17 eco-friendly resolutions for a zero-waste new year
A new year is an opportunity for new beginnings and a fresh start, the coming of spring brings with it an optimistic evaluation of the year ahead and promise of how we can change our lives and the planet for the better.
One of the most positive changes you can make this year is to reduce your waste and plastic consumption, not only will this bring resoundingly positive changes to the world around you but it can also bring positives to your physical and mental health.
If you implement these 17 simple changes you’ll go forward into the new year beating waste at every turn, who knows it could be your best year ever!
We’ve broken the tips down into some of the most crucial categories including food shopping, the kitchen, the bathroom, on the go and bonus tips so you can not only have an eco-friendly home but fight plastic and waste when you’re on the move and more.
Tip #1 Commit to eating less meat
The meat and dairy industries aren’t infact the most impactful on the environment as they are commonly touted, meat and dairy production still does have a negative impact on the environment.
If you are mostly carnivorous our suggestion is to eat less meat and instead eat higher quality meat more infrequently. That way any meat you do consume has been reared more ethically, environmentally friendly and is also better for you.
Try giving meatless mondays a go and take it from there.
Tip #2 Reduce your food waste
“Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted”
In contrast to this wasteful overconsumption of food the number of people going hungry is 1/7 or 795 million people. You can tackle this food waste at home today by following the steps below:
- Only buy what you need, make sure you’re prepared with a list.
- Freeze any leftovers and fruits and vegetables on the turn.
- Buy food thats reduced and about to go out of date, cook and freeze on the day of purchase to increase shelf life.
- Properly store food, not all food lasts longest in the fridge.
- Refresh your veges by keeping them stored in water.
- Wrap and store foods that require airtight storage, our beeswax wraps work great.
Follow our other tips by checking out this full blog post on how to be a more eco-friendly eater.
Tip #3 Purchase food with less packaging
Whilst bulkstores aren’t available to all, they are certainly one of the best ways to buy package-free. You can see if there are any bulkstores near you by checking out this bulkstore directory (UK only).
You can still majorly reduce the amount of plastic packaging associated with your food shop by purchasing in bulk from stores like costco for dry goods and household goods like detergent bleach and more.
Many supermarkets also offer loose fruit and veg and have deli counters for meat, fish and dairy this is another great way you can reduce your plastic consumption whilst out shopping.
Tip #4 remember your reusables when grocery shopping
There’s one crucial reusable item you should remember when shopping which is of course the reusable shopping bag. Plastic shopping bags have an average useful lifespan of 12 minutes but can persist in the environment for 100s of years where they pose a real hazard to the environment and wildlife.
Other useful reusable items to take with you whilst grocery shopping include:
- Reusable produce bags, which make a great alternative to plastic bags for carry loose fruit and veg.
- Reusable coffee cup in case you make a quick pit stop whilst doing your food shop.
- Containers or reusable jars if you plan on making a stop at a delicatessen.
- Reusable beeswax wraps are great for wrapping things like cheese and fresh bread too.
In the kitchen
Tip #5 reuse old jars
Old glass jars that once contained sauces, pickles, preserves and jams are great for storing all manner of kitchen items. They’re great for storing ground coffee, sugar, spices, flour and other dry goods, the airtight seal helps keep them from spoiling too.
To get odour and stains out of old jars soak them in white vinegar or baking soda.
Tip #6 Wash dishes plastic-free
Did you know most kitchen sponges and brushes contain plastic? Every time you do a load of dishes you could be shedding deadly microplastics and plastic-fibres down the drain.
Instead opt for plastic-free options, the most simple of which can be reusing old pieces of material as dishcloths. Some other common kitchen items you can swap to include coconut scourers and natural loofah sponges.
Tip #7 Clean plastic-free
Plastic-free cleaning can be as simple as using baking soda or white vinegar and a bit of elbow grease. Many of your most common cleaners can be made or purchased entirely plastic-free, some favourites of ours include:
- Dishwashing soap blocks
- Home-made detergent using castille-soap and borax
- Vinegar and citrus infused surface cleaner
You can also swap out kitchen roll for scraps of fabric which can be washed and reused instead of going in the bin after usage like traditional paper kitchen roll.
Tip #8 Ditch other kitchen disposables
Try the following swaps for common single-use and plastic polluting items in the kitchen:
- Plastic straws for reusable straws like our Soseas steel straws
- Toxic cling wrap for sustainable beeswax wraps
- Disposable plastic cutlery for good old fashioned stainless steel or lightweight bamboo cutlery
- Paper napkins for reusable cloth napkins
- Disposable party plates for lightweight and durable bamboo alternatives
We’ve written a blogpost featuring 10 more tips for going zero-waste in the kitchen which you can check out here.
