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Sustainable New Year resolutions

As we start 2020 many of us will be thinking about making changes in our lives and perhaps setting ourselves some New Year resolutions. If you would like to make a difference and make your resolution a sustainable one, that could help both yourself and the environment, you may be inspired by our top ten ideas below.

  1. Pledge to reduce your personal carbon footprint this year – this is one that encompasses all the ideas below, but if you set yourself a target to reduce your carbon footprint by a certain percentage this year you are more likely to achieve it. There are lots of carbon footprint calculators available on the internet. We like the World Wildlife Fund’s calculator which only takes about 10 minutes to complete. Find out what your carbon footprint is currently and then decide how much you want to reduce it by.

  2. Commit to not using any disposable single-use cups or bottles – there are so many great reusable bottle and cup options out there. If you haven’t got one yet – invest in one at the start of the year and try to remember to take it with you everywhere you go. You could use the refill app to find out which local businesses will let you fill up your water bottle for free.

  3. Go paper-free – only print out the items you really need to both in the office and at home. If you have a laptop or tablet take that to a meeting rather than using paper to make notes. At home contact your bank and household suppliers to opt out of paper bills. This will help you declutter your home too.

  4. Change what you buy – commit to only buying reused, recycled or sustainably-sourced items. There are plenty of buy and sell pages on social media sites and the internet to browse through, or visit your local charity shops.

  5. Choose more sustainable travel options – consider walking or cycling shorter distance or car sharing with a colleague to go to and from work.

  6. Eat more plant-based meals – if you have not tried many plant-based recipes before, try committing to just one meal a week that is plant-based. If you want to challenge yourself further take part in Veganuary, a national campaign encouraging people to try a vegan diet in the month of January. The BBC Good Food website has a whole section of tasty vegan recipes.

  7. Turn your thermostat down – by turning down your central heating thermostat down by just one degree you could save £80 and 320KG carbon dioxide a year.

  8. Take your own shopping bags – refuse any plastic bags when you’re out shopping and use your own reusable shopping bag. Don’t forget about those small plastic bags you put your loose fruit and vegetables in – as an alternative just put them loose in your basket, take your own container or small bag or use a paper bag if you really need to.

  9. Shop locally and in season – try to buy products that have been grown or made locally so that they have fewer miles to travel. Growing fruit and vegetables in season requires lower levels of artificial inputs like heating, lighting, pesticides and fertilisers than at other times of the year. Seasonable produce has a lower environmental impact. Eat Seasonably has a useful calendar to tell you what is in season each month and even what to plant if you want to try growing your own food.

  10. Avoid fast fashion – wear something already in your wardrobe, buy second hand clothes or buy from an ethical and sustainable clothing brand if you need to purchase something new. Every year, global emissions from textile production are equivalent to 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2, a figure that outweighs the carbon footprint of international flights and shipping combined.

Information sources

Every effort has been made to that ensure the information used in all climate emergency articles is accurate.  All information used to inform the articles has been taken from reputable sources and those sources are given at the end of each article. 

We are aware, however, that data will change over time and that some information across the internet and printed matters can be contradictory.  

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