As we all flee 2020, running from the year itself and the food coma we found ourselves in during the festive period, many of us have been writing down our New Year’s Resolutions and/or finalising them late in the day; as I have been!
From getting that beach perfect body, spending time with loved ones to becoming more “David Attenborough”, we all have our aspirations.
If you are like millions of people around the UK who would like to be a little more sustainable, I have collated 10 easy New Year’s Resolutions for living more sustainably in 2021.
The below is not perfect sustainable living, but it is a start!
Whatever colour your bin is and wherever you are in the country recycling should be an easy win. Do not get me wrong, it can be easier said than done; especially when you are unsure of what your council is capable of recycling.
However, resources are available to help understand what your council recycles. A quick postcode check with https://www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling will give you the complete lowdown on your council’s recycling capabilities.
Make sure everyone in the family has a water bottle
Simple and effective. No one needs to go into Boots, Tesco’s, or whichever your choice supermarket is to buy a disposable water bottle.
Say goodbye to single-use plastic bottles with reusable eco-friendly water bottles made by independent UK brands, such as FOSH, LEIHO, and Green Island to name a few.
Use eco-friendly companies
Professionally and personally, we engage with businesses daily. How much do we know about these companies? Very little realistically.
Nothing that a quick Google, or if you are really on the sustainability train, search on Ecosia – a search engine that uses the ad revenue from your searches to plant trees – could fix. Find companies that are more sustainable and reflect your values.
If you are finding yourself stuck, keep an eye out for the businesses we love. Everyone has been audited and meets our definition of a company looking to do good for the world.
Keep reusable bags with you
Rarely a bag for life is a “bag for life”. Not because the UK public are happy to be charged 10p a bag and stock up on them – we have all seen someone leaving a shop looking like they are balancing the world in their arms – but because they do not actually last.
It is fantastic to see Morrisons trialling paper bags at selected stores, with the intention of axing plastic carriers from all its shops but sometimes you need something a little sturdier. Especially during a UK wet winter.
Organic mesh bags and natural jute bags do a fantastic job. Mesh bags allow you to bypass the need to buy veg in plastic bags and the jute bags give you something that lasts.
No need to double-bag alcohol at the counter with a jute bag.
Learn to cook
Looking to be sustainable and have the body of your dreams? Food and nutrition are integral to this.
I do not mean going to the frozen aisle and finding something to put in the oven. I mean getting a list of ingredients, checking out BBC Good food, and making a mess in your kitchen!
Cooking at home is cheaper, healthier, and better for the planet and you can bypass most of the appliances if you’re not comfortable – slow cookers are an eco-friendly way to cook because they do not require high temperatures to cook a meal and use very little power. As well as making life a lot easier when it comes to cooking.
Eat less meat (and buy your meat from a butcher)
The less meat we eat the better it is for the planet, but if you are following more of a flexitarian diet we would encourage you to choose livestock produced by ethical farmers using smaller-scale methods, such as at your local butcher. This means avoiding intensively farmed animals more prevalent at the supermarket chillers.
If you want to step completely into a plant-based diet I would recommend this food guide: https://www.plantpoweredcooking.com/how-to-start-a-plant-based-diet/
However, I know a lot of people, rightly or wrongly so, state they cannot live without meat. Be that because of sporting commitments or personal preference.
Choosing more environmentally-friendly meats like chicken and being careful where your food has been sourced will make a huge difference.
The best way you can do this is research, buy and support your local butcher, avoiding any quality issues you may come across with supermarket meat.
If you want to take the big step to veganism, take a look at our latest article “How to adopt veganism the Veganuary”.
Avoid fast fashion
The fashion police are something I am continually being threatened with but there is very little positive about fast fashion.
Fast fashion is the process of making more affordable clothes. The fashion industry produces 10% of all humanity’s carbon emissions and is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply.
Three things to consider in the New Year to help reduce your fast fashion intake are:
- Can you hire/rent the clothes?
- Can you buy clothes that last from sustainable brands?
- Finally, what is available in charity shops? Even during COVID-19, you can access online charity shops.
Shop locally and sustainably
Local business is at the heart of our community. They’re the backbone of our economy and they’re the “business next door”. By shopping locally you can cut back on travel, encourage local prosperity, and it is easier to understand how/where the product/produce is made.
If you’re unsure what is available locally use something like Google maps. We don’t just mean clothes and food shops. Every company in their own right can be sustainable and can strive towards sustainability.
COVID-19 may have helped us a little here. Only a little though.
Amazon deliveries have taken the place of our little trips to town – the corporate giant has seen a 37% year-on-year increase in its top line for the three-month stretch ending in September and I for one think it’s time to cool down with the buying.
We are increasingly becoming better consumers, which is not a good thing, and if you are to make a purchase make sure you really need it.
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Yes, this really is an easy one to achieve and a little cheeky! Throughout the year we will be promoting sustainability news, how-tos, companies that are leading the way in sustainability, and discounts to eco-friendly businesses.