The New Year is blank slate, a great opportunity to start over, a wonderful time full of hope, intention and drive. Goals to improve health, relationships and work are made, plans are drawn out, friends are brought in for accountability. It’s also the ideal time to go over consumption habits and our environmental footprint. If you’d like to live a kinder life in 2017, here are 5 Green New Year Resolutions for you to try!
#1 Reduce Your Plastic Consumption
A 2016 study estimated that around eight million metric tons of plastic waste enter the oceans from land each year. Plastic is one of worst pollutants our oceans and lands have to face at the moment, to the point where there are actual islands made of trash and plastic floating in the ocean, like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Not only endangering marine life but also polluting the very resources we use to live.
Fortunately there are simple things we can do to reduce plastic consumption:
- Bring Your Own Water Bottle
Buying less plastic bottles and saving some extra cash while at it! It is really that simple, it’s actually one of the easiest ways you can help and also contribute to your health and fitness goals, since you’ll likely stay away from sodas and sugary beverages and drink more water or homemade juices! Switch to metal or glass containers for extra green points.
- Avoid Buying Plastic Bags That Stand Up
Yes, that sounds weirdly specific but those bags of frozen vegetables you see at the supermarket which stand up on a shelf, are convenient only for marketers and advertisers since those bags cannot be recycled. Canadians are producing more garbage than ever, because of “convenience shopping”. Make sure that when you buy a product in a plastic wrapping, that it can be recycled.
- Get Less Take Out
It’s easy to grab the phone or order online, but unless you’re getting pizza, chances are your take out meal will come with one or more plastic containers. Try to cook from scratch as much as you can and you’ll see a positive shift in your eating habits, plus you’ll be kinder to the environment.
You can keep those new year resolutions to save more and stay fit by turning Sundays into Netflix and Meal (Prep); by batch cooking some of your meals in advance you can rest assured that you’ll have a healthy and delicious dinner waiting for you during the week that you’ll just need to reheat. The best part? You get to catch up on your favorite shows, spend time with the fam and keep control of your budget and waistline!
#2 Eat Less Meat
We’re not advocating for a specific lifestyle or diet, but there are multiple reasons why eating less meat is better for you and the environment, a 2009 study linked cattle-ranching to the deforestation of four-fifths of the Amazon rainforest, there’s also the fact that livestock are accountable for 18% of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming and more. Meat consumption is also linked to several forms of cancer, so it’s overall better to consume less.
A way to eat less meat every month is to try Meatless Mondays and to slowly reduce a few meals a week where you switch meat for a veggie and healthy option.
#3 Switch to More Energy Efficient Lighting
Incandescent lighting is being phased out in Canada and they cannot be manufactured or imported anymore; the country is moving towards energy efficient lighting. LED bulbs have the obvious advantage over other lighting options because they can last up to 50,000 hours, are instant-on, do not contain mercury (like CFLs do) and above all are the most energy efficient option in the market converting 90% of the power they draw into light. Since their pricing is continuously going down, they make a great investment that saves you money and helps to literally cool down earth.
If you need help, here’s a handy guide with what you need to know before buying LED lights.
#4 Carpool More
It is estimated that each car emits its own weight in carbon dioxide every year, imagine that! Sharing a ride means there are fewer cars on the road, fewer greenhouse emissions, less gas consumption and overall better traffic. Try to find someone to carpool with to the office, the gym and even the supermarket; it will be environmentally friendly and save you significant cash.
Think of the shared time as gained time; when you’re not behind the wheel you have time to read, catch up on emails, practice a new knitting technique and more. Take turns driving and make sure everyone in the pool benefits from the shared ride a few times per week, that way it’s both fun and eco-friendly! Plus, if your new year resolutions included reading more – what better time than when you’re stuck in the car?
#5 Bring Your Own Shopping Bags
Again a simple way to move away from wasted plastic and paper is to get a canvas tote bag or reusable grocery bag that folds to a small package and carry that with you. You can take it to more places than the grocery store, for example carrying your own bag for small clothing purchases, drug store trips and more. Go the extra mile and support a local manufacturer of eco-friendly reusable bags, it will complement many of your green new year resolutions!
#6 BONUS: Reduce More than You Reuse and Recycle!
Canadians are generating more waste than they should because they keep buying more, a great way to start the year is to commit yourself to fewer purchases. Set up a goal that requires saving a little, like a weekend trip to the mountains, then give up one thing you don’t really need to save the money for it. You can give up the afternoon latte or sugar fix, instead of buying something new that’s disposable, put the money away for your treat, that way you will have rewarded yourself and done something very kind for the environment.
More eco-conscious consumption helps too! If you absolutely need to buy something new, then try to find environmentally responsible brands that take care of you and the environment. Look for packaging you can recycle and try to get more reusable items.
With these simple tips that anyone can implement right away we will all have a better, healthier and greener 2017. Here’s to your green new year resolutions and to making them into a environmentally conscious revolution!
About The Author
Serial Entrepreneur, Technologist and Inventor my objective is to develop useful products that have a net positive effect in the lives of those that use them and the environment that we live in. CEO of Mission LED Lighting Company Ltd.
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