20 Green Resolutions to Start 2020
2019 brought a wave of awareness to the ‘climate emergency’ we are currently facing with news of the Amazon rainforest fires, the UK having the hottest day on record in July, and fires ripping through the Australian bush. But we also saw a new generation of climate activists protesting and fighting for change.
The new year (and new decade) has us feeling hopeful for permanent, sustainable change. We’ve put together a list of 20 resolutions that we all can commit to that will help us focus on the environment and make real change.
In the bathroom:
- Switch to solid shampoo bars – they use less packaging than liquid shampoo and take up less room in your shower.
- Use biodegradable cotton swabs – most cotton swabs are made of plastic and end up in the landfill or the ocean. Stock up on bamboo and cotton ones instead.
- Recycled toilet paper – Who Gives a Crap is a subscription service that will deliver you recycled toilet paper that comes in packaging that is completely recyclable, as opposed to the plastic that most toilet paper is wrapped in.
- All-natural cleaners – if you don’t have time to make your own, there are options out there that are biodegradable, plant-based and cruelty-free.
- Swap your regular razor for a safety razor – safety razors last a lot longer, saving you money and keeping plastic out of the landfill.
- Don’t buy beauty products or toothpaste that contain phthalate, polyethylene, or polypropylene. They are microplastics that contaminate our environment.
For the kitchen:
- Reusable beeswax food wraps – instead of using foil or plastic wrap – switch to beeswax. They are just as effective, reusable and last up to a year. Once they reach their end of life, they are completely compostable.
- Biodegradable sponges – most sponges end up in the landfill for longer than most of us are alive. Use a sponge that is made from a luffa (loofah) plant. It will last up to a year and you can wash it in the washing machine as needed. Once you’re finished with it, it’s completely compostable.
- Swap tea bags for loose-leaf tea – most tea bags contain plastic, as does the packaging. Avoid the unnecessary waste (and get more flavorful tea) by switching to loose-leaf.
- Keep track of what’s in your fridge – food waste is a significant source of methane – a greenhouse gas.
- Learn how to salvage food before throwing it away – an ice bath can bring crunchy freshness back to wilted lettuce. And a sprinkle of water and some time in the oven can bring stale bread back to soft again.
- Switch from paper towels to reusable, washable towels and napkins.
- Buy a refillable pen – a good pen is a great low-waste option and will last you years, instead of a dried-up, scratchy, disposable one.
- Be a conscious gift giver this year. This one can be tough, especially if you really enjoy giving gifts. Try to focus on things that the recipient would like to do, instead of get. A massage, movie tickets, food, zoo tickets, etc. are all great options.
- Stop chewing gum. Gum is made from polymers, which are synthetic plastics (gross!) and do not biodegrade. There are sustainable options available, but give your jaw a break and just use a mint for the same effect.
- Don’t buy synthetic clothing like nylon, acrylic, or polyester – they have small fibers of plastic that contaminate the environment. If you’re looking for a real challenge – only buy thrifted clothing, or see how long you can go without buying any new clothes (a month? 6? All of 2020?).
- While you are thrifting for clothes – shop second-hand for things like furniture, tools and home décor. You’ll be surprised at the gems you could find for a fraction of the price. You could also try your hand at re-finishing these items and re-selling them.
- Grow your own food. You could start small with herbs in your windowsill or graduate to a flow-blown garden full of fresh food to sustain you for the season. While you’re at it, try your hand at canning so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor year-round. Not only will your food be fresher and zero-waste, but you’ll be cleaning your air – plants intake carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.
- If you are heading on a road trip, picnic, or to the beach, bring an empty jar or bag to use for trash / food scraps. It can be difficult to find trash cans in these types of areas, and you don’t want to leave any behind. Also, if you compost, this is an easy and mess free way to get everything home.
- Challenge yourself to mend and repair what you can before throwing it away. Most fabrics (clothing, camping gear, etc) can be patched and mended. Other items may take a little more elbow grease, but it’s worth the repair effort. YouTube has a video tutorial on pretty much anything if you don’t know where to start.