We’ll be honest - when it comes to New Years’ resolutions, we’re not talking
about the diets, gym memberships, or unrealistic promises that typically
come with January 1. To us, there’s no point in making a resolution unless
it’s something sustainable that aligns with your values. So as 2021 makes
its grand entrance, we decided to round up some of the more ethical and
attainable aspirations for the next 12 months.
Ditch the disposables
Single-use items have been on our radars for a long time now. That being
said, there’s always ways to enhance your commitment to sustainability. Buy
a quality reusable coffee cup - and then commit to never getting coffee without
it. From there, look at what other items are disposable in your life - cutlery, water
bottles, plastic bags, face wipes, paper towels. When you start looking you’ll find
But the trick isn’t to overwhelm yourself with a myriad of things to cut back on.
Start by using non-plastic reusable bags when shopping, then acquire a couple
of stainless steel water bottles so you never need to buy plastic ones. Gradually
swap single-use face wipes and paper towels for washable cloths, and consider
building an ethical ‘on the go’ kit with reusable cutlery and straws so you can
refuse the disposable stuff when you go out.
Change up your commutes
While COVID has changed a lot of our commutes and routines, there’s still
plenty of times where we might jump in the car for convenience. For 2021,
challenge yourself to rely on your car less. Allow extra time to travel by public
transport, bike or walk if it’s within a reasonable distance, or carpool with
colleagues to save on petrol, parking, and your collective carbon footprint.
Cut back on meat consumption
The whispers of plant-based diets being better for the planet have grown louder
and louder over the years. And while it’s not a lifestyle that suits everyone, a
great resolution is to simply cut back on your meat consumption. More than 50
billion animals are raised and killed for human consumption every year, with
livestock farming contributing 18% of global human produced greenhouse gas
emissions. To put that into perspective, it’s more than all emissions from ships,
planes, trucks, cars and all other transport put together. Meat production -
especially red meat - is also highly inefficient and uses a lot of land and
resources that could be better used in more sustainable styles of farming.
For keen meat-lovers, we’re not suggesting going totally vegan (unless you love
a challenge!) But if you eat meat every night, try Meat-Free Mondays and check
out the tasty meals under #meatfreemonday on social media. You could make
meat a weekend-only thing or consider cutting back on dairy products. Any
effort to reduce animal consumption makes ripples - and eventually waves - of
positive influence for the environment and your overall health.
Swap fast fashion for second-hand
Is your usual New Years’ resolution to shop less? Well, if retail therapy is your
Achilles Heel, then this might be something to work on in 2021. Fast fashion is
a classic environment offender; it produces 10% of all human carbon
emissions, consumes the second-largest supply of the world’s water, and
pollutes the oceans with microplastics. And despite all of our shopping habits,
85% of all textiles still end up in landfill each year.
So when looking for a new outfit, pair of shoes, or even furniture, begin your
journey in the slow lane. That might mean scouring Gumtree or Facebook for
used furniture, giving new life to your friend’s baby hand-me-downs, browsing
your local op-shops, and venturing into the fashion rental market for special
occasion outfits you only wear once. There are also a range of fabulous ethical
brands that - while costing more - last longer as well, so you can still enjoy
some cheeky online shopping! The Good Trade regularly spotlight brands
fighting against fast fashion.
Invest in quality, low tox + long-term
If shrinking your environmental footprint is something you truly want to invest
in, then buying quality, eco-friendly, and enduring items is the best way to go.
It might require you to save a little longer for that table, winter coat, or couch,
but knowing it’ll be a sustainable investment that will last longer is worth it.
And naturally, when it comes to low tox mattresses, pillows and bedding, The
Natural Bedding Company prides itself on providing only high quality,
ethically-sourced wool, wood, and hypoallergenic latex to name a few. And
without any nasty chemicals added, you can sleep easy and sleep well knowing
you’ve had a positive impact on the environment.
Finding your care factor
No matter what your goals are for the year ahead, remember that sustainability
- whatever that means for you - will always make the biggest impact. Find goals
that light up your care factor and inspire you to stick to them. Those will be the
best New Years’ resolutions you could possibly make for yourself.