It’s finally that time of year—with 2019 right around the corner, everyone is thinking about their New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you have some major goals in mind for next year, and you’ve already got a long list of things you want to accomplish. Some people are hoping to make big career changes, others want to boost their incomes, and others are already stocking their pantries with healthy snacks and signing up for gym memberships. No matter what your vision is for next year, you probably have a few big lifestyle changes in mind.
With so much of the news about climate change looking pretty gloomy lately (to put it mildly), it might be time for us to make some resolutions that will make our everyday lives a little more “green.” Whether you’re trying to lower your carbon footprint or just throw out less plastic waste, there is always something you can do to make the planet a better place. Here are five eco-friendly resolutions you can commit to for a more sustainable year in 2019.
1. Go to the farmer’s market once a week.
Sure, you might not be able to get all of your groceries from the farmer’s market, but if you can stop by once a week to pick up some produce, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Shopping locally and seasonally is always a good idea—when you buy local, you’re not depending on carbon-emitting trucks to transport your food to you. Plus, you know that you’re supporting smaller local farms and investing in your community rather than giving your money to large corporations. If the vendors get to know you as a regular, you might even get some discounts out of it—or a few new friends!
2. Start stocking up on reusable containers.
Going totally zero waste can seem overwhelming, but getting down to a “low waste” level isn’t nearly as hard—and it all starts with choosing reusable containers over disposable packaging! And this time of year is the best to make the switch—just let everyone know that if they want to get you a Christmas gift, this is what you’re looking for! Think travel utensil kits, reusable straws, water bottles, thermoses, reusable travel cups, lunch boxes, metal straws, jars, and small containers for homemade beauty products. You’ll go into 2019 with all of your zero waste essentials ready to go.
3. Start shopping in the bulk section.
Shopping in the bulk section of your local Whole Foods (or any other grocery store with bulk offerings) doesn’t just help you skip all of that disposable packaging—it can also save you a ton of money in the long run! Plus, buying dry goods from the bulk section means that you’re not getting a ton of preservatives, additives, or extra salt and sodium in your diet. Overall, it’s much healthier for you, and it will help you dedicate more of your budget to whole plant foods instead of frozen or processed foods.
4. Start composting.
Anyone can start composting today—you don’t need any fancy equipment to do it. The easiest way to get started? Simply dedicate an airtight container in your kitchen to plant food waste (you can also compost some other things, like tea bags and coffee grounds), and start tossing scraps in it after meals. In some cities, the compost is picked up with trash and recycling, but unfortunately, this is not the case in most areas. But if you have a garden, you can simply start a compost pile in your backyard. You might also be able to drop it off at a farmer’s market (on your weekly stop!) or at a local community garden.
5. Switch to non-toxic, “clean” beauty products.
Even if you’re already eating a whole foods, plant based diet, you might be aware that you could still benefit from overhauling the products in your vanity. Beauty products can contain all kinds of harmful chemicals these days—from sulfates to parabens to aluminum to talc, there are all sorts of questionable things lurking in cosmetics, skincare, and haircare products. So, what are you supposed to do to clean up your routine? At the end of the day, the minimalist approach is best—the simpler, the better. Choose vegan, cruelty-free alternatives, and better yet, look for them in recyclable or reusable packaging! And if you want to save some money while you’re at it, you can use the ingredients in your kitchen for some DIY beauty products. Your skin and the planet will thank you!
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