Sustainable Resolutions: 19 Green Ideas for the New Year

Hands holding a little plant in soil

What exactly are green and sustainable resolutions? There are some actions that can be taken every day to reduce our carbon footprint on the environment and its resources. If you are looking for ways to minimize your environmental impact and aren’t sure where to start, then keep on reading. Here are some practical ideas for sustainable resolutions this year to get you going:

White Post-it note with-reduce reuse recycle written on it

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The only motto you need is: Reduce, reuse, recycle. It’s a motto that can be applied to every aspect of your life (work, home, shopping…):

Look for ways to consume less; it could be something as simple as printing on both sides of the paper or buying just the amount of groceries you need and reducing food waste.

Care for your items: make sure to take care of your items, whether it’s your clothes, electronics or books, you can prolong the life of each and every item you own. One of the easiest sustainable resolutions, don’t you think?

Recycle, recycle, recycle: follow a recycling program to create less waste in landfills. Paying attention just to this point will cause a sustainable resolution for your life and environment.

Buy food with less packaging

First of all, buying in bulk results in less packaging. Secondly, if you choose to buy at a local farmers market or local shops, you can escape the marketing tricks happening in classic supermarkets and therefore, buy only what you need. Plus local farmer’s markets mostly offer fresh ingredients without packaging, so you automatically create less waste. It’s a win-win-win situation: you will save money, eat fresher food and create less waste. Read up on how to be a more sustainable shopper.

Take reusable bags shopping

By using reusable bags, you will conserve resources, decrease pollution, avoid recycling problems, protect wildlife and save money. Pro tip: always keep one reusable bag in your handbag or keep your reusable bags close to your front door. That way it will be easier for you to remember to bring reusable bags with you when you go shopping.

 Hand of a person picking up a romanesco among other vegetables in a well-stocked stand

Turn off lights in rooms that aren’t being used

Seems like a no-brainer, but most of us actually forget to do that one simple action. Turning off the lights help save energy and money. Besides that, turning off your lights reduces carbon emissions and other greenhouse gasses. Hence, it is a simple way to help protect the environment and save the planet.

Turn off electrical items when not in use, e.g., laptops, TV

Turning off your electronics when you’re not using them could save you up to $200 a year. Energy and money savings aside, there’s another upside to keeping appliances unplugged while not using them: it’s the safest way to protect against power surges; unless you have a whole-home surge protection system or individual surge protectors all over your house.

Turn the tap off

By turning the tap off while brushing your teeth, washing your hands/dishes and taking a shower, or other same daily routines; conserve a large amount of water every month.

Refill water bottles

From the production of single-use plastic bottles to where they inevitably end up, there’s not much going for them. Investing in a reusable water bottle surely helps the environment. By reducing plastic, saving money, and combating climate change.

Stop using single-use plastic straws

Plastic waste is one of the biggest environmental challenges in the world. Single-use straws are used for a few minutes and then discarded, where they’ll remain in the environment indefinitely. Plastic straws are lightweight and easily blown down drains and into waterways, rivers, and oceans. They can become stuck in the airways of animals, or if mistaken for food and ingested can be fatal. You can use sustainable alternatives, like metal straws, paper straws, glass, or silicone straws.

Put on extra layers instead of turning on the heating

During the colder months of the year, it can be tricky to stay warm without cranking up the heat; dressing in layers is the key! Everyone knows you should add a sweater, jacket, and other layers when you go outside in cold weather. You can apply the same method inside, too. Layers will insulate your body and make it easier to regulate your body temperature. In this way, you can add or remove layers as needed to stay comfortable. Wearing thick socks or slippers keeps your feet warm, which will make your whole body feel warmer.

Eat less meat

Not necessarily becoming veggie or vegan, but consider curbing your meat consumption. Look for organic meat to help mitigate some of the planetary problems associated with meat. Also, plan for trying a vegetarian diet: you’ll have the satisfaction of healthier meals and lowering your personal global warming footprint. Eat more Falafel 😉

Hands of two people cooking vegetables together

Lower the heating when you leave the house

Turning your heat on and off is not cost-effective at all, since your system will have to work extra hard for an extra long to get the temperature back up. If you turn off the heating system, everything in the house cools off, including furniture, floors, and walls. Then after coming back home, it has to heat all that back up in order to maintain a comfortable temperature. So, turn down your heating system (no matter which kind they are) when leaving home to take advantage of both saving energy and having a pleasant temperature at home. Here’s a great article you can read to give you some more ideas on how to make your home more sustainable.

Reuse leftover foods, fruit, and vegetable

Leftover food is one of the biggest sources of waste for many of us. They get lost in a cluttered refrigerator, we don’t know how to use them, or we just aren’t in the mood for a mealtime rerun. Here at faircado, we have amazing suggestions to reuse the leftovers:

  • Don’t throw them out; whether you’re eating at home or out at a restaurant, don’t let leftover edible food go to waste in the trash. At restaurants, get a to-go box, or better, bring your own container. After a home-cooked meal, pack up the leftovers and get them into the fridge after everyone has filled up. Label the leftovers and store them in a place in the fridge where you won’t forget about them.
  • Make them tomorrow’s lunch; saving leftovers is a quick way to pack a low-effort lunch. Just pop them into the container, and you’re ready to go! If there is not enough food for a full meal, pack an extra snack or aside.
  • Reinvent them; get creative in the kitchen! Leftover vegetables are easily combined or baked into new dishes. Reinvent grains and meats into fried rice, scrambles, and soups.
  • Freeze them; by freezing the leftovers, you’ll thank yourself when you have a busy schedule and no time to make a meal. Just be sure to label your container.
  • Prevent them; if you really hate leftovers, make an effort to avoid them in the first place by matching the amount of food you cook or buying the amount of food you eat

Use colder washing cycles

Generally speaking, cold wash cycles are best for delicate, colored, and normally soiled clothing; warm water is best for more soiled clothing and whites; and hot water is best for very soiled clothing or for loads, like underwear and towels, where you want to remove germs and allergens. By following this point, you will both save energy and get better results.

Take shorter showers

Knowing that conserving energy keeps utility bills down and limits our use of fossil fuels, how does water factor in? Remember that it takes energy to treat, transport, and heat water, so it’s a good idea to use as little as possible to limit the power you use to get it.

Use your car less

The first step to making any change in life is learning more about what you are currently doing. Think about your lifestyle and imagine your carbon footprint and pollution created by using a personal car. Employees who drive to and from work produce a substantial amount of air pollution. If you live in a large city with busy streets and sidewalks, and you do not feel comfortable riding a bike around town during rush hour, you may use public transportation for situations.

Shop second-hand e.g., clothes

There are plenty of reasons why you should buy second-hand clothing, many of which actually benefit you personally and also have great positive effects on the environment; making it a win-win game.

To easily shop your second-hand outfit, download Faircado. It’s one of the best platforms for shopping second-hand online with many available options where you can compare the prices. Faircado gives you all the information you need to make better, more sustainable purchase decisions every day. At Faircado, there is zero room for little tricks, arrangements, or conflicts of interest. It’s a great feeling shopping secondhand, knowing that you’re helping the environment, and practicing slow fashion while also simplifying your life.

Grow your own vegetables

Much of the food we eat daily has traveled hundreds of kilometers to reach us. The carbon emissions from transport and refrigerated storage are significant contributors to climate change. Creating a small garden at home is a simple and effective way to reduce your impact on the environment. There is a great pleasure in growing your own food; while picking your veggie for dinner. You’ll also enjoy the taste of pesticide-free and truly fresh food.

Never use takeaway coffee cups

Bringing your own reusable cup is clearly the best choice. They kill no trees; they generate no waste and they don’t leach any chemicals into the beverage. Most coffee shops even give you a discount if you bring your own cup. You can choose from ceramic, glass, or stainless steel, all of which look great on your way to work. Besides, you also make a statement that you care about the environment, inspiring others to follow. Pro-tip for all of you living in Germany: a lot of coffee shops offer reusable cups called Recup. How does it work? Order a to-go drink in a reusable cup (i.e. Recup), pay a €1 deposit, return the cup to the shop next time and get your deposit back. Pretty sweet sustainable resolutions, huh?

Upcycle furniture

Upcycling means the act of taking something that is no longer in use; and giving it a second life and new function. The environmental benefits of upcycling furniture are huge, as it reduces the number of items that are discarded and taken to landfills every year. It also reduces the need to produce new materials and products.

All these steps result in a reduction in air pollution, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. Happy New Year to everybody, let’s make 2023 a greener one by setting sustainable resolutions.