The end of the year is the time to reflect on old habits and find new ways to improve your lifestyle. This is why so many people dedicate themselves to New Year’s Resolutions in January in hopes to make the next year better than the previous one. An idea we love is to focus on eco-friendly changes you can make, not only to better yourself but the planet as well. Do you have anti-environmental habits you want to kick in 2020? If so, then read below on the new habits you can begin to make your world a little more green!
Skipping coffee and meat
These two habits are likely items you consume on a daily basis; who knew something so common could be a bad thing for the environment? The negative environmental impacts of growing coffee beans and raising animals for food are vast.
Let’s start with coffee, which uses rainwater and natural sunlight to be grown. This sounds great, however, trees get cut down at an alarming rate in areas where coffee plants can thrive. Lack of trees means the loss of habitats for wildlife, as well as decreased oxygen and soil health, ultimately making the land more susceptible to the lasting negative effects of climate change. If you’re spending $5 every day to get coffee from a giant coffee corporation, consider spending that money on going to a grocery store and seeking out organic, fair-trade beans instead.
Farming produce versus raising livestock and meat production were recently studied. The study compares the emissions of greenhouse gases and water usage between the two, stating that meat consumption around the world should drop by 50 percent. However, the most important takeaway from this finding is that everyone try their best to do their part, even if you can’t get to a 50% reduction. If you eat meat daily, try to omit it from one meal every day, or omit it completely one day a week.
Managing your plastic use
It’s easy to let your daily plastic use become almost mindless. Start this year by journaling your plastic usage and write down every time you use plastic every day for a month. You’d be shocked with what you find! Plastic cutlery at lunch, single-use water bottles, straws, contact lenses, skin care products, make-up, cleaning products… Honestly the list could be endless over the course of a month of journaling. Here are some easy ways to remedy some of those uses:
New Year’s resolutions should be attainable and sustainable for your lifestyle, so even replacing one of these items to start can make a lasting difference in your life.
Reducing daily paper use
Just like single-use plastic, paper usage should be tracked as well. Although paper isn’t as damaging to the environment as plastic, there are still so many times we use it in a single day. Napkins, tissues, note-taking, paper towels, cleaning wipes… Again, a likely endless list. An easy swap is to carry a cloth napkin around with you when you leave the house. This new habit can help you cut down on using single-use napkins and paper towels when you dry your hands at work or when out to eat; it seems like our grandparents had it right when they carried around a handkerchief to blow their nose or wipe their mouths! If you have a couple on hand to swap out and wash regularly, you lower the risk of those sickly germs spreading around.
Driving your car less
If you own and drive a car that runs on gas, you can lower your carbon footprint by making it a habit to drive it less. Living in a big city, driving probably isn’t a part of your daily life. Still, make a point to take the train or bus to work and ride your bike or walk to get groceries. However, if you live in a small town or city, this can be a more difficult task. If there is public transportation, then commit to taking it one day a week or one week of the month instead of driving to cut down on your gas usage. You can also carpool with a coworker! Swap on and off driving with a coworker (or two or three!) that you live near to reduce all of your carbon footprints and money spent on gas! Imagine the money you’d save on gas not driving to work for a whole week… Finally, if you’re running errands close to your home, consider riding your bike or walking instead. Sometimes it’s a habit to just hop in your car and go but it’s better for your health and the planet to consider other options!
Luckily, there are many ways to adjust your lifestyle to stop habits that are bad for the environment and the resources online can be a big help. People all over the world are looking to do the same and are sharing their experiences and new habits of living a greener life online. If you feel like breaking your habits in 2020 will be hard, then enlist the help of others! It’s possible that your family, friends, or coworkers will have the same goals as you for the new year so strive to make a change together.