Phew. In the midst of the mayhem of coronavirus, Trump, Boris, Brexit et al, you could be forgiven for forgetting an even more serious, impending doom.
But climate change is the most pressing, concerning issue of our time, with extreme weather events continuing to wreak havoc on the planet in 2020. To make matters worse, the global pandemic has caused governments to defer – or downright cancel – pledges to avert the catastrophe and reduce global emissions.
All is not lost. There were some hugely promising signs in 2020, with lockdowns offering glimpses of a ‘post fossil fuel world’. If you’re wondering what you can do in 2021 to tread a little lighter and reduce your impact on the environment, then read on. With the help of our pals at Vidrate, here are 8 green new year’s resolutions to help save the planet.
REPLACE SIGN USE PLASTIC WITH REUSABLE PRODUCTS
There is a wealth of reusable products out there which can help us reduce our consumption of single-use plastics. Shockingly, Brits use 7.7 billion plastic bottles each year which is an average of 117 bottles per person, per year. How is that even possible?! To reduce that number, invest in a refillable bottle which you can take around with you, thus saving you some money in the process, too!
Go further; if you’re a coffee addict, opt for a reusable cup. Instead of plastic straws, invest in some reusable metal straws. And make it your mission to take your reusable shopping bags to your weekly shop. Every little helps.
Disposable face masks are the 2020 version of plastic straws. Frequently found littering streets and car parks, the damage this throwaway habit is costing the planet is yet unknown. Choosing a mask that is reusable isn’t any more expensive than buying packs of disposable masks that are harmful to the environment. You can choose from a variety of designs for your mask and even coordinate it with your outfit. Reusable masks can be washed with your laundry for reuse time and time again.
EAT LESS MEAT
Research by finder.com found that over 2% of Brits are currently vegan, and that figure is steadily rising. According to The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, plant-based diets are a great opportunity to mitigate the effects of global warming.
Going vegan or veggie isn’t for everyone. But reducing your meat intake is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint. Recent reports have suggested that avoiding meat and dairy is the single best thing you can do for the planet and for your purse (to the tune of $750 a year, according to recent research), so instead of simply doing a token meat-free-Monday from time to time, why not skew that ratio in the favour of veggies, by doing a majority of meat free days each week?
BUY PRODUCTS WITH LITTLE OR NO PACKAGING
Many supermarkets have made progress on reducing their use of plastic in packaging, but there’s still a long way to go. When buying your fruit and veg, opt to buy loose rather than packed to reduce your plastic consumption.
If your local shop or favourite supermarket has refill stations, then take your own containers and help eliminate your own single-plastic use altogether. You can refer to Greenpeace’s plastic use by supermarket rankings to keep informed and make smarter consumer choices.
SHOP LOCAL WHEN YOU CAN
By shopping in your local greengrocer or butcher, who source food locally and reduce those air (and road) miles hugely, you are cutting out the middle-man. And that middle man often contributes hugely to your own carbon footprint. Plus, making this your New Year Resolution not only benefits the environment, but also your local economy!
AVOID FAST FASHION
The global fashion industry’s carbon footprint accounts for almost the same amount as the entire European continent, according to The Fast Fashion Index 2019.
Instead of going to the January Sales and buying clothes you’ll only wear once, why not commit to buying used, recycled, or sustainably-sourced items for your wardrobe? We’ve written more tips on forgoing fast fashion in favour of a more sustainable approach…do check it out!
BUY FROM SUSTAINABLE COSMETIC BRANDS
Many cosmetic brands use materials and chemicals that are detrimental to the environment. Instead, you should commit to buying sustainably sourced and packaged cosmetics and toiletries.
According to the experts at Well+Good, you can find out how sustainable a beauty brand is in three simple steps. Firstly, you should pay particular attention to how a brand sources its ingredients. Next, you can assess the packaging, and check for certification of its packaging materials. Finally, you should prioritise brands who are clear and vocal about their efforts at becoming more sustainable.
IDENTIFY DOMESTIC HABITS WHICH NEED CHANGING
Some of us leave lights on, charge our phones all night, flush non-flushable products, or have the water running while we brush our teeth – all of which have a negative impact on the environment.
By identifying which little quirks and habits you do daily which could be impacting the environment, you can make moves to mitigate them. Because the first step at getting help is admitting there’s a problem, right?
GO HYBRID OR ELECTRIC
The UK Government has brought forward plans to outlaw diesel and electric cars to 2030. If you’re due a new car next year, why not get ahead of the game and go hybrid or electric?
They are more affordable than you might think with finance options available and generally have much lower running costs than their diesel and petrol counterparts. If you’re keen to learn more, check out our article on answering some of the common questions about hybrid and electric cars.
We hope you have a happy, healthy and environmentally friendly new year!