Many of us make New Year’s resolutions every year, to help us achieve our financial goals or to improve our health, but not too many of us make those New Year’s resolutions for environmental reasons.
However, if you’re concerned about having a smaller environmental footprint, and saving money while you’re at it, here are 9 simple and effective green New Year’s resolutions that you can put into practice in 2015.
Some of these are really basic, such as not buying bottled water, or bringing a reusable shopping bag with you to the store, but some of them, such as going to paperless billing for your monthly bills, carpooling, or retrofitting your shower with a low-flow showerhead, might not be high on the list of effective green New Year’s resolutions, but the more people that adopt these practices, the more sustainable our world will get.
Manage your waste
Separate your garbage at home. Reuse what you can, send those that can be recycled to recycling plants, and collect organic waste for compost. By managing your waste properly, you will be able to send only those meant for landfills.
Make do with things you already have
Buy less crap. Next time you go out shopping, resist the temptation of purchasing trinkets, thingamabobs and what sits you only find cute but really don’t have any use for at all. Instead, make do of things you already have.
Go for organic food
When doing grocery, go for produce from local farmers. Local produce reduces the need for transporting food. It’s healthy for you and the environment.
Get a reusable bag
A reusable bag when going shopping not only is it convenient (carrying all your grocery in a single bag), it also lessens plastic bags that end up in the trash every minute.
Switch to energy-saving appliances
You can start by switching to energy-saving appliances. Check the energy label – more stars means more energy efficient.
Line dry your washed clothes
Instead of using the dryer, line dry newly washed clothes and sheets. It saves electricity and forces you to exercise altogether.
Choose safer cleaning products
When purchasing cleaning materials, choose those with ingredients that have less impact on the environment and human health. You can also choose those with recyclable packaging to reduce garbage.
Green up your work space Commit to turning off electronics in your office every night. Have your whole department do this for maxium impact.
Green your ride Evaluate how you currently get to work each day and make a pledge to reduce your impact. If you can ride the bus, bike, walk, or car pool, make this pledge.
Never buy bottled water again Trade your bottled water habit for an at-home filtering pitcher; pair it with a reusable bottle
Brew your own Fair Trade coffee Carrying your own coffee in an insulated travel mug helps you reduce waste from cardboard cups and carrying sleeves.
Cut back on paper towels Invest in a few cotton cloths and some fabric napkins; then drop them in the wash when you run a load of laundry. Using the cloth alternatives is just as easy as using the paper versions.
Become a weekend vegetarian Cutting meat out of your diet just two days a week can decrease your carbon footprint by about 1/3 of a ton — and coming up with meat-free meals for Saturday and Sunday isn’t as hard as it sounds. Try pancakes and fruit for breakfast; fresh salads or roasted vegetable sandwiches for lunch; and veggie pizza, bean soups, and creamy risottos for dinner. And since doubling a recipe rarely adds any time to your prep work, you can make extras to eat throughout the week (and trim your carbon footprint even more).
Replace your lightbulbs Replacing your lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lights may be the ultimate change for the eco-slacker.