As the decade is ending, its great to think back on the memories shared, fun times had, and green changes made, but as we approach a new era, a new year, there is no better reason to start fresh on eco-friendly resolutions that benefit the planet. You can take the plunge and go zero-waste, or make smaller changes – everything makes a difference. Even making a goal for yourself of doing one kind thing for the earth per week will help, such as carpooling or skipping meat for a day! Here are some things you can try in this coming decade to help the planet! Happy New Year from Blom Contracting!
Plant Based Options
No one is asking you to never eat meat again – even skipping eating it one day per week can make a small difference. A study shows that people who eat no meat are using significantly less H2O (water) and contributing a significantly less amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) due to food production than people who eat meat (Rosi et al, 2017). Key: O, omnivores; VG, ovo-lacto-vegetarians; V, vegans.
There are many alternatives to eating meat all while making sure you get enough nutrients and protein. Even many restaurants are coming out with plant-based burgers and patties. This link even shows how to make classic meat dishes vegan… and they look delicious!
Reusable Water Bottle
If you’re still buying plastic water bottles, get with the program!! Plastic bottles are out and reusable bottles are in. If you don’t trust your tap water, try a water filter, or a LifeStraw water bottle. If you like buying sparkling water, try a Soda Stream. If you buy the water with added electrolytes or boosting additives, try a bottle of Mio, which can last a lot longer than one disposable plastic bottle.
Reusable Shopping Bags
A lot of stores now charge you for buying plastic bags. Although it’s not a lot, it will add up eventually, just like it’s added up on our planet. Once plastic is produced, it’s here to stay long past our lifetimes. Save money and the planet and bring your own bags!!
Energy Efficient Changes
Making one energy efficient change in your home this year is a great goal to help the planet. This usually helps you save money too! This could be changing your shower heads, getting LED lightbulbs, or buying an Energy Star appliance if you’re in need of a new one. Another great and easy switch to make is washing your clothes in cold water. This saves (a lot of) energy and saves microplastics from your clothes from heading into rivers and streams.
Try to reduce your shower time, and switch to a water saving shower head. If you listen to music in the shower, try to limit yourself to a certain number of songs. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth or washing your face. Do your dishes in a bath of water instead of letting the water run.
Unplug and Turn The Lights Off
Make sure you turn off the lights when you’re not using them! It’s an easy way to save energy and money. Not only lights use up energy, but many types of electronics continue to use energy even when they’re plugged in and off – up to 15% of their electricity used! This can be avoided by unplugging your electronics or by investing in Smart Outlets that can be shut off any time or place using your smartphone.
Look into bamboo options, skip a straw, bring your own travel mug or glass to the coffee shop, make sure your face wash and toothpaste don’t contain polypropylene or polyethylene – small microplastics, rethink your food storage and go for reusable Ziplocs or Tupperware, use matches instead of lighters, skip chewing gum or look for better options for the planet (mints, organic gum), and bring your own containers to restaurants to package up leftovers.
This is a change many people can make, even if it’s just a few times a month. If you’re going to visit family, get the whole clan in one or two cars. Offer to pick up some friends on your way to your destination, or call an Uber to pick you all up! Even better, take public transit!
Rosi, A., Mena, P., Pellegrini, N., Turroni, S., Neviani, E., Ferrocino, I., … & Maddock, J. (2017). Environmental impact of omnivorous, ovo-lacto-vegetarian, and vegan diet. Scientific reports, 7(1), 6105.