The news that we have 12 years (as of 2018) to make massive changes to combat climate change before we’ve done irreversible damage to the planet is absolutely terrifying. The thought if an apocalyptic like future in our lifetimes was once an unfathomable thought and now it feels like a binding death sentence. It’s more important now than ever to lead a green life, here some eco-friendly New Years resolutions to get you started.
Eco-Friendly New Years Resolutions
1. Reduce Your Meat & Dairy Intake
Ideally, more people would go vegan or eat mostly vegan/flexitarian but the very least that most people can do is try Meat Free Monday. One day a week without meat shouldn’t be hard to do. Veganuary is the most well-known eco-friendly New Years resolution, after all.
I started trying to go one day without meat in my first year of college, then two days and so on until I was having more meat-free days than meat days, eventually I just had an epiphany and couldn’t eat it anymore.
I greatly reduced my dairy intake while I was still in school and felt so much lighter and less congested without milk in my diet. You can get calcium from so many other sources as it’s not just in cow’s milk.
2. Reuse What You Can
One of the oldest green sayings is; reduce, reuse, recycle. This simple motto still holds true! Not as much gets recycled as we think which means the best thing to do is cut back on what we use and buy, and to reuse whatever we can.
I’ve talked about reusable coffee cups and water bottles before which are a great way to prevent the amount of waste ending up in landfills and the ocean. A lot of cafés offer discounts to people who bring their own cup. Packing a lunch is also better too as it saves on plastic packaging and usually homemade meals are healthier as they don’t have preservatives so it’s a win win.
3. Buy Bamboo Products
Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet and can sequester CO2. Although trees are also renewable and biodegradable, bamboo is much easier to replenish. So many products can be made from bamboo, such as paper, clothing, containers.
I have bamboo socks that are much softer and more comfortable than any other pairs. My makeup bag, brushes, coffee cup, lunch box, toothbrush, and socks are all bamboo! The greenest thing you can buy is nothing, but some things are just essential. So these eco-friendly New Years resolutions are about making better choices.
4. Avoid Palm Oil When Possible
Palm oil is detrimental to the rainforest. Not only do trees absorb Co2 and produce oxygen but deforestation also displaces indigenous people as well as animals and insects who play a vital role in their eco systems.
Once you start looking for palm oil you spot it everywhere, and sometimes companies try call it by different names. To be fair, sometimes it’s hard to be vegan and avoid palm oil altogether when it comes to certain products. So, do your best with this eco-friendly New Years resolution, but know you’re not a failure if you can’t be perfect.
5. Say Goodbye To Fast Fashion
Shopping online is so convenient that many don’t bother to look in their local shops. Not only do online items come with a lot of packaging, and also had to be delivered to you, but local businesses and therefore your community’s economy loses out when everyone shops from big online retailers. Plus, fast fashion has a big carbon footprint and pollutes the ocean. It also needs to be addressed that some brands still use sweat shops.
Not everyone is comfortable with second-hand clothes so at least shop in person, and buy smartly. This means instead of purchasing from cheap fast-fashion retailers, for something you might only wear once before the trend moves on, try to purchase good quality timeless pieces instead, and take good care of what you own.
Vintage stores, markets, and charity shopping are also great ways to find new outfits that no one else has. One of my favourite outfits was only €10 for a jumpsuit, kimono and necklace at a second-hand market in college! If you want to stay on trend, Depop and Vinted are perfect!
I also want to stress that while fast fashion is bad for the environment, it is affordable and usually size-inclusive. Sustainable fashion isn’t too expensive, it’s what fashion costs when people and the environment are treated better, but not everyone can afford it. So, if you literally can’t avoid fast fashion this point isn’t directed at you. We can all only do what we can.
6. Put Pressure On Companies
Some restaurants serve all their food, even what’s served in house, in plastic or cardboard containers. As there’s food stains it can’t be recycled so it always goes to waste. Ask these businesses have the considered getting eco-friendly packaging, or if they’ll just scrap the notion of serving all their food in takeaway containers.
There’s even biodegradable “plastic” that serves the same function as the plastic cups iced drinks come in so there’s no excuses! More and more cafés have switched to biodegradable takeaway coffee cups as the old ones weren’t even recyclable.
While capitalism might be heartless and evil, we have more power over it than we realise. They’re selling to us. If enough people complain about bad environmental practices, boycott, and shop with greener competitor companies the default will become being green.
So there we have six eco-friendly New Years resolutions. Not everyone can do everything on this list perfectly but if everyone tried our best then there’s hope for the world. Are you looking at ways to be more eco-friendly this year?