I make resolutions every year and for the most part I’ve been able to stick to them. This year is especially important to me because I’m on a quest to live the greenest life possible. Someday I’d like to even have my own upcycling business that focuses on reusing items, but this will take a lot of work. In the meantime, I’ll just focus on these manageable tasks and try to reduce my carbon footprint as much as I can. Here are my top 10 resolutions for a greener life in 2020.
Buy less stuff (especially new stuff)
Less stuff, less problems. That’s been my motto for the last seven years. Before going abroad, I sold nearly all my possessions and eventually my house, keeping only the necessities and sentimental belongings. I can’t describe the freedom that comes with having less junk! Now that I’m home and settled, it’s been hard not to accumulate more stuff. In 2020, I’m committed to not buying items unless it’s something that I absolutely need. I’m also going to buy more from thrift stores and retail shops. Buying new items contributes to waste and does not put money in the hands of local businesses. I’m all about thrifting in 2020! Buy less! Buy used!
It’s easy to recycle at home with a recycle bin just outside, but sometimes I get lazy at work or on the go. I’m resolving to stop throwing recyclables in the trash can and take those items home. I’m also eager to research the recycling system in my hometown so that I can be more mindful of what gets recycled and what doesn’t. But more so, I’d like to learn how to recycle my own items rather than sending them off to another location.
Reduce (especially plastic)
What’s better than recycling? Reducing. Especially when it comes to single use plastic. With more and more reusable water bottles, food containers, and grocery totes, there’s no excuse not to make the switch to reusable items. This year I’m going to stop buying bottled water and other items that come in disposable containers. I’m going to buy more bulk groceries using my own food containers, and bring my own Tupperware for leftovers at restaurants!
How many items have I discarded that I could have reused? This year I’m finding more and more clever ways to avoid single-use items. Someday I hope to have my own business built on the concept of upcycling. I want to take discarded materials and turn them into useful products that can be sold or reused. However, you don’t have to be creative or artistic to find clever reuses for discarded products. A quick search of repurposing can yield some fun and interesting results from sites like Pinterest. For 2020, I want to throw less away and reuse more!
Repair broken items/clothing
My grandparents generation has a wealth of knowledge in regards to getting complete use out of a product. I hope that same mindset returns and our generation learns to value our belongings. In this economy, it’s easier to just throw away old items and buy new ones, but this is not sustainable. I’m committed to repairing products/clothing that can be fixed before replacing them. This year instead of discarding broken items, ripped clothing, or damaged things, I’m going to learn how to repair them, and with plenty of tutorials online such as ifixit.com there’s no reason not to learn!
Cook more (eat out less)
This might be one of the harder goals to accomplish. I love going to restaurants, but it takes a toll on my wallet and my health. Cooking instead of eating out saves money and resources and it’s often healthier, too! Currently, I eat out on average once or twice a day. I’m going to try to shave that number down to 3 to 4 times a week. I know it’s still a lot, but I have to take baby steps, or I won’t accomplish my goals.
Eat mindfully (stop wasting food)
In addition to cooking more, I also want to waste less food in 2020. The best place to start is the grocery store. I’m going to shop for smaller portions and commit to cooking whatever I buy. Eating mindfully means keeping track of items that expire quicker and preparing them first. Cooked meals can also be frozen if not eaten right away. I’m also committed to finishing all of my leftovers even if they’re not as tasty the first time around. Mindful eating is also healthier eating. Fresh produce and local food is not only better for you, but also for the environment compared to processed junk. I’m looking forward to a healthier 2020.
Speaking of fresh, local produce, there are numerous opportunities in my hometown to buy local. Not just local restaurants and farmer’s markets, but also local clothing stores, gift shops, etc. In fact, every year around Christmas I do my best to buy gifts from local companies instead of chain stores. Why buy local? Buying local puts money back into the community. You support your neighbor instead of a wealthy corporation. Not to mention local food is often fresher and more delicious. It also requires less transportation which significantly saves on fuel costs. Supporting my local community is a priority in 2020.
Ride my bike when possible
I have the great privilege of being 5 minutes from my work, but I almost never ride my bike. This is partly because my city is not particularly bike friendly and I worry a bit about my safety. However, the city will never become more bike friendly if people don’t start riding their bikes more! I’m going to make more of an effort to opt for my bicycle instead of my car. Biking is not only better for the environment and less expensive than driving, it’s also good exercise. That being said, I’m more than likely waiting until it warms up a bit outside!
Finally, my last goal for a greener life in 2020 is to vote for candidates that care about the environment. Vote for candidates who prioritize the environment. Vote for candidates that support solutions to combat climate change. My goals listed above may not make a huge difference, but choosing leadership that will hold companies accountable and strive for a better future for the next generation will! Do your research! Sign petitions! Promote environmentalism! Be active in your community! And vote for a greener world in 2020!
It’s going to be a great year and I’m looking forward to doing my small part! What are your goals for 2020?