The new year is a great time to set new goals and intentions for yourself. If you wish to change something this year, consider making some eco-friendly swaps in your day-to-day life. Here are a few ideas to get you started on living a more sustainable life.
The new year is a great time to set new goals and intentions for yourself. If you need help figuring out what to change in the new year, here are some sustainable new year’s resolutions to get you started.
1. Go Plant-Based
Going plant-based is better for your wallet, the environment, and your health. These diets can help treat chronic conditions and may eliminate some symptoms by offering lower cholesterol and better digestion. Indeed, studies show that plant-based diets can lower cholesterol more easily than a low-fat ones, making it an excellent choice for anyone who wants to improve their health. You may also notice clearer skin after switching to a plant-based diet.
Red meat might be one of the worst foods for sustainable living, as animals like cows take up so many resources while releasing methane gas into the atmosphere. Around 26% of emissions in the atmosphere come from food production and livestock farming makes up over 50% of that amount. Despite this amount contributing to an estimated 2% of climate change, methane stays in the atmosphere for 12 years, much longer than CO2. Plants produce a tiny fraction of that gas, making plant-based protein sources the better option for any household that wants to put the Earth first. Even if you don’t cut out meat entirely, you can start by eating less meat overall and introducing some plant-only meal days into your week.
While planning out your groceries for your plant-based meals, consider also searching for ways to cut down on food waste. Food waste in landfills can contribute to greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Furthermore, the food that gets wasted takes up nearly 25% of the world’s water supply, leading to billions of dollars in wasted water. Once you understand how much of something you need to make a serving, you’ll be able to estimate how much food you need, so none of it goes to waste.
2. Ditch Fast Fashion
Fast fashion is all too easy to take part in. Because of the cheap price and generally low quality of fast fashion items, a study has found that, while clothing sales doubled from 100 to 200 billion units a year between 2000 and 2015, the average number of times an item was worn decreased by 36%. If you partake in fast fashion, you can kick the difficult habit by tackling a no-spend month. A no-spend month eliminates all your spending other than the essentials. By abstaining from non-essential purchases, you should be able to save more money and contribute it toward a financial goal you care about.
You will start to wear your clothes more and you can learn more about which pieces you are in love with and which you just bought because they were trendy, which can guide your future purchases. You will also better understand where your money goes – and you can research the brands you typically buy from to ensure they put the environment first.
About 74% of people surveyed in a 2021 study said they do not consider environmental factors when buying new clothing. If people stopped to think about how garments could serve them in the long term, they might spend less on several low-quality pieces and more on clothing items that will last a while. When you save money for larger or more expensive purchases, you can turn your back on brands that don’t meet your sustainability requirements.
You might also like: 17 Sustainable Fashion Brands to Support in 2023
3. Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient
One of the best ways to work toward a brighter future is to make adjustments to your home to make it more environmentally friendly. For example, check your insulation if your energy bills increase over time. Proper insulation can save you money on your heating and cooling bills. To ensure your home is adequately insulated, replace your weatherstripping, which will help prevent heat from escaping all areas of your home, even your garage.
If you want to upgrade your home even more, consider adding something more permanent, like solar panels. Solar panels have low maintenance costs, so once you get past the installation price, they should pay for themselves in no time. Make it a financial goal and you’ll see it pay off for you in the future.
If you want to learn more about how to make your home more sustainable: How to Lower Your Carbon Footprint Through An Eco-Friendly Home Audit
4. Value Experiences Over Items
The gift-giving industry has a significant hold on many individuals, especially those who think they must give friends and family members a gift to show how much they love them. Around 30 million trees are cut down to become wrapping paper during the year’s busiest season. The average person gives over 15 gifts yearly, which can add to the waste after the holiday season.
Many people value experiences over possessions, making an experience gift perfect for your wish-list or for giving to someone else. You can give your loved ones a trip to the zoo with their kids or spring for a romantic dinner for two for your parents to have a date night. An experience will surely matter more to a gift recipient than possessions they may grow tired of. After all, memories are forever.
5. Support Your Natural Beauty
The beauty industry is worth over $570 billion, which makes it a major sector with a lot of influence. Since it’s such a big industry, people might buy items they don’t need because they don’t look the way a filter or airbrushing makes them look.
Filters becoming the norm in social media have had a detrimental effect, as people may not be able to tell reality from filters and want to alter themselves to look like the latest trend. They may rely on makeup to achieve an unachievable look. Beauty products might say they’re not harmful, but many have been linked to reproductive issues in women who use them.
You may have animal-based ingredients in your cosmetics that you don’t know about. Shark liver oil is featured in many anti-aging products in the form of squalene. Many brands also test on animals, so going cruelty-free or not using beauty products at all might be the only way to get away from harmful practices. Learning to love yourself more in your natural state could be better for you and the environment.
Working with makeup does not have to be detrimental to you or the environment. You could shift to brands that have made proven strides toward sustainability, from their packaging to their ingredients. Swapping to sustainable brands is a great way to try out new self-care or beauty products while putting your money in the right direction.
You might also like: 14 of the Best Sustainable Beauty Brands in 2023
Try These Sustainable Practices This Year
The start of a new year is a perfect time to make adjustments and the more you learn about yourself, the easier it’ll be to change things for the better. Taking even one step toward sustainability is commendable. Take care of the world and you’ll take care of yourself.