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Jan 05, 2023 • Annie Cao
Happy New Year! The beginning of a new year marks a fresh start, and it’s never too late to start on your sustainability journey! Pick and choose from these 5 eco-friendly resolutions that will cut down on waste and help out the planet.
Did you know that electronic devices and appliances consume 75 percent of their energy when they’re not even on? This is called phantom power or energy vampires. The average home has dozens of items plugged in at any given time, and this adds about 10 percent to your energy bill.
Try: tracking your electricity usage with a monitoring device or by checking your local hydro company’s website. Once you know where your excess energy use is coming from, you can unplug devices that you don’t use often or use power bars with built-in timers for items that need to stay plugged in.
Unplugging mentally is also important! Taking digital breaks will refresh your mind and make you more present in your day-to-day life.
Try: putting your phone away for a day. Spend some time in nature by going on a hike, visiting a park, or gardening. Or plan a day out with friends while actively keep your phone out of sight.
It's almost impossible to avoid waste from everyday purchases, thanks to factors such as excess packaging. But if you want to cut down on waste or even go zero waste, take into consideration what you really need before buying new items.
Try: a waste audit. Collect your waste over a given period of time or track it in a spreadsheet. Then after reviewing everything, figure out ways you can reduce waste or make sustainable swaps.
Food waste makes up 22 percent of municipal solid waste (MSW) in the US, and globally, we produce over 1 billion tons of food waste annually. By changing the way we buy, cook, and dispose of food, we can keep food waste out of the landfill.
Try: shopping at farmers markets, reducing meat intake, turning food scraps into compost, or buying only the amount of food that you need.
Supporting organizations that are fighting for our planet is a good resolution if you feel like you’ve been doing your best but want to help make an even bigger difference. By uniting with other like-minded people, we can make a bigger impact.
If there's an organization you're interested in, make a donation, sign petitions, contact representatives about climate legislations, or volunteer your time on the side!
Try: checking out this article from One Earth to see a list of incredible climate organizations around the world that you can support.
We all probably know someone who likes fast fashion or grabs a cup of coffee every day on the way to work in a single-use plastic cup. Although these choices aren’t 100 percent their fault (corporations are also a big part of the problem!), it wouldn’t hurt to try educating a friend about sustainability. And you can also take it slow – mentioning an upcycling hack or talking about environmental news might pique their interest and inspire them to start their sustainability journey. Like Anne Marie Bonneau from Zero Waste Chef said,
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
What sustainable resolutions are you making this year? Let us know in the comments below!