You do not have to be a fan of making New Year’s Resolutions to make just one new eco-friendly goal for the year!
New Year’s Resolutions get a bad rap. They can be too restrictive or make you feel like a failure. While I am not usually a big New Year’s Resolution-maker, I do like the opportunity to evaluate the past year and consider what I want to do differently the next year.
In that light, maybe this is the year for you to pursue making one change in your life that is a little bit more eco-friendly! One small change to make a difference for the planet by being a little less harmful to the environment.
Here’s a list of some easy sustainable resolutions you might want to try out! Don’t worry, I made sure these eco-friendly resolutions are not overwhelming and are even fun to try.
What is a New Year’s Resolution? Don’t feel restricted by the meaning of a “resolution”. It can just be an agreement you make with yourself to make one change or improvement for the next year.
Looking for guidance on how to easily make your home more eco-friendly? Click the button below for your free room-by-room guide I used to make my own sustainable house:
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7 Green New Year’s Resolution Ideas:
1. Quit One Single-Use Item That You Use The Most:
The most out-spoken suggestion for this is with disposable straws. You can bring a collapsible metal straw with you in your purse or glove box. So that when you eat out at restaurants you can simply say, “no straw, thank you”. When you get iced coffee at the coffee shop, skip the straw and use your own.
Another single-use item idea is those plastic flosser picks you might use to floss every day (or not every day…*cough). About 6 months ago, I switched to biodegradable peace silk floss and just one reusable floss holder and I love them both!
Related: Here’s all of my absolute favorite eco-friendly items I switched to last year.
2. Plant Something:
Make it a literal “green” new year (get it?). This could potentially be the easiest green new year’s resolution since you just have to focus on this one thing – growing a plant.
If you have room in your yard (or house – think olive tree) consider planting a tree! They absorb carbon, produce oxygen, filter pollutants, provide wildlife habitat, reduce erosion, provide shade, and can bring some beauty and joy to your life! What’s not to love?
If not a tree, you could start growing your own herbs on a kitchen windowsill or grow some veggies on the balcony. Growing your own means you can control what chemicals are [not] used on them (aka organic!) and reduce the transportation (and therefore emissions) used to get them. It reduces the packaging needed to sell them in the grocery store. And you get the satisfaction and confidence that comes from growing your own food.
3. Make Gradual Zero-Waste Swaps:
Ok, don’t get turned away by the word “zero-waste” here. If you know anything about this blog, you know I stand for balance. However…this is an extremely sustainable resolution that is actually more do-able and less overwhelming than it seems.
Consider making one zero-waste swap per month. You don’t have to become a “zero-waster”, but choose one thing every month (or every other month if that’s easier) to swap out for a plastic-free or low-waste option. That’s just 12 (or 6 if it’s every other month) sustainable swaps for the whole year and it can happen over time. So you’re not overburdened by your new year’s resolution!
Here’s some low-waste swap ideas: reusable muslin produce bags for the grocery store, bamboo or metal straws, stainless steel tea ball infuser instead of tea bags, reusable k-cups for your Keurig (or the Keurig at work), or bamboo dish brushes.
If you’d like to start making some swaps in your house, start off with this free room-by-room guide of eco-friendly house swaps!
4. Shop at Local Farmers Markets:
This is what I did last year! It wasn’t my New Year’s Resolution but it inadvertently became a sustainable change I made last year when my friend challenged me to it. Shopping at your local farmer’s market supports the local economy and cuts down on your food’s transportation footprint and your environmental impact among other benefits.
My friend and I committed to going to the farmer’s market once a month last year. We like to be inspired by the unique locally-grown foods. One year we discovered romanesco (literally a new food for us like Kevin from The Office trying broccoli for the first time)!
Locally-grown food means that you’re supporting your local farmer and economy. It means your food hasn’t been transported from far away or excessively packaged for the grocery store. It often means the food is organic too.
We bring our own grocery bags and reusable water bottles to the farmer’s market. It’s also a fun environment to shop in! We made a tradition of sharing a cup of seasonal ginger beer at one of the stands (my favorite is the hibiscus flavor) and sipping it while we walk around.
5. Reduce Your Red Meat Consumption:
I remember learning many times in my environmental college classes that beef requires the most amount of water per pound of meat than any other type of meat. Not to mention cows produce the most greenhouse gasses (methane burbs lol).
The way I try to have more eco-friendly meals in my house is to aim for one night a week that is vegetarian and one night a week that is salmon! You can adopt the names “Meat-Free Mondays” or “Salmon Sundays” for this green resolution.
To make it even better, make sure your fish is wild-caught for less contaminants and less environmental impact. If you can’t commit to a meatless meal, consider eating more chicken than beef (anyone else thinking of Chick-Fil-A now?) or buying local grass-fed beef.
6. Get Out In Nature:
I love this idea for a sustainable new years resolution! Make a goal of some kind to get out in nature more often, whether that’s visiting nearby parks, becoming a member at the botanical garden, or going on a walk at least once a week!
I think this will be my green new year’s resolution this year. I wonder if I can visit all of the parks in my city by the end of the year…
I don’t know about you, but getting outside is just good for my soul. It gives me a sense of freedom and changes up my predominantly-indoor routine (house, workplace, grocery store, etc).
Maybe this New Year’s Eve you’ll decide that for the next 12 months you will explore a new outdoor location. Make the effort to go to your local beach, lake, or river. Or go on a picnic, camping, hiking, or stargazing.
If these are too difficult for you, you could even “camp” in your backyard. This is a fun sustainable resolution that can lift your mood and boost your appreciation for and connection with the natural world.
7. Reduce Your Paper Towel Use:
One day I just decided I did not want to use paper towels so darn much! This is a truly sustainable resolution because paper is such a contributor to our landfills!
The first sustainable swap I recommend for an eco-friendly kitchen unpaper towels. I wrote an easy tutorial for exactly how I made my own unpaper towels here.
But you could also just reduce your paper towel usage by buying the paper towels that divide into smaller sheets, called “select-a-size”. Or use disposable paper towels less by using a lid or plate to cover your food in the microwave instead of a paper towel. Or simply switch to cloth napkins during meals and throw them in the laundry pile after dinner.
If you want guidance on how to easily make your home more eco-friendly, check out the room-by-room guide below:
What sustainable resolution are you making this year?!
I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Happy New Year,