With a new year comes a new emphasis on making positive changes. One of our favorite new year’s resolutions is to be greener than we were the previous year. Our planet’s health is so important, yet, our home is so often left out of new year’s resolutions. This year, we encourage everyone to pledge to help our planet out a little more by making these resolutions that are easy to keep and have a huge payout!
Use less plastic
Cutting back on plastic is crucial if you want to live greener lifestyle. While getting a reusable water bottle and nixing single use bottles is a great step, there are more (and equally easy!) ways to cut back on plastic if you haven’t pledged to do so already in the new year.
Think about what plastics you use daily. Do you use cling wrap or ziplock bags in the kitchen? Do you use plastic bags at the grocery store? Do you use disposable utensils to eat? What about straws or plastic take-out containers? Single-use plastics like these are such a killer on our environment and they are the easiest to eliminate! There are so many eco-friendly alternatives that actually make life easier for you, not just for our planet!
Reusable grocery bags are sturdier and can carry more weight than their thin plastic counterparts. Many take-out joints are starting to create incentives for you to BYOC (container!) to help reduce waste from plastic clamshell boxes. By bringing your own clean container, you can sometimes get a discount!
Making these swaps barely take any adjusting because they are so similar, if not better, than what you are replacing them with! Reducing your plastic is easy to stick to, and if you have a hard time, just remember what good you’re doing by creating less waste in our oceans!
Speaking of cutting unnecessary plastic, you should also consider packaging when you shop. While this resolution isn’t actionable in the way that cutting something out of your life is, simply being mindful has a great impact, too. Think about how much packaging covers the items in any store or how much extra bubble wrap came in a package that you’ve received recently. There is so much excess packaging that come with products these days that it’s easy to drown in it. It is also easy to think that excess packaging is normal since we are surrounded by so much of it. Many items are double or triple wrapped, have extra packaging added just for aesthetic purposes, and are even boxed up within another superfluous box! That should not be normal, but sadly, it is our reality.
Thankfully, we can change that. By just thinking about the sheer amount of extra product there is on top of the product itself, you become far more aware of how much is actually being wasted in the end. The next time you’re in the grocery store, consider if the box of 24 individually packaged chips is worth it compared to a large bag with one piece of packaging or if you really need to put your produce in a plastic produce bag. So too, online ordering is a big culprit of waste. We have all had a time where we ordered something small that came in a comically huge box. Instead, wait until you have a larger order so that you can make the most of box space and waste less packaging.
Once you start thinking this way, recognizing and avoiding excess packaging will be second nature. You’ll very quickly realize how much unnecessary packaging there is in products you normally buy! Start making an effort to think of packaging and you’ll start opting for products with less packaging without a second thought.
Reuse what you can
We like to live by this simple rule of thumb: if it can’t be used a second time and/or for a second purpose, is it really worth buying?
While we admit that not everything that we need in our day-to-day lives fits into that rule, the more than 90% of it does. When it comes to old clothing that’s beyond donation status, don’t toss it! Cut it up and use those rags for cleaning. Did you recently get a lot of gifts? Keep the bows and ribbons to reuse them again. Is there anything that you would throw out that could instead be used in a crafty DIY project?
When you force yourself to think about finding a second use for something you’d otherwise be done with, not only will you be more willing to extend it’s life (hello, mini guilt trip!), but you’ll also think more critically when it comes to buying new items in the future. This is one of the easiest ways to be greener in the new year!
Aim for the long haul
We all remember being in grade school and really wanting a sparkly, light-up backpack or sneakers, covered in unicorns or our favorite superhero, right? Not to pop our 5-year-old bubble, but how long did we actually like those items once we had them? How long was it until we came home from school one day only to tell Mom that “this stuff is for babies!” before aggressively tossing our collection of light up, glittery, rainbow items into a heap on the floor?
When we don’t buy for the long haul, we are prematurely tossing items that could still be of use, if they aren’t already in perfect condition. When you buy something, make sure you are maximizing the lifetime that you’ll use it for. As an example, simple black clothing will always be in style— it’s classic! If you only need to buy one sweater, consider grabbing a black sweater and not a trendy leopard-fluffy-leather-glitter hybrid one that’s all the rage now but won’t be next winter.
When you aim for the long haul, not only are you reducing the amount of items that you’ll need to get, but you’re also saving money by buying less to. We are all for a happier planet and wallet. If money isn’t a motivator beyond saving our planet in the new year, we don’t know what else is!
Look at where you shop
It is so important to consider where you shop. Let’s face the ugly truth: many companies aren’t the best when it comes to their business practices behind the scenes. From companies that pollute and waste without a care to brands that might have poor working conditions or source materials unethically, it’s important to shop with brands that have really high standards for corporate-social responsibility.
At BLINQ, we are committed to reducing the 5 billion pounds of retail waste from quality overstock and returned merchandise that is dumped in landfills each year. We are so lucky to have shoppers that shop with us because they know they are doing something good in addition to grabbing a great item. But, we aren’t the only company that aims to do good— there are many companies who join us!
Ultimately, you can shop smarter by having confidence that your money will go a lot further than the item you bought with it, so long as you shop with places whose practices you respect. Once you have a few companies you are confident spending with, shopping is so much easier!
Each new year comes with so many new hopes and expectations that are exciting and encourage us to be better. That being said, not every one of those resolutions are kept beyond the honeymoon stage of the new year. Most new year’s resolutions aren’t kept because they are too difficult to follow or we start to care less about the reward achieving our resolution would provide.
However, the idea that you can help our planet by doing a few simple things each day has a huge reward, and these little tips are so easy to incorporate into your everyday life that there should be no excuse not to include them! We wish everyone luck in the new year and hope that you smash all of your resolutions, especially being greener!