Five Zero Waste New Years Resolutions
I don’t know about you, but I’m a big New Year’s resolution kind of gal. I love to set goals for things that I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t made time or effort for previously. The new year is the perfect time to commit to new habits, or kick old ones. I don’t aim for life alternating changes, but a few little tweaks here and there. I am always looking to up my zero waste game, and making a new years resolution to do so is the motivation I need in 2021.
If you’re looking to include some sustainable resolutions in your list this year, here are some ideas that I am utilizing that I hope are helpful to you on your zero waste journey.
- Use reusable produce bags at the supermarket
Have you ever thought about how many plastic bags you use at the supermarket in a year? Make a goal to use cotton produce bags rather than plastic this year. There are so many non-plastic options: from large cotton tote and string bags to carry all your groceries home, to mesh bags for loose produce. Even if you only use a cotton bag twice a week, that’s 104 plastic bags avoided for the year, go you!
2. Commit to compost
Starting to compost my food scraps was my resolution last year and I finally achieved it by signing up for an organics recycling drop off site this year. My motivation was knowing that we throw out millions of tones of organic waste every year that goes straight to landfill where it produces methane – a greenhouse gas many times more powerful than carbon dioxide. In Hennepin and Ramsey Counties an estimated 25-30% of our landfill waste is organics, so there’s plenty of room for improvement in the Twin Cities.
Whether you start a compost heap in your backyard, or sign up for city organics collection or drop-off locations, this resolution will have a huge impact on turning your waste into a positive resource instead of contributing to more waste and emissions. Check out the Hennepin and Ramsey County websites for more information about composting resources and locations in your area.
Read Tare Market Founder Amber’s blog post “Composting – Why and How” for more information.
3. Say yes to buying bulk
Bulk is beautiful! Buying in bulk cuts down on wasteful plastic packaging and gives you the freedom to buy as much or as little of a product as you need. Co-ops around the cities and Tare Market have plenty of bulk items to keep you in stock, so why not make a resolution to try buying in bulk this year? If you’ve never tried buying from a bulk section before, come in and chat with us and we can show you the ropes. Or read my recent blog post, How to Shop Our Bulk Section.
4. Pledge to make one zero waste swap
Overwhelmed by the idea of trying to overhaul a habit that’s hard to break? Instead of stressing, commit at the start of the year to making just one zero waste swap from a single-use product to something reusable. Take some time in January to figure out what swap is going to work best for you and then invest in your replacement. It could be as easy as using a bamboo toothbrush instead of a plastic one, or a reusable Lastswab instead of plastic swabs…there are so many good choices out there!
5. Try something new
Whether you’re new to zero waste or have been trying to live sustainably for a while, there’s probably one swap or change that you’ve been hesitating over. For me it was using bar shampooand conditioner: I had never tried it and was frankly skeptical it would work for my hair, so I wrote it off as a viable option for a long time. When I finally decided to give it a go, I discovered that my assumption had been totally wrong and it actually worked amazingly well in my hair – I learned to love the process of using it. So perhaps your resolution can be to tackle that swap you’ve been hesitating over, after all, you’ll never know till you give it a try!
We know that 2020 has been a hard year for many, and a challenging time to try and reduce waste. So, whatever New Year’s resolution you end up deciding on for 2021, congrats to you for deciding to make the world a better place one small change at a time!
For more inspiration check out these links:
For a dose of positivity to carry you into 2021, read Planet Ark’s roundup of the best environmental news stories of the past year.
Set yourself up for success with this guide on how to make good New Year’s Resolutions.
Read up on maintaining a sustainable lifestyle during COVID for some extra motivation.