If part of your new year’s resolutions involves reducing your carbon footprint and being more eco-friendly and eco-aware, there’s never been a better time to do it. From big changes to small changes, there are so many ways you can make changes this year that will benefit the planet and perhaps your health and well-being as well.
Drive Less or Downsize Your Car
If you don’t live in a place where there’s a lot of public transportation, driving less may not be a viable option, but what about taking advantage of new models of compact and environmentally-friendly cars?
There are a lot of great new models on the market, and compact, eco-friendly cars have more safety features every year. Some insurance companies will even offer a discount if you make the change and drive a more environmentally friendly car, or you may find there are tax benefits you can take advantage of.
Cut Down on Your Red Meat Consumption
Cutting down or eliminating your consumption of meat and especially red meat, is often described as one of the best things you can do for the planet.
Farmed meat can lead to a significant environmental footprint. There is deforestation to make room for livestock, and cows also emit methane and create greenhouse gas emissions. The production of meat can cause pollution of waterways and the ocean.
Reducing how much meat you consume can be good for your health and can reduce the likelihood of developing many chronic diseases as well.
This doesn’t mean you have to eliminate meat and animal products altogether, but instead, just try and only have it in a few meals a week. Try to move your diet more in the direction of fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
Composting is a great way to put your food scraps and yard waste to good use. These things make up nearly 30% of what we throw away, and composting keeps these things from filing up our landfills where they then release methane, which is a greenhouse gas.
Composting requires three different components. First, there are browns. These are things from your lawn like twigs, branches, and dead leaves.
Greens can include fruit and vegetable scraps as well as grass clippings and coffee grounds.
Then, you’ll need water.
You should aim to have an equal proportion of browns to greens.
When you compost, it’s good for the environment in terms of reducing what you send to the landfill, but there are other benefits also. For example, composting can help the soil stay healthier, and it reduces your need for chemical fertilizers.
Even if you don’t have a place outdoors for composting, you can buy a special bin at hardware stores so you can do it indoors.
Change How You Buy Clothes
Fashion and especially fast-fashion, is tough on the environment. From the production of the materials used to make the clothes to the clothing manufacturing process, fast fashion is full of waste. Since these items don’t cost much, you might also be throwing them away regularly.
Instead, work on buying less. Shop vintage and second-hand stores or take advantage of the many clothing rental services that are available.
If you are buying items, try and buy natural fibers such as cotton.
Take Advantage of Technology
There is a lot of really unique technology that’s coming onto the market, aiming to help people be greener.
One of the many examples are portable solar lighting systems. There are options that include solar panels, screws, and control boxes so you can use them in small spaces such as your backyard or an RV, and they can also be used if there’s a power outage.
Stop Using Disposable Things
There are so many things we use and then throw away in our daily lives, but there are a lot of new options so that we can reuse them.
Stainless steel straws are a great example. Many restaurants have started banning plastic straws, and you can do the same at home. Plus stainless steel straws look chic and can make a great drink accessory if you’re entertaining.
Another cool option that’s reusable? The Everlast notebook. These are reusable spiral notebooks that have glossy paper. You use special erasable gel pens with them.
Finally, you can now find reusable versions of everyday items like sandwich bags. There are reusable silicone sandwich bags available, and you can clean them in the dishwasher, plus they’re strong enough for the freezer and the microwave.