The news that we have 12 years 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 are six easy wasy to be eco-friendly this New Year.
I’ve been doing my best to life eco-friendly for the past few years and have accumulated a few tips and tricks I’d like to share
1. Reduce your meat and dairy intake
Ideally, more people would go vegan or eat mostly vegan/flexitarian but the very least that everyone can do is try Meat Free Monday. One day a week without meat shouldn’t be hard to do.
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 dairy in my diet. You can get calcium from so many other sources as it’s not just in cow’s milk. If you like the taste of meat that much brands such as Quorn offer alternatives that taste almost the exact same, and there’s so many dairy-free alternatives out there there’s bound to be one you like.
Going vegan is one of the best ways’s to be more eco-friendly. If you’re trying Veganuary you might find my chat with Amy the Vegan helpful.
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 cafes 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.
You can find zero-waste essentials here.*
3. Buy bamboo products
Bamboo grows crazy fast, almost an inch an hour sometimes and absorbs much more CO2 than trees do. 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!
4. Say no to Palm oil
Palm oil is very detrimental to the rainforest. Not only do trees absorb Co2 and produce oxygen but scientists think there could be cures to all sorts of wildlife in the rain forest waiting to be discovered, but once that ecosystem is gone we lose that hope. I had to say goodbye to my favourite chocolate – Cadbury’s Bournville – as it has palm oil, but thankfully there’s lots of dairy free dark chocolate’s out there that don’t use it, and besides, Bourniville barely counts as real dark chocolate anyway. Once you start looking for palm oil you spot it everywhere, and sometimes companies try call it by different names because they know people are resisting it.
5. Say goodbye to fast fashion, and hello to sustainable 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.
Not everyone is comfortable with secondhand 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 secondhand market in college!
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 cafes have switched to biodegradable takeaway coffee cups as the old ones weren’t even recyclable. My favourite restaurant is a Thai place that only serves their food in containers and I’m so happy they’ve made them compostable!
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.
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?
*This is an affiliate link. I earn a small percentage of commission from sales made through it at no extra cost to you. I only work with brands I know, trust, and who’s ethos aligns with my own. This helps me to keep this website alive so I can keep raising awareness to the climate crisis and to help cover the hosting for the website.