The New Year is a good time to form new habits and shake off some of the (not so good) old ones. As far as energy efficiency goes, you probably have things you know you should be doing, but for one reason or another you let them slip… You realise it would be cheaper and better for the planet to dry your clothes on a line when possible, and that ideally, you’d switch the lights off every time you leave a room, but sometimes it just seems like too much hassle. I’ve certainly been guilty of the same.
Realistically, it’s not difficult to make little lifestyle changes which cut your bills and put less pressure on the planet. You’ll feel good for it! There are so many ways to save energy, and this is only a starting point (you can find more here on our website). But picking one (or a few of these) should be manageable – and the whole point of New Year’s resolutions is that they are an achievable challenge. There’s no point over-stretching yourself and ending up achieving nothing. So, here are our green New Year’s resolutions:
- Buy less bottled water. Plastic water bottles are sold in huge quantities and a lot of oil goes into making each bottle. The majority of them are not recycled (at least not fully) and they take up loads of space in landill, as they won’t biodegrade for thousands of years. There’s an easy option; buy a resuable BPC-free or stainless steel bottle instead. It means you can always have water when you need it, and there’s the added benefit of avoiding nasty chemicals in the fabric of the bottle. You won’t miss out nutritionally (largely speaking, water is water) and you’ll save yourself a considerable amount of money too.
- Drive less. Take public transport when possible, or walk. You’ll be able to take in your surroundings, keep fit and also save money on petrol.
- Save water. Try to take showers instead of baths, get a water saving head, turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, make sure your toilet has dual-flushing options. Water is precious and in the Western world, many of us are complacent about its ready availability. Huge amounts of water can be wasted through a running (or even dripping) tap.
- Eat less meat and dairy. Cutting down your intake of animal products is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. The mass rearing of animals uses loads of land and water and produces crazy amounts of methane. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to reduce your consumption once you start As well as being friendlier to the planet, it also forces you to think more creatively about what you eat, and up your intake of other healthy food groups. Even doing this one day a week can make a big difference, so for a start, you could try getting involved with Meat Free Monday.
- Recycle! Make the most of household recycling collections, which normally include food, paper, tins, plastic and sometimes glass. All you have to do is put it in a box and they’ll do the rest. It can seem easier to lump it all together in the bin, but once you get into a recycling routine, it’s easy. Don’t be fooled by the old rumour/excuse that ‘it all goes to the same place anyway’. Recycling can make a huge difference to our carbon footprints, with little extra effort. If there are not adequate local recycling collections/facilities, let someone know!
- Avoid fast fashion. Most people choose to blind themselves to the ethical questions surrounding the mass-manufacturing of clothes. Recycling clothes, making your own or buying vintage is a great option in this respect, and it’s better for the environment too. The manufacturing and shipping of these clothes produces vast amounts of greenhouse gas emissions – it’s one of the most pollutive industries in the modern world. Add to this the child labour and dangerous health and safety lapses in factories, and you realise just how much.. probably can’t expect yourself to stop completely, but thinking a bit more about your buying habits is really worthwhile. Also, who wants to have the same clothes as everyone else?
If you’re looking to adopt a new greener lifestyle, these are a good place to start. Happy New Year!