We all make them, and more often than not, we all struggle to keep up with them: New Year’s Resolutions. From telling yourself that next year, you will really hit the gym every day, to promising yourself that you’ll finally start on that long-overdue personal project – New Year’s resolutions require a lot of determination! One category, however, is a lot easier to achieve: being green. A few simple lifestyle- and habit changes can have a massive impact on your environmental footprint. Below, our top tips on how to be more sustainable in 2022.
Ditch the plastic bag – forever
While most supermarkets have already stopped giving out free plastic bags with every purchase, not every store has made the switch yet. Make it a habit to carry a reusable bag when doing groceries or running errands, so you’ll never have to ask the cashier for a single-use bag again. Imagine how much plastic you’ll save this year! To make it as easy as possible, find a reusable shopping bag that folds into a small bundle, so you can always keep one in your handbag, your car, or by the door. And while you’re at it, why not give sustainable plastic wrap alternatives a try?
Shop local and seasonal
Oranges from Spain, blueberries from Peru… food in the supermarket has often traveled a long way before it ends up on your kitchen table and therefore has a hefty carbon footprint to match. But unless you live in the Arctic Circle or the Sahara desert, there’s plenty of fruits and other produce available in your area that doesn’t have to travel halfway across the globe. Instead of big-chain supermarkets, seek out local co-ops or farmers’ markets for fruits and vegetables that are fresher and therefore even more nutritious. Make sure to shop seasonally, too!
Opt for an eco-friendly laundry detergent
Conventional laundry detergents are often an environmental nightmare. They’re loaded with icky chemicals (terrible for your skin – sensitive or not!) and come packed in plastic-heavy bottles that are hard to recycle. It doesn’t have to be that way: the Hexawash is a zero-waste laundry detergent alternative that uses natural magnesium, not chemicals, to keep your clothes clean and fresh. This pouch from organic cotton is allergen-free and a brilliant non-toxic alternative to traditional laundry detergents. It even removes the need for a rinsing cycle – saving you electricity and water in the long run.
Air-dry your laundry
Did you know that a clothes dryer is one of the biggest energy-guzzling appliances around the house? All the more reason to switch to the sustainable alternative: hanging your clothes to dry on your balcony, in your garden, or – when it isn’t dry and sunny outside – in your laundry- or bedroom. This way, you’re not only helping Mother Earth by saving energy; the average household also saves at least $100 per year on their electricity bill when switching to air-drying. High time to fire that dryer!
By now, it’s well-documented how harmful the meat industry is. While going full vegan might not be for everyone, swapping meat for a plant-based protein for several meals per week can already make a huge difference on your environmental footprint. Over the past few years, plant-based meat alternatives have become almost indistinguishable from the real deal. And with a little creativity in the kitchen, you won’t even miss the beef on your cauliflower tortillas or in your mushroom stroganoff.
Consume less and buy second-hand
Do you really need that trendy T-shirt when you have five perfectly fine shirts hanging in your closet already? And is that phone upgrade really necessary when your old one is still working? Being conscious about your consumption – from clothes to foods to electronics and other goods – doesn’t only save you heaps of cash, it also helps lessen the impact on your environment. After all, it’s one less item that has to be produced, shipped, and eventually discarded. And when you do need something, buying second-hand can massively reduce your carbon footprint. The fast-fashion industry alone generates 1 billion pounds of waste each year, so it’s important to consider where you source your clothes from.
Turn of lights and unused appliances
Your sound system, your DVD player, your phone charger… they use energy when they’re turned on, but did you know they also consume power when they’re not in use? In fact, roughly 10% off your electric bill consists of energy used by appliances that aren’t even in use. Make it a habit to unplug devices when you’re not actively using them. It’ll cost you just a second but can save you hundreds of KiloWatts in your lifetime. And while you’re at it – turn off those lights (and air conditioning) when you leave the room.
As you can see, making 2022 a little more sustainable doesn’t require a huge investment. What will you do to make a difference next year?