Conduct a Waste Audit
Most of the time we’re not really aware of how much waste we produce. Trash goes into the trash can, is set at the curb on trash day, and is taken ‘away.’ The only way to cut down on waste is to first look at your waste and see what is there.
Conducting a waste audit means looking through your trash and seeing what it mainly consists of. If it’s mostly veggie scraps, you may be able to reduce this a lot with a rotating composter. If it’s mainly plastic waste, look for easy swaps to more sustainable options.
Look for Second Hand First
Before you buy new, look and see if you can get the same thing second hand. There are lots of great groups available that will let you give away your unwanted things and also get items for free. This not only saves you and others a ton of money but also gives your old things a second life.
If you need to get rid of things or are looking for a specific item, check out Buy Nothing, a group designed for a gifting economy.
Swap to Reusables
There are plenty of single use items we use every day that we don’t really need to. Reusable grocery bags, water bottles, coffee cups and forks are all great examples of items that can take the place of single use items.
It’s best to pick reusables you find convenient to use. If you buy it knowing you’ll never actually use it, you’re still wasting resources by generating a reusable item that won’t get used.
Turn Off The Lights
Remember when your dad used to yell when every single light in the house was burning? Channel some of that energy for the good of the planet. There’s no reason to have a light turned on if no one is even home.
Look for easy ways you can save electricity, such as turning off your computer at night if you don’t already, or unplugging appliances when you’re not using them. A significant amount of energy is often wasted as ‘vampire energy’ from appliances not in use drawing on the power anyway.
This tip will not only help the planet, but also help you! Enjoy a lower energy bill while doing good for the planet.
Change Your Laundry Habits
If you live in a drier location, hanging your laundry out to dry is another great way to help the planet. The dryer can be a huge source of wasted energy, plus things like dryer sheets still use plastic. You can also make other changes like switching to powdered laundry detergent or laundry sheets, which use less plastic.
Another laundry tip is to use cold wash for anything you can. Cold wash reduces energy consumption because no energy is being used to heat the water and is kinder to your clothes as well.
There are plenty of great documentaries, books, and even classes that talk about the environment. Learning more about climate change, plastic pollution, and the current state of our planet can be of huge benefit to you.
Learn to Repair Things
Keeping what you have working as long as possible is a great way to help the environment. Often, we throw away products that could easily be fixed without trying to repair them at all. Repairing things can help extend the life of that product a few more months, and keep it out of landfill that much longer.
This doesn’t have to be a fancy electronic either. Simply darning a sock or patching a pair of jeans can help extend their life and make a positive impact on the planet.
Let’s face it, not one single person on the planet is responsible on their own for climate change. Some people are oblivious to their impact, while others have a gleefully huge carbon footprint and think nothing of it.
Sometimes it isn’t possible to avoid the impact you are making. One of the best ways to truly help the environment is to speak up.
Can’t walk to the library because there are no sidewalks, no shoulder, and no bus for miles? Tell your local representative. Want your state to switch to clean energy? Tell your representative.
You never know if your letter is the tipping point for change, so make sure you are speaking up whenever you see a need that is not getting addressed.
Vow to Vote
Real change comes on a large scale. If you are old enough to vote, look for people who you think genuinely care about the environment. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Tons of politicians brag about their environmental ties without ever actually doing things for the environment.
Read up on politicians. Look at their backgrounds. Talk with others. If you see someone who genuinely seems to care, vote for them!
Eat for the Planet
What you eat has a direct tie to the planet we call home. Eating an environmentally friendly diet can greatly reduce your carbon footprint or help the environment in other ways.
For some people, this could mean going vegan or eating less meat. Others may grow a garden to reduce food miles. Hunters and fishermen may find the best way they can help the planet is to help remove invasive species.
There’s many ways to help the planet through food. These are just a few suggestions to get you started.
We hope these 10 ideas for a green new year in 2023 will help you get started. Our planet needs all the help it can get, and it all starts with you.