In the bathroom
Tip #9 Ditch disposable bathroom items
The bathroom is another room in the house that contains tonnes of items destined for landfill, whether that be plastic disposable razors, manual toothbrushes or plastic handled cotton buds, try the swaps below to rid plastic from your bathroom:
- Disposable razors for reusable safety razors
- Plastic toothbrushes for bamboo toothbrushes
- Plastic handled cotton buds for bamboo buds
- Plastic floss for biodegradable eco floss
- Plastic loofahs for natural loofah plant sponges
- Plastic packaged loo roll for biodegradable packaged loo roll
- Plastic toilet brush for a plastic-free alternative
Making these swaps above could really reduce the amount of plastic in your bathroom, make it your mission to see how many swaps you can make this year.
Tip #10 Plastic-free toiletries
Make it your goal to swap at least 1 toiletry for a plastic alternative every month this year and watch the plastic disappear from your shower and bath.
Tip #11 reduce your bathroom water consumption
Reduce the amount of water you use in the bathroom by implementing the following water saving tips:
- Save the water used whilst your shower warms up and use it for flushing your toilet or watering your plants
- Make sure the tap is turned off while you’re brushing your teeth
- Install water saving faucets on your tap and shower head which you can find here.
- Opt for showers over baths to save on water and try taking your showers in the time it takes to listen to your favourite song to save even more water.
These water saving tips will help save you some extra cash too! Ca-ching.
On the go
Tip #12 build your on the go zero-waste kit
Build your own zero-waste kit for whilst you’re on the go and you’ll never succumb to single-use and plastic polluting items when you’re out and about again. Some essentials worth carrying with you are:
- Reusable water bottle
- Reusable coffee cup
- Food storage container
- Lightweight Cutlery set
- Reusable straw
- Reusable tote and produce bags
Tip #13 Master the art of saying no
Many disposable plastic items are accumulated through every day actions. The straws you get with drinks when you’re out, the disposable food packaging and containers you get when picking up a bite to eat and excess bags and packaging you get from completing your shop.
Most of these items can be avoided by simply saying no, refusing plastic polluting items like these not only reduces your plastic consumption but sends a message to the bars, shops and restaurants that consumers don’t want excessive plastic.
Tip #14 Pickup as you go
You might be an eco-hero armed with your new favourite zero-waste items, ready to take on the world but it's fair to say others will be less so eco-inclined.
From the city streets to the countryside, nowhere has been untouched by plastic. So, next time you’re out for a walk take an extra reusable tote with you and pick up plastic items as you go along, make sure that any items you find are cleaned and recycled.
Tip #15 Drive less
Remember on Tip #1 we mentioned that the meat and dairy industry isn’t in fact the most environmentally harmful industry, the biggest culprit is the petrochemical industry. One of the easiest ways to reduce your emissions is to swap your car for public transport when you can or get out and cycle/walk to work.
The average commute is well within cycling distance so get healthy, a new hobby and reduce your carbon footprint this year by cycling to work!
#Tip 16 Spread the word
How can you as an individual make a difference? Can you really make a difference? Maybe your efforts alone won’t save the world, but hear me out! Just because single-handedly you might not be able to doesn’t mean that together we can’t.
Supercharge your eco-friendly efforts by getting friends and family involved, share any posts like this on your social media and get talking, make sure your voice is heard!
Tip #17 Don't despair if you’re not totally zero-waste
Zero-waste is a goal, don’t let the fact you still accumulate a bit of plastic or waste here and there get you down. Every change you can make, no matter how small will have an impact, add these small changes up and you’d be surprised just how much waste and plastic you’ll have reduced.
Tip #18 Get inspired
Staying on track can be difficult without the right motivation, find out what makes you tick and keep that front of mind in your zero-waste journey because at times it can definitely be a slog.
Get together with your peers and set up groups to keep your local area plastic-free, share your experiences and tips with the world and don’t forget to enjoy the process!
Hopefully with these 17 tips the new year will be your least wasteful year yet, don’t forget however small the changes you make, you’re still an eco-hero.
Share this post with any friends and family that are just beginning their zero-waste journey and could do with setting some eco-friendly resolutions next year.
Soseas will have plenty more content, tips, competitions and products in the new year, be the first to find out about all things Soseas by signing up below!
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