While not everyone makes “resolutions” for the New Year, almost all of us make some sort of plans, or set goals, as to what we want to accomplish in the upcoming year. Even if you’ve already laid out your plans and are making progress on your goals, we’ve got five sustainable resolutions worth adding to your list. These resolutions are easy to implement, good for you and beneficial to the environment as well. Doing these is a win-win-win all around.
1. Figure Out How to Walk More and Drive Less
It is not uncommon for people to become dependent on their vehicles as their primary source of transportation. This year, we’d like you to figure out how to walk more and drive less. Even if it’s just in a few instances, we believe the more you think about it, the more you’ll find ways to ditch your vehicle in favor of walking, biking, skating and using other forms of transportation.
For example, if you have a store nearby, why not grab a few reusable bags and walk down there with the family? You can do your grocery shopping then share the load by each carrying a bag of groceries home. If you live close to your kids’ schools, you can walk with them to and from school instead of driving them. Even if you plan to go to the movies, you can always walk down to a local bus stop and take the bus to the mall or movie theater. Figuring out ways to ditch your vehicle will save you money and gasoline, as well as help lower the harmful emissions your vehicle releases into the environment.
Another way to help the environment and live a little more sustainable, at least when it comes to your vehicle, is to use a product like Biofriendly Corporation’s Green Plus smog reducer. With over 20 billion miles of use and thousands of hours of certified testing, it’s a simple way to fight air pollution and cut toxic emissions by an estimated 25 percent.
2. Eat More Home-Made Organic Food and Spend Less Time Eating Out
Eating out can be extremely costly. It can also have quite an impact on the environment, particularly when you opt for take out. Take out meals generally require the use of Styrofoam containers, plastic utensils, plastic straws and other types of one-use packaging. There is also no guarantee the food you are eating is organic or made with quality ingredients. Eating at home means you can make your own food to your exact liking.
If you minimize the amount of processed foods you buy, it also means you will know exactly what’s in your food, where your food came from and you’ll avoid all the unnecessary packaging. Making home-made, organic meals is one way to be certain you are eating well. Shopping smart means you’ll be able to lessen the harmful chemicals and toxins you ingest too.
Eating home-made, organic food and spending less time eating out is a sustainable life change we all should make.
3. Spend More Time Outdoors in Nature
By making some subtle changes in your life, you can easily arrange to spend more time outdoors in nature. Spending more time outdoors is good for your health, can help you clear your mind, reduce stress levels and allow you to reconnect with nature. Start out by going out for a daily walk. Maybe you and the family could go out during the day to have a little scavenger hunt or at night to look at the stars. You can build up to a weekly hike or bike ride, if you aren’t doing so already. Explore your city, local park or nearby National Park…the point is to just unplug and get outdoors.
If you really want to spend more time outdoors in nature, plan a long hike or camping trip. Now I’m not really talking about the kind of camping trip where you stay in a cabin or RV, I mean real tent camping or sleeping under the stars camping. You can even do this in the comfort of your own backyard.
But even if you don’t have the time or money to head out for a camping trip, there are 17 Science-Backed Benefits of Working Outdoors. So make sure you don’t allow yourself to be stuck at your desk or computer all day long. Taking a short, daily walk or spending some time in the open air can improve a person’s memory, boost energy and creativity, improve mood and lower blood pressure.
4. Make and Use More Natural Products
How much money do you spend on store-bought, chemical-laden bath products, cleaning supplies and air fresheners? Probably way more than you should. You can’t really keep yourself, or your home, healthy and clean by using potentially harmful chemicals and toxins. I mean, take a look at the ingredients in your shampoos, soaps and bath products. Do you really want to use those on your body? Probably not, especially when there are natural alternatives you can choose. You probably don’t want to use many of “cleaning” products you’ve got under your sink either.
If you want your home to smell nice, figure out ways to bring about your favorite scents naturally. If you want to clean your counters, furniture, bathrooms, kitchen and other areas of your home, adding chemicals is not the way to go. Instead of buying your shampoos, soaps, deodorants, air fresheners, cleaning supplies, etc. from the store, how about making your own natural products or finding organic products you can use. You probably have the makings for some really effective and organic cleaning products in your cupboards right now. Check out these natural, organic DIY cleaning supply recipes and see what you can put together. Need some cleaner, greener body care products? Try these natural, toxin-free, vegan products from notoxlife or these healthy, environmentally-safe and cruelty-free products from Lemon & Lei. You can also find countless recipes online to help you make your own natural bath products, if you’d prefer to do that.
5. Opt for Reusable Over Single- and One-Use As Much As Possible
As of January 1st, California became the first state to ban full-service restaurants from automatically giving customers straws with their drink orders. Although the law doesn’t entirely ban straw use, it does make it so diners have to specifically ask for a straw if they want to use one. Hopefully this will get people thinking twice before they automatically ask for straws when they do go out to eat. It’s one of those decisions where people can opt for reusable (bring their own stainless steel, glass or wood straws) instead of giving into disposable single- and one-use items.
Other ways you can choose reusable are by using stainless steel water bottles or bringing your own coffee mug to work. Don’t be afraid to wash dishes and flatware. It’s a much more sustainable option than buying single-use paper plates, plasticware and other items only to toss them when you’re done. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store. Choose environmentally-friendly, multi-use covers for your containers rather than plastic wrap or throw away options. Simply put, we recommend you choose earth-friendly over “convenience” every time. It’ll be much more sustainable and convenient in the long run.
If we all resolve to make a few sustainable changes in our lives, we can save money, protect the environment and live healthier lives. Sounds like a good resolution to me!