The new year is a time of reflection—both on the past and into the future. What served us in the past year and what didn’t? What habits do we want to cultivate and carry into the new year and what do we want to leave behind?
Many of the most common new year’s resolutions can be achieved by implementing zero-waste practices. So this year, why not make your new year’s resolutions serve both you and the planet we inhabit.
– Buy nothing new. The biggest thing you can do to reduce your waste is to reduce your consumption. If it’s too much to fathom buying nothing new all year, how about trying for a month? Learn to value the things you already have and the resources required to create them. If you do find yourself in need of something, shop for it second hand. You’ll save money and precious resources.
– Dine/Take out less. Most takeout come in plastic (or worse, Styrofoam!) takeout containers, plastic utensils, single-use napkins, sauce packets, etc. etc. You can avoid all of this waste and save money in delivery fees by dining at home. While you’re at it, make your coffee at home—it’s cheaper and you’ll save a ton of single-use to-go cups. When you do go to a coffee shop, take your reusable mug, some places will even give you a discount for bringing your own.
– Swap out single-use items for reusables. Ditch paper towels—rags will do (got an old T-shirt lying around? That can be a rag!) Use real dishes, silverware, and cloth napkins at parties. Combine resources and have people bring their own if you don’t have enough to go around! Refill a reusable water bottle instead of buying single-use plastic bottles whenever you’re thirsty.
Form Healthy Habits.
– Drink more water. I’ve found that I drink more water when I carry my reusable water bottle with me.
– Don’t buy processed food. Not only is processed food full of unhealthy additives, they also generally come heavily packaged. Shop the outer aisles at the grocery store for unpackaged, fresh food—your body, and the earth will thank you.
– Get more exercise. I am not an incredibly physically active person. I’m not really interested in going to the gym…and I don’t see that changing in 2019. However, I am resolving to use my car less which means walking and taking the bus (which requires walking to and from the bus) more. I’ve also started bringing a reusable bag to collect trash around my neighborhood as I walk my dog…once you start to see all the trash around you, you can’t unsee it….and I’ve found that sometimes picking up trash is a motivator to walk my dog! There are lots of ways to incorporate more exercise into your life—and best of all, you can do it while enjoying the great outdoors.
– Simplify. Decluttering has incredible health benefits. Stuff = stress. Less stuff = fewer things to worry about/put away/dust or sweep around. Declutter your personal space and you’ll be able to find a renewed sense of inner peace, self-confidence, and you may even find you get better sleep.
Learn A New Skill.
– Make your own beauty/cleaning products. You can make a ton of DIY beauty and cleaning products with a just a handful of basic/natural ingredients. Skip the harsh chemicals and DIY your deo/dry shampoo/laundry detergent/all-purpose cleaner/window cleaner instead.
– Grow your own food. Also known as starting a garden!
– Learn to cook. This’ll help you accomplish not buying processed food and eating out/getting take out less.
– Mend your clothes. Learn how to darn and save your natural-fiber clothing and socks from the landfill.
Alright, here it is! 2019. New Year, New You.