout 2021!
Zero Waste Shower
Research and inquire about your cities’ composting program! For a small monthly fee, you are able to drop off your food scraps, which are then turned into soil.
Pickup Trash on the Trails
Bring a bag to collect trash every time you head outdoors. Not only are you helping with trail maintenance, but also preserving wildlife and reducing pollution!
Make the Switch
Choose 3-5 products that you’d like to make the switch to a more sustainable option by the end of the year. For example, make the transition to using food wraps instead of plastic baggies, cotton facial rounds instead of single use wipes, or switch to a Bamboo Toothbrush instead of plastic.
Reusable Water Bottle
Carry an extra water bottle with you wherever you go to stay hydrated! Not only will you reduce plastic and save money, but your body will be grateful for the on hand hydration.
Reusable Coffee Cup
More and more coffee shops are now allowing you to use your reusable travel mugs. Leave one in your car to always have on hand when you’re craving a caffeine rush!
Aim to have a vegetarian or vegan meal every monday! Reevaluate how you’re feeling in the middle of the year- can you challenge yourself to eat 2-3 meatless meals per week?
Shop Second Hand
Between online marketplaces and thrift stores, you can find anything and everything that you’re looking for second-hand. Not only will shopping for furniture and clothing being environmentally friendly, but will also save you some pennies in your pocket!
Natural Household Cleaners
Choose to use household cleaners with biodegradable, non-toxic, fragrance free ingredients. These are healthy for you, but also reduce air pollution and lessen water usage in the production process. There are a lot of DIY recipes to explore, otherwise, shop from a small business. My personal favorite is Blueland!
Cook More, Buy Less
Do you enjoy cooking? If so, try to make more recipes from scratch! Get out of your comfort zone and make your own salads, tortillas, pastas, breads and baked goods. You’ll use all-natural ingredients, reduce your plastic waste and create memorable experiences in the kitchen. Plus, your friends will think you’re a professional chef if you tell them you can make your own pasta from scratch!
Shop Co-Ops & Farmers Markets
Are you shopping for the right flour for your homemade pasta? Buy it in bulk at your local co-op! Local co-ops have a great selection of bulk goods and produce from local growers, making it easy to avoid the pre-packaged goods. In the summer, take advantage of the farmers markets. If you’re headed to either stop, make sure you pack your reusable bags!
Less is More! In fact, that is the name of the new minimalism documentary coming to Netflix on January 1st. Take your first step into minimalism by reducing extra clutter and practice purchasing items with intentionality. The Minimalist are a great resource for learning more about minimalism, in general.
Going hand-in-hand with minimalism, if you can, move notes and paperwork to a digital platform. This will reduce clutter and make it easier to organize and search your items, while also saving paper.
Keep your reusable grocery, produce and bulk bags in your car for easy access when grocery shopping. Go the next step and make the switch food wraps or Stasher bags to avoid the single-use sandwich bags or saran wrap.
Air Dry your Laundry
Air drying your laundry will reduce energy and be gentler on your clothes. You’ll find that your clothes will last a little longer before breaking down or stretching out.
Zero Waste Laundry
Take your laundry to one further and go zero waste! Whether it’s using Dropps Detergent Pods or a liquid refill from your local co-op, you will continue to reduce your plastic use!
Change to Rechargeable Batteries
Ultimately, it would be best to avoid using batteries altogether. However, for items that do require a battery, use rechargeable batteries instead.
Not every recycling center can accept all plastics. Make it your mission to learn your local recycling guidelines and recycle accordingly.
Choose Brands with a Sustainability Mission
If you do choose to purchase new, take some time to research the company’s sustainability mission first. Companies like Ben & Jerry’s, Toms, Patagonia and many more are registered BCorps, which must meet sustainability requirements. But, you can also find some smaller companies that have sustainable missions or larger companies that will help donate to environmental causes with a little research.
Getting tired of something? Try to refresh the use of the item with a new coat of paint or try to find a second purpose for the item. For example, use a mason jar as a pencil holder. Keep it simple!
Walk, Bike, Carpool or use Public Transportation
If there’s an opportunity for you to ride your bike, walk or take public transportation, take advantage! If not, try to carpool with others to reduce air pollution.
Realistically, if you have other resolutions you are trying to achieve in 2021, choose one or two of these ideas to pursue. That way, you can ensure success with your goals! Personally, I will be focusing on four of these ideas: a zero waste shower, picking up trash on the trails, shopping at co-ops and learning more about recycling.
No matter what happens throughout the year, remember that this is a journey. You won’t be perfect with these changes at first, but really, who is?! With patience and practice, these goals will slowly become habits that are second-nature. You just have to keep going!
Cheers and best wishes to the New Year!