Sometimes keeping New Year’s resolutions can be hard, but here are five easy resolutions that will not only improve your life but also help the environment as well.
Switch to green cleaning routines
Many cleaning products contain harsh chemicals which negatively affect indoor air quality and harm aquatic life when they end up in waterways. One resolution to help the environment and to save you money is to use green cleaning products, most of which can be found in your kitchen. Everyday items such as baking soda, lemon juice, olive oil and white vinegar can be used as stain removers, disinfectants, furniture polish or all-purpose cleaners.
Use less single-use plastic
We all know that single-use plastics are not great for the planet; even if we recycle them, the majority don’t get reused. Globally, the production of plastics leads to annual carbon emissions equal to that of 189 coal-fired power stations. Scientists have also predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish, so cutting down on single-use plastics in 2022 will be a great change to make. Some ways that you can do this include:
- Buying a reusable water bottle – 2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown away every hour across the world with the majority of these ending up in waterways or in landfill. By buying a reusable water bottle you can save money and reduce the amount of plastic bottles being thrown away.
- Using Reusable Straws – Plastic straws make up 99% of all the straws produced in the world, with millions of plastic straws being used every day. However, these are often too small to be picked up by the recycling machines and they end up in oceans and landfill. Buying a reusable straw such as a metal or durable plastic one will cut down on hundreds of plastic straws a year.
- Ditching disposable wipes – Wipes such as makeup or household cleaning wipes are not biodegradable, and it can take over 100 years for just one to even start to break down. They also often get flushed down the toilet and clog the sewer systems. Buying reusable cotton pads or cloths will save money on wipes – and save the wipes from polluting the earth.
Eat less meat
A common New Year’s resolution is to go vegan, especially with Veganuary right around the corner. Consuming less meat has many benefits to both your health and to the planet. For instance, eating less meat could help to ease world hunger. Around 80% of the world’s agricultural land is used for raising or feeding livestock, which produces less than 20% of the world’s supply of calories. If more agricultural land was used for crops, legumes, fruit and vegetables, it would be easier to provide the growing global population with nutritious food.
Beef and lamb take up the most land per gram of protein, and also require more water and energy to produce, giving them each some of the highest carbon footprints per types of protein. It can be quite hard to give up meat completely, but even swapping meat out from one or two meals a week can make a big difference.
Leave the car at home
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get more exercise, then leaving the car at home as much as possible is a great place to start. Walking, cycling or taking public transport are better alternatives for the environment, with walking and cycling being beneficial for your health. Cars and taxis alone are responsible for around 15% of global emissions and choosing other methods of transport instead of taking the car will prevent an average of 16 tonnes of CO2 from being released to the environment per person. So, by opting to leave the car at home for shorter journeys you can help your own goals as well as helping the planet.
Make your home greener
There are many ways that you can reduce your energy usage by making some changes at home.
- Switch to LED lightbulbs – Changing your halogen lightbulbs to LED bulbs will lower your energy usage as well as save you money. LEDs are more energy efficient than halogen bulbs consuming 85% less energy, and not emitting as much waste heat energy. As they last a lot longer than halogen bulbs, LEDs will save you money in the long run.
- Insulate your home – On average, an uninsulated house loses around 70% of its heat from the roof, walls and windows. By installing insulation into the roof cavity reduces heat loss by 75%, meaning the house will remain warmer and your heating bills will be lower.
- Get a smart meter – Smart meters automatically tell your energy company how much energy you are using, helping to save you money by only paying for what you use. Read our blog post on smart meters to find out more.
- Switch to 100% renewable electricity – One way to help to reduce carbon emissions is by switching to 100% renewable electricity. This means the energy is generated through the power of wind, water, or solar, rather than using fossil fuels such as coal or gas. Current conditions in the energy market mean that a number of energy suppliers aren’t taking on new customers at the moment. But when they do, switching to a 100% renewable supplier is one of the quickest and simplest ways you can make life greener.