The New Year is a great time to kick those bad habits and make a fresh start. Common New Year’s resolutions include getting fit or starting a new hobby, but it’s also a great time to introduce some eco-friendly changes. Living a more sustainable, greener lifestyle is better for the planet, but it’s also healthier and can often save you money too! And you don’t need to make any huge life style changes to start seeing the benefits. Keep reading to learn more about our top 20 sustainable New Year’s resolutions for 2022.
1. Ditch the single use plastic: Carry reusable alternatives
Single use plastics are the number 1 items to end up in landfill or the environment. Flexible plastics are hard to recycle and not collected by most local councils. Do your wallet and the planet a favour and swap those single use essentials for reusables. At Reuseabox we all carry a reusable water bottle wherever we go!
2. Try Meatless Mondays
The food we eat has a huge impact on the planet. According to the UN FAO meat production is responsible for around 14.5% of global emissions. But that doesn’t mean you have to go vegan overnight. Try avoiding meat just one day a week or plan your meals to include some vegetarian options. If you’re feeling more adventurous, try signing up to Veganuary!
Don’t forget about Dairy!
Dairy cows produce large volumes of damaging greenhouse gases. Try a milk alternative such as oat or soya. Check out this recipe on how to make your own!
3. Buy Second Hand Clothing
Fast fashion is unethical and outdated. The process of creating clothing is environmentally wasteful and damaging. From the water needed to grow the cotton, the fabric dyeing processes that pollute waterways across to the world, the carbon emissions produced from transporting our garments, to the microplastics released each time we wash our clothes. According to Oxfam, around 11 million pieces of clothing are thrown away every single week in the UK alone!
The most sustainable way to shop is to wear something you already own. On average we buy around 30-40 items of clothing each year. Most of us lose track of how many clothes we have. Spend some time re-organising your wardrobe. You might re-discover a favourite jumper you’d forgotten about. If you really need something new, try shopping second hand from charity shops or sites such as Vinted.
4. Hang dry your laundry
Tumble dryers need a lot of energy, making them expensive and bad for the planet. January might be cold and dark, but Spring is just around the corner! Clothes aired outside smell fresher and dry for free! You’ll also feel better for spending a little more time outside each day.
5. Use eco-friendly cleaning products
Swap single use sponges for reusable, washable ones. Instead of throwing away your empty cleaning containers, buy refillable cleaning products. We love the plant based, non toxic cleaning products from Ocean Saver.
6. Remember your shopping bag!
A staggering 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide every year. Most end up in landfill or the environment. Invest in a good quality reusable shopping bag that can be reused again and again.
7. Stop wasting food
According to UNEP 931 million tonnes of food is wasted each year. If food waste were a country, it would be the third biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Estimates suggest that food waste accounts for between 8 and 10% of global emissions.
Reducing food waste is probably the easiest way to go greener in 2022. Try to buy fresh food little and often to reduce the likelihood of it going bad before it gets eaten. Or why not try buying from food waste charities and get low cost supermarket food that has been rescued from the waste stream.
Save leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch or get creative with some new dishes! Bread, butter, grated cheese and most vegetables can be frozen, as well as meat, fish and even milk! Though ensure you only freeze milk for a maximum of 1 month.
8. Banish Energy Vampires!
Energy vampires quietly suck energy and cost you money! Your microwave, pc monitor, games console, smart home devices and even your kettle all consume energy when they’re in standby mode. Save energy and money by turning off devices at the plug socket when you’re not using them.
9. Drive Less
An easy way to cut your emissions is to drive less. If you live in a city, opt for public transport or use a bike to travel short distances. If you live in a more rural area, try carpooling with colleagues.
10. Spend more time in nature
When we spend more time in nature, it’s easier to appreciate the smaller things in life. Go for a woodland walk or try hiking in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The National Trust have plenty of protected areas that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
11. Start a garden
Getting outside and growing your own is a great way to get active. What better way to be more sustainable than by growing your own fruit and vegetables! The food we buy from supermarkets has often been flown in from abroad, travelling thousands of miles to get to us. It’s also covered in pesticides and other harmful chemicals to keep it fresher for longer. Even if you don’t have a garden you can still grow pepper plants or tomatoes using a sunny windowsill. Food you grow yourself will taste better and stay fresher for longer.
12. Buy less stuff
The easiest way to go greener in 2022 is to buy less stuff. Over consumption is killing the planet. Before you buy something in 2022 ask yourself, do I really need this? If the answer is yes, buy from second hand sites such as Preloved, Vinted or Shpock.
13. Buy from sustainable brands
As we head into 2022 there are plenty of brands putting purpose before profit. Do your research and buy from brands who are actively making a difference. We love brands such as Tony’s Chocolonely, Toast Ale and Patagonia, an outdoor clothing brand who donates 1% of their annual profits to charities.
14. Use less water
Many of us don’t realise just how much water we use each day. Saving water helps the environment by reducing the energy needed to process, clean and distribute it. Take quick showers instead of baths, run a whole load in the dishwasher instead of washing by hand and install a water butt in your garden to use excess rainwater for watering the plants.
15. Start buying reusable products
Reusable products are a great way to reduce waste, helping to reduce the Global Waste Crisis. From reusable razors, make up remover pads to beeswax food wraps. You can even buy your weekly shop in reusable containers thanks to Loop.
16. Learn how to recycle properly
Many of us are guilty of ‘wishcycling’ as we shove all manner of packaging into the recycling bin and simply hope for the best. Ensure you put the right materials in your recycling bin to avoid contaminating recyclable materials. Your local council will have a recycling guide on their website detailing what they do and don’t accept.
17. Upcycle or donate
While the New Year is often a time of change, instead of throwing out all those unwanted items, try giving them a new lease of life. Try re-painting an old table or donate last year’s clothes to your local charity shop.
18. Join like-minded groups
Join your local community of like-minded environmentalists. Support a plastic free community in the fight against single use plastic or help plant trees by volunteering with an environmental charity.
19. Switch to soap bars
Switch to bars of soap for a super easy way to eliminate plastic soap bottles from your house. You can also buy bar shampoo and conditioners to cut down on plastic waste in the bathroom.
20. Plant a tree
Planting trees is one of the most effective ways of caring for our environment and planning for a more sustainable future. Trees provide habitats for local wildlife and as they grow, they capture and store carbon. Plant a tree in your own garden or volunteer with a local tree planting charity and get involved in some large scale tree planting efforts.
It’s easier than you might think to go green in 2022. We think there’s something for everyone in our top 20 sustainable new year’s resolutions. From making your home more sustainable, engaging in conscious consumerism to getting outside in nature and growing your own fruit and veg. If you’re looking for more sustainable packaging for your business, Reuseabox provide once used cardboard boxes in a range of designs and sizes.