Are you ready to start your journey to a greener lifestyle this year? These Green New Years resolutions are not only easy to complete, but will have great impact on your life and our planet.
1. Use less plastic
The amount of plastic waste is now at a critical level. According to National Geographic, during 2010 roughly 8 million tonnes of plastic ended up in our oceans.
This is number one on the green new years resolutions list not only because it’s important, but it’s also easier than ever. For every disposable plastic item in your home there is now a green alternative.
Here are some simple ideas to get you started:
- Swap your disposable plastic shopping bags for a re-usable one. For example, this one from Amazon folds flat so you can keep it in your car for an impromptu trip to the shops, and also works as a cooler bag.
- Swap disposable plastic cutlery for cultery made from bamboo or cornstarch (which are both biodegradable).
- Swap your coffee cups for a thermos or a reusable cup like a Keep Cup.
- Use refills for personal hygiene products like shampoo and handwash. Or switch to bars of soap with minimal packaging – you could even try making your own.
- Swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one.
2. Eat less meat – and eat more amazing vegetarian food
I’m not going to tell you to stop eating meat altogether. But now maybe the year to re-look at the amount that you eat, and how it impacts your health and lifestyle.
Eating processed meat has now been found to increase the risk of cancer. We as consumers are also more aware of the well being of the animals we eat, as well the impact their farms have on the environment.
Around the world increasing numbers of people are trying vegetarian and vegan meals, not only for the environmental benefits, but for their own health and wellness.
There is even a new name for people who eat mainly vegetarian but still consume some meat – they are called “Flexitarians”. The upside of this is that there are more delicious recipe ideas than ever before. Cookbooks like Thug Kitchen and The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook are packed with tasty recipes which are great for any level of cooking skill.
If you are looking to substitute the taste of meat in your meals, here are some great options you can try:
- Tofu, Tempeh or Seitan – All made from soy beans, these foods have been used in traditional Asian cooking for years, and can provide a good alternative source of protein.
- Mushrooms – Portobello or Cremini mushrooms are the best for a tasty meaty texture. Mushrooms make tasty substitutes in burgers, stews and lasagne.
- Textured Vegetable protein – you can find here on Amazon. These are generally made from soy protein, similar to Tofu, and is a tasty, easy alternative to ground beef or mince.
- Lentils and beans – Lentils and beans are rich in protein and fibre, and are fantastic for filling up salads, making soups and rice dishes like burrito bowls.
- Nuts – Nuts are amazingly versatile and naturally high in protein. Cashews and Almonds can be easily ground up into biscuit bases and burger patties.
If you are interested in taking your new diet one step further, you can try my next resolution – growing your own food.
3. Start growing your own food
Growing your own food can be incredibly rewarding, and can be very simple to start.
Growing your own vegetables gives you control over what you are consuming, as you get to choose what you feed your plants. It will also broaden your understanding of consumption, when you have to put the work in yourself to make food instead of just walking down to the shops. Believe me, you are going to finish all of your leftovers when you have grown the meal yourself.
You can also potentially save money by growing some of the more expensive items like ginger yourself – who knows, you could even turn a profit by selling it onto your friends and neighbors.
There is discipline required in creating and maintaining a successful garden, but this will only add to the satisfaction of completing this resolution. Some simple plants to start with are herbs like Basil, or you can check out my growing guide for Garlic if you are planning to grow indoors.
4. Use more natural cleaning products
Reduce your environmental footprint and save money by switching to more natural cleaning products.
You can start with my guide to the best natural stain removers, many of which can be used as household cleaners in other areas of the home.
The result will be a clean, non-toxic home, and a lot more money in your pocket when you no longer to buy all those different cleaning products.
If you are looking for some natural pest control options as well, you can also check out my guide to getting rid of fleas and bed bugs in your home.
5. De-clutter your home – using the Konmari method
Cleaning house is a refreshing way to bring in the new year. The Konmari method will help you work out what to keep and what to chuck (or donate) based on what you use, and what makes you happy.
Sounds pretty easy right? It is, and the Konmari method also has handy tips and hints on how to tidy and store your new treasure possessions so that they are easy to find and use everyday. No more wasted space, and no more useless clutter.
You can read more about the highlights of the Konmari method here, or you can go straight ahead and get yourself a copy of the book.
If you are looking for other great green resolution ideas, or need some motivation along your journey, you could consider taking on a challenge. Some of these such as the Vegan Easy Challenge and the Going Zero Waste Challenge only run for 30 days, so you could attempt multiple challenges throughout the year. After 30 days, hopefully you will have developed a habit which you will wish to continue for the rest of your life ( and ticked off your resolution list for next year).
Making 2017 your year to go green doesn’t require an over the top effort. By taking on these simple resolutions, you will have made significant improvement to your green lifestyle with minimal effort and sacrifice. After all a sustainable lifestyle change needs to be sustainable for you as well, to really make a difference to our planet over the long term.