New Year, New Resolutions
Did you send 2019 out with a bang—watching fireworks light up the night sky? Or did you spend a cozy evening in, enjoying the last few moments of the decade with your loved ones? However you spent New Year’s Eve, the new year dawns with high hopes for all of us.
Setting New Year’s Resolutions is a common practice in many cultures, and most goals involve doing something to live a better life. With global pollution and environmental concerns increasing, one goal worth considering is to reduce your waste.
Staying on Track and Enjoying the Journey
Like any other goal, working toward a more zero-waste lifestyle takes consistent effort. It’s easy to set resolutions aside and slip back into old habits.
A few ways to keep sight of your goal are to:
The Why of Zero Waste
Striving to go zero waste can improve your health, simplify your lifestyle, and save you time and money in the long run. But it’s not just good for you—reducing your waste helps keep trash from ending up in landfills or the ocean.
You may already be well into your zero-waste journey, or you might just be getting started. Either way, the new year is an opportunity to build earth-friendly habits. Your daily efforts will add up over time, so don’t wait to get started!
Here are 12 areas of your life you can give a zero-waste makeover this year. You could choose one to focus on each month, combine a few at a time, or begin with whatever feels most important to you right now. There’s no wrong choice here.
Take a look at your favorite products and evaluate their sustainability.
Single-use products like makeup remover pads and cotton swabs add up fast, so you could try swapping in reusable makeup pads instead.
You can also look for beauty products that come in recyclable or compostable packaging.
Zero-waste living doesn’t need to come at the expense of style. Many earth-friendly clothing brands help you look and feel your best without harming the planet. You can also shop second-hand, swap clothing with friends, or mend items you already have to lengthen their lifespan.
When it’s time to say goodbye to clothes or shoes, give them a second chance before sending them to the trash. You can donate items in good condition to thrift stores or charities, and find facilities in your area that recycle worn-out clothing.
We love food—and we’re guessing you do too. Some tried-and-true ways to make your meals delicious and waste-free are shopping local, eating what you buy, and reducing the amount of plastic you use when you eat. This can mean avoiding pre-packaged foods and eating out, or switching to reusable products like stainless steel straws.
When you store food at home, skip the tinfoil and zipper bags and opt for earth-friendly storage options. These silicone stretch lids fit perfectly around your bowls, jars, and other containers to keep your leftovers safe and leak-free.
You can also reduce the need for disposable plastic wrap by using these silicone food huggers. They keep everything from apples to avocados fresh until you’re ready to eat them. And even produce needs a hug from time to time, right?
Keeping your home clean can improve physical health and reduce stress. But if you’re using paper towels and disposable sponges, one Saturday’s work can produce a small mountain of trash leaving your home. Take stock to see where your cleaning routine could use an upgrade.
In the kitchen, messes pop up like a never-ending game of cleaning whack-a-mole. So using earth-friendly supplies is vital. Simple changes like using a reusable spongeor our zero waste kitchen kitcan help you keep things neat and reduce waste.
5. Personal Care
While you’re working to take care of the environment, don’t forget to take care of yourself.
When you’re feeling run down, treat yourself to a spa night in with these 7 easy DIY recipes for bathroom essentials.
Or, if you’re not in a DIY mood, you can also try one of our zero-waste, aluminium-free deodorants.
Show your pets and the planet some love at the same time!
You can look for pet food that’s packaged responsibly, opt for long-lasting toys, and where possible, give them time in the great outdoors.
Whether you enjoy shopping or avoid it at all costs, you can strive for zero-waste shopping trips with these easy tips:
- Plan ahead to combine trips
- Look for items with minimal packaging
- Choose reusable mesh bags for groceries and produce
- Consolidate online purchases to ship together
There are countless ways to have a good time without creating a negative impact on the environment!
We love getting outside for walks, hikes, or sports with family and friends. To save your skin, prepare for fun in the sun by using zero-waste, plastic-free sunscreen.
Whether you’re in school, working in an office, or working from home, you can make simple changes to create an eco-friendly daily routine. Cut down on trash by recycling old papers and choosing eco-friendly office supplies. And you can ditch disposable plastic by taking your own water bottle, lunch kit, or snacks.
Every day, you need to get from Point A to Point B. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try something new. Carpooling, biking, walking, or taking public transportation are great ways to reduce your carbon footprint. When you need to drive, try to combine trips—this saves you time and money and lowers your impact.
11. Family and Friends
Achieving goals is easier when you have a team. Talk with family, friends, and coworkers about your efforts to go zero waste. You can find ways to join forces and grow together. If your loved ones don’t share your vision at first, give them time—seeing your passion for the environment might change their mind.
Giving and receiving gifts is a time-honored way to strengthen relationships and show affection. Zero-waste gift ideas include experiences, time together, or earth-friendly products you know the receiver needs.
If you’re stumped, try giving a gift card for our zero-waste marketplace. Then your loved ones can choose whatever their hearts desire!
You’ve probably heard the popular adage, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Your zero-waste journey is no different—and taking your first small, simple step is what lets your journey begin.
As you progress toward your goal, you’ll experience successes and setbacks. Don’t get discouraged or beat yourself up when you struggle. Everyone has rough days. Over time, you’ll be able to see that your efforts add up to make a big difference.
Choose one of the suggestions on this list or brainstorm ideas of your own. There’s no wrong answer here—the perfect place to start is where you are today.
What changes did you make in 2019 to go zero-waste? Do you have any goals for 2020?
Writer, baker, and lover of nature.
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