One of the joys of ringing in the new year is starting your year on the right foot with some New Year’s resolutions. Many people opt to lose weight, get better organized, budget their money better, or do more to live their lives fully. Those are all great ideas if you feel those are areas you need to improve, but for 2019, we’re thinking about eco friendly resolutions.
You don’t have to drop a lot of cash on solar panels or buy a new electric car in order to lead a more environmentally friendly life. Often times, taking on a few smaller challenges is easier to accomplish and therefore more sustainable in the long run. Easy changes to eco friendly alternatives are less likely to be abandoned than tough ones! Here are 10 simple eco friendly New Year’s resolutions for 2019.
1. Stop using toxic household cleaners
How safe are store-bought cleaners? And how trustworthy are cleaning supplies branded as being “green”? Cleaners that contain chemicals like ammonia, toluene, and chlorine can be harmful when absorbed through the skin or breathed in. Many “green” cleaners don’t contain these chemicals, but laws around “trade secrets” allow manufacturers to hide some of the ingredients contained in their cleaners! It can be hard to know for sure what you’re getting.
Instead of buying store-bought cleaners, consider making them yourself. Vinegar is a perfectly adequate multi-surface cleaner, and we’ve got a simple recipe for effective and inexpensive laundry soap for you to try too.
2. Hang your clothes to dry
Winter is a tough time to get into hang drying your clothes. Many places experience extreme cold that makes it just about impossible to hang your clothes outside. But even just picking up a small indoor drying rack and using it for one load a week can help save a lot of energy and reduce your carbon footprint. Plus it’ll help your clothes last longer!
3. Ditch the car
Cars make everything so much easier, but transportation accounts for over 30% of carbon emissions in the United States alone! Challenge yourself to have a car-free day, where getting around involves walking or biking. You can help reduce carbon pollution, ease the issue of local traffic, and it’s healthy for you to get outside and move your body too!
4. Say no to cheap clothes and “fast fashion”
Inexpensive clothing can certainly be enticing, but clothes that are cheap to you bring with them a cost that you might not immediately see. The fast fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Many fast fashion retailers use laborers who are paid and treated unfairly, unsustainable materials, and highly toxic synthetic dyes. When considering clothing shopping for 2019, look for garments with an ethical supply chain and ones that are made of sustainable materials. You could maybe have a look at our ethically crafted, sustainable clothes on our website, www.tentree.com!
5. Bring your own bottle
The bottled water industry is a seriously wasteful one. Did you know that the oil used to manufacture and transport single-use plastic bottles could fuel up about a million cars? All that oil just for some bottled water! Instead of picking up a single-use plastic bottled beverage, bring your own refillable water bottle with you. And if you love planting trees, check out our reusable water bottles. 10 trees get planted for each one purchased!
6. Cook more at home
Eating out is definitely the more expensive and less healthy option, but nine times of out ten, it’s the more wasteful option as well. If you do eat out, try to order locally sourced food and, when taking home your leftovers, bring your own container instead of using a polystyrene container. Polystyrene, otherwise known as Styrofoam, is not often or easily recycled. Bringing your own container helps reduce the waste from eating out.
7. Bring reusable shopping bags
If you’ve ever been out walking and found yourself looking at a plastic bag stuck in a tree flapping in the wind, chances are, you live somewhere that hasn’t banned plastic bags yet. But don’t fret! While your city, county, or state may not have said no to plastic bags yet, you can. Instead of using single-use plastic bags, consider bringing your own cloth bag. Pro tip: give them a run through your washer every few times you go shopping. Like your clothes, your cloth bag gets dirty sometimes!
8. Try to eat organic
Organic food can be more expensive, so no sweat if you can’t swing it, but if you can, try to eat organic. Organic foods cannot be grown with pesticides and other chemicals that can end up poisoning groundwater and leaving the soil depleted of vital nutrients. If you want some extra credit, buy local too!
9. Plan a spring garden
Plant-based foods are often heralded as having a low carbon footprint compared to meat, but they do still sometimes have a considerable footprint depending on how far they’ve been shipped in order to get to you. Start thinking about planting a spring vegetable garden. This will drastically reduce your food’s footprint.
10. Stop plastic microfiber shedding
In recent years, we’ve learned more about how our clothing sheds tiny fibers, called “microfibers,” into waterways, causing issues for aquatic ecosystems. The truth is, all clothing sheds fiber, be it cotton, hemp, tencel, or polyester. But polyester really poses the greatest threat. By washing your clothing in a Guppy Friend bag, you can almost completely eliminate the fibers that your clothing sheds into waterways.