7 sustainable and eco-friendly New Year’s resolutions for a greener year

New Year’s resolutions have a notoriously low completion rate. That’s because they’re rarely tied to our values or a big picture issue. But not this year, eco friend! Instead, you’re going to enter the new year with some sustainable and eco-friendly New Year’s resolutions for a greener year. Read on for 7 eco-friendly New Year’s resolutions to get you started.

Are you ready to make next year your most sustainable and eco-friendly yet? Join my free Zero Waste in a Week email challenge to start your year off with 7 days of easy eco action steps, tackling 7 different areas of your home and lifestyle kickstart your zero waste journey. Sign up now:

#VoteClimate for green leaders 

If you’ve been listening to the show for a while, you know we love taking individual eco-friendly action within our circle of control. While we should never underestimate the power of collective individual and community action, the most important thing we can do in the face of the climate crisis is elect leaders who are committed to taking strong climate and environmental action. Not ambiguous 2050 targets or the repetitive use of green buzz words, but rather investment to reach carbon neutrality, subsidies for renewable energy and taxes on polluters. 

Make this the year you start or continue educating yourself on the political sphere of your country, state and even local government. Change starts from the ground up. Irrespective of our personal beliefs, there are no jobs on a dead planet. Climate change is terrible for the people, the economy and the environment. That is a fact.

Taking decisive climate action doesn’t just make environmental sense, but economic sense too. So make sure you’re voting for leaders who understand this and are prepared to act accordingly. Once you’ve discovered how to #VoteClimate for your geographical location, tell everyone you know. Post it on social media, bring it up at family Sunday lunch, shout it from the rooftops. Get the word out there because time is running out. 

Eat more plants

Full-blown veganism isn’t the only way to lower the environmental impact of your diet. A great eco-friendly New Year’s resolution can be lowering the percentage that animal products makes up your diet! It’s also much more achievable and approachable to the average person that trying to go fully plant-based straight up.

If you’re new to the idea, a great place to start is with #MeatfreeMondays. Then build up to 2-3 plant-based days er week. Not only will you be helping the planet but eating more plants is great for your budget and health too! 

Switch to eco-friendly second hand

January is the best time to be a second-hand shopper thanks to the excessive consumerism around Christmas. Charity shops, eBay and Gumtree and loaded with unwanted – and unopen – Christmas presents that you just know someone had to pretend they were happy to receive. The simple fact is, there’s enough stuff on this planet.

READ NEXT: What is the tragedy of the commons in environmentalism?

For the majority of things we buy new, including clothes, furniture, books, technology and much more, there are endless second-hand options. Commit to a thrifty year by making a resolution to shop second hand.  

Start composting

When FDR said, “The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself,” he realised just how important a resource the stuff beneath our feet is. Food waste that’s sent to landfill doesn’t return to nature. Instead, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas that’s more than 30x more effective than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Composting is the answer!

Options include a garden compost system, worm farm, food waste collection service or an app like Share Waste which allows you to connect with composters in your local area. That’s what I’ve been doing since moving back into an apartment and it’s so simple. 

Sustainable and eco-friendly new year's resolutions for zero waste living and environmentally friendly lifestyles

Stop vampire energy usage 

As technology and devices become more prevalent, it’s leading to an increase in standby power usage, also known as a vampire or phantom load. This standby power usage is the electricity an appliance continues to consume when it appears off.

It can account for as much as 10% of a household’s annual electricity bill and emit tonnes of unnecessary carbon into the atmosphere. The easiest way to stop this is to unplug appliances at the wall when you’re not using them. Washing machines, TVs and computers are the largest electricity vampires so it’s a great place to start. 

Divest from fossil fuels  

This eco-friendly New Year’s resolution can help you make serious changes with your money. According to GoFossilFree.org, divestment is the opposite of an investment – it means getting rid of stocks, bonds, or investment funds that don’t align with our values. Fossil fuel investments are a risk for both investors and the planet, yet they are still make up one of the largest investments for many financial institutions, retirement funds and governments. So the organisation is calling on institutions to divest from these companies – and individuals to divest from businesses who continue to invest in fossil fuels. 

READING LIST: Is compostable packaging actually sustainable?

The easiest way to start this process off in your own life is to with your bank accounts. Most big banks continue to invest in fossil fuels. You can check if yours does with a quick Google search. Next look for ethical options for your pension, super or retirement account – there’s more and more to choose from each year. Lastly, spread the word. Most people don’t understand their credit card interest payments or mortgage repayments may be contributing to the climate crisis. 

Invest in eco-friendly upgrades

While many sustainable swaps are free or even save you money, there’s no denying that some of the bigger upgrades are costly. Of course, this eco-friendly New Year’s resolution is completely dependent on your financial situation. It’s completely understandable if it’s not an option at the moment.

But if you’re ready to invest in your sustainability journey, it’s a great time to start thinking about the bigger eco upgrades you’d like to have. This could be upgrading to an electric car. Maybe adding solar panels to your roof or even upgrading your zero waste reusables. Planning and saving accordingly will help make these dream eco-friendly upgrades a reality. 

Don’t forget to sign up for my Zero Waste in a Week email challenge. It’s completely free and you’ll get 7 days worth of eco-friendly home and lifestyle advice to kickstart or further your zero waste journey. Just tap on the link in the episode description to get started.  

Eco Action Step 

Your eco action step for this week is to choose one eco-friendly New Year’s resolution to commit to. Post it on your Instagram story and tag me, I’m @SarahBassett.co if you’re not already following – please do! I’d love to be your accountability partner if you’ll have me. Let’s make this our greenest year yet!

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