Happy New Year! Okay we might be a few weeks late... but it’s better late than never. And speaking of better late than never, how are those New Year’s resolutions going? We’re fully supportive of any resolutions you might already have, but have you considered adding a resolution or two for the planet? Making environmentally sustainable changes to your daily routine can feel daunting at first, but we’re not asking you to sell your car and start working by candlelight. A handful of small changes to your routine is better than nothing, so here are some of our tried and true suggestions to help you live more sustainably in the new year.
1. Ditch the plastic water bottles.
Single use plastics are SO last year. We get it, it’s easy to stash a case of plastic water bottles in your garage and grab one before you leave the house. But it’s also easy to keep a reusable water bottle on hand. We like to keep a filled bottle in the fridge for cold, ready to go water at all times.
2. BYOB- Bring Your Own Bags
Grocery shopping involves a lot of waste. Unless you’re buying everything straight from the farm, a lot of the products you buy probably come in plastic containers. One easy way to cut back on the plastic is to bring your own grocery bags. Find reusable bags that work for your lifestyle, we like anything small enough to fit in our backpacks but sturdy enough to put in the washer. Bonus points if you bring your own produce bags too!
3. Compost (it’s not just for hippies).
Remember that one time during COVID when everyone was so bored that they decided to start a garden? What better way to nourish your garden than use your food scraps! Together yard waste and food scraps make up more than 30 percent of what we throw away. This waste could be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. There are plenty of great compost guides online, and you’ll love your garden even more knowing that it’s helping save the environment.
4. Stop Buying Fast Fashion!!
The fastest thing about fast fashion is how fast its destroying our planet. According to an article by Fashion Revolution, since the year 2000 the amount of garments produced in the textile industry has doubled. Coinciding with this has been an immense increase in waste- leaving textiles to account for more than 10% of global carbon emission (WorldBank). Stop Supporting Fast Fashion = Start Saving our Planet. (Pictured: a polluted river in Bangladesh)
5. Make ~Make Up~ Sustainable.
We love makeup almost as much as we love the planet. Using a new cotton round, q-tip, and 10 tissues to do our makeup every day isn’t exactly showing our love for Mother Earth. Just switching to a reusable q-tip can help replace hundreds of single use q-tips a year. We love the sustainable beauty items from LastObject, but even better if you can find some reusable products locally.
6. Be Fashionable at the Farmer’s Market.
Let's be honest, nothing at the Farmer’s Market can truly replace the Double Stuff Oreos we buy at Target. But for all of our fresh produce needs, the Farmer’s Market is the place to be. You can often find produce at the Farmer’s Market packaged without plastic, and it’s easy to avoid plastic waste altogether if you bring a reusable bag. Buying local produce also saves on emissions used to transport the fruits and veggies that come from thousands of miles away to get to your grocery store.
7. Eat Less Meat.
Burgers are good, bacon is great, but the rise of greenhouse gas emissions is ghastly. A study in 2019 from the journal Scientific Reports found that if everyone in the country reduced their consumption of beef, pork, and poultry by a quarter and substituted plant proteins, we’d save about 82 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. If you’re a heavy meat eater, start with doing meatless Mondays or try to eat one vegan lunch a week. Every meatless meal counts!
It’s often easier to incorporate small changes in your routine when you can see the direct impact of those changes in your life. Let’s be real, you’re not going to be able to notice the difference of 365 less plastic q-tips in a landfill or 25 less kgs of CO2 in our atmosphere. It can be frustrating and your efforts can feel futile when you’re trying your hardest to be more sustainable while watching the icebergs melt away in the arctic. This is your reminder that even if you physically can’t see the difference, every effort you make to save the environment is worth it. Every q-tip, straw, carbon emission, and plastic water bottle you save counts. We implore you to examine your daily routine and look for a few simple ways you can weave in sustainability. Use the ideas from our list, brainstorm new ideas with friends and family, and try your best. Even if you’ve never tried to live sustainably before... you’re better late than never.