Eco-Friendly New Years Resolution Ideas

eco friendly ideas

January 1st has come and gone, and the new year has officially begun. A new beginning, a chance to start over and make important decisions and changes. Most of us have ideas of what our new years resolutions are, but some of us are still trying to find great ideas to improve our lifestyle in 2017. From weight loss to happier jobs, there always seems to be a couple of great ideas floating around. Not many people think about sustainable, eco-friendly resolutions, however. Every day, everywhere, there is some way to reduce waste and use resources efficiently. By taking small steps in our daily lives, we can all help reduce the amount of yearly waste produced by humans. Below, we cover a few different ideas that can help get you started in the new year. 

Waste Less

Wasting less covers a wide area of possibilities. It's important to discover where in your life you can afford to waste less, whether it's electricity, water, food, clothes or any other resource.
The average American throws away about 2,000 pounds of trash per year. Now, add that up for the people in your household or even your neighborhood alone. Below we've included some tips to help reduce your household waste.
  • Plan your dinners ahead of time, never purchase foods you don't have a plan for (and never go to the grocery store hungry!)
  • Minimize the products you bring home when you shop. 
  • Cook homemade meals and eat any leftovers. If desired, you can also freeze leftovers to keep them longer.
  • Freeze ripened fruit for smoothies.
  • Organize your pantry with clearly labeled jars. This helps avoid doubling up on spices.
  • Recycle your trash – recycling your used plastics, glass and paper products will help the products be reused.
  • Upcycling is the new trend – upcycling is taking old objects you'd normally toss and making new things with it. Wrap gifts with newspapers, take broken furniture and add on to it to create new furniture pieces, use magazines for wallpaper. The choices are endless! 

Recycle More

Recycling more may or may not be on your resolution list already. If it is, then good. There is an estimate of 14 billion pounds of waste that get dumped into our oceans each year, and every person who recycles helps minimize that waste.
If you're new to recycling, we've included a few tips below to help you get started.
  • Rinse out any soda cans, glass bottles or food containers to avoid attracting bugs.
  • Crush soda cans and break down cardboard boxes to save space.
  • Try to keep cardboard dry and remove any additional packaging whether it's plastic, bubble wrap or packing peanuts.
  • Do not break glass bottles and do not mix colors of broken glass. Many places won't accept broken glass or mixed colored glass.
  • Mail, booklets, food product boxes and books are able to be recycled. Coated products such as wax paper, tissue and carbon paper are not able to be recycled.
  • Make a cheat sheet of recyclable plastics and their codes.
  • Remove lids of plastic containers. 

Conserve Water

Of course, conserving water is one of the easier resolutions for the new year. Conserving water can be an easy task for some aspects of the home, but in others it's hard. Most people value their long showers or baths or don't like the idea of leaving a sink of standing water to do their dishes in. Did you know that most Americans waste over a million gallons of water a year? It's important to help change that. Below we cover a bullet-point list of actions that you can take over the months to lower your water bill, conserve water and minimize your waste!

  • Get your home checked for plumbing leaks.
  • Install low-flush toilets and low-pressure sink faucets.
  • Set your garden sprinklers to activate at night or in the mornings. The sun will evaporate the water before it is utilized if you water your lawn or garden during the day.
  • Minimize your showers to 3-4 minutes. 
  • Minimize your baths to be an occasional treat – baths often take up more water than an average shower.
  • Fill your sink basin with water to rinse dishes, don't leave the water running.
  • Only wash your dishes when the dishwasher is full.

Plant A Tree

Plant A Billion is a natural conservation charity that plants an average of one tree per one dollar donated. Donations may also cover removal of any invasive species that will kill
planted trees, as well as protecting saplings and encouraging the renewal of degraded forests.
The overall goal of Plant A Billion is to plant one billion trees by the year 2025 and restore forests in America, China, and Brazil that have been devastated through either natural or human means. Restoring forests helps naturally filter the air we breathe, produce cleaner water for the planet and regulate global climates. Forests are important for helping stabilize the global ecosystem. This could be big news for our current climate issues.

Of course, if you are looking for an alternative, One Tree Planted is a wonderful alternative and reaches further, giving you the ability to purchase a tree for all four corners of the world: North America, South America, Asia and Africa.
One Tree planted also offers a global forestation map and a variety of resources and information on how you can get involved further in the cause from a simple donation to becoming a Tree Ambassador